AT&T's Trick Play
9:30 AM -- I'm going to sound like an idiot by saying this, but…
Did you know that commercials don't always tell the truth?
This completely original thought struck me as I was half-watching something on the telly the other day. This commercial for AT&T's Three Screens campaign features multiple views of a football game being seen, in real-time, from a cellphone, a laptop, and a TV. The ad, as its airing now, is on this presentation page, slide 26.
That's all well and good, but it's stretching the truth a bit. I don't know of any content that you can view real-time, uninterrupted, while switching between the three devices. I especially don't know of any TV services that offer all that, plus the ability to access alternate camera angles. (In the commercial, the cell video watching consumer is able to switch to a zoomed-in view of a pass attempt. Someone throw a red flag. I want to review that service.)
Same goes for AT&T's similarly-styled commercial called "Screens". It portrays a guy watching some cop caper on his laptop and TV at the same time. Once on the move, he seamlessly switches over to his cell and watching the same show, completely uninterrupted.
Not possible. Not even close. Is it?
I'm sure AT&T (Hi, Wes!) would say that I'm taking the commercial too literally. They're just showing off a concept that's possible on "the new AT&T" network and here I am picking nits like some bored blogger with a copy quota staring me in the face. (Shudder. Pulled the curtain back a bit there, didn't I?)
Well, I am being picky here, but only because such "concept" portrayals tend to confuse people -- and they set unrealistic expectations for the consumer and service provider alike. What's an AT&T rep to say when a customer sees such fiction in primetime, phones in, and asks for a three screen wonderland?
Such enthusiasts will probably be pointed to the fine print appearing on both ads. "Not available in all areas," it says.
And by "all areas," they mean what? Earth?
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to dash off a letter to the folks at Coor's. I opened countless cans of their thin, watery product last night and not once -- not once! -- has a train blasted through my livingroom leaving free beer, snow, and cheering women in its wake.
— Phil Harvey, Person of the Year, Light Reading