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Cable Technology Feature Article

October 22, 2013

AT&T Expands TV Everywhere with Android-Based Live TV on the Go

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

TV Everywhere is moving beyond its de facto status as “TV Somewhere, Sometime” as pay-TV operators continue to expand their supported devices and make more content available outside the home zone. The latest is AT&T (News - Alert), which has rolled out the ability to watch live U-verse TV via Android mobile devices and Uverse.com while on the go.

The U-verse App for Android makes live TV channels available on more than 30 devices. Users can also access on-demand titles, manage their DVRs remotely and use an advanced search functionality for discovering content.

The company earlier in the month announced more than 100 live TV channels had been added to the U-verse App for those with a U-family or higher U-verse TV package. Just twenty of them are available for streaming outside of the home for now, but AT&T said that it plans to add more live channels on an ongoing basis.

“The market is still developing with many of the early growing pains, like authentication, finally starting to take a back seat to the content,” said ABI Research (News - Alert) senior analyst, Michael Inouye. “In many respects the technology is in place to increasingly offer wider reaching TVE services. Securing the rights to broader content distribution is the primary remaining hurdle, but once standard metrics are developed the content floodgates are expected to open wider.”

The TV Everywhere space is growing in the United States as cablecos, IPTV (News - Alert) providers and satellite companies vie for subscribers in a saturated market using new digital options for viewing as bait. As a result, ABI predicts that nearly one-third of U.S. telco TV households are expected to access multiscreen or TV Everywhere services by the end of 2013 – the vast majority of which already use advanced interactive features like remote programming a DVR.

Cable is close behind due to its early lead, but the growth rate for these services is slower because of the greater diversity of cable households and services (not all service providers offer TV Everywhere). And satellite operators are further behind, due to slower starts and lack of in-house broadband services, but they offer some novel experiences like DISH’s Sling place-shifting technology or the AutoHopper whole-home DVR with commercial-skipping capability.

Consumers also need further education about these TVE services, particularly to help navigate content availability and fragmented device support.

“In the multiscreen and OTT space the MVPDs are moving at a relatively fast pace – rapid enough that in some instances the platforms have outpaced consumer awareness,” said practice director, Sam Rosen. “Beyond consumer education a great deal of work remains to best optimize the user experience, one that satisfies consumers’ increasing penchant for on demand content but also ensures the content is adequately monetized. This objective is creating new opportunities for a wide range of companies within the greater content value chain.”

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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