& cplSiteName &

AT&T Unveils Next-Gen Video Platform

Alan Breznick
7/13/2017
50%
50%

AT&T plans to start testing a new cloud-based platform for its various consumer video services this summer, starting with its DirecTV Now streaming video product and DirecTV mobile app, and launch it commercially before year's end.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) announced the next-gen plans Thursday morning, boasting that the new platform will enable it to deliver cloud DVR service to multiple devices, "a broad selection" of live TV channels and up to 30,000 video titles on-demand. Thus, it will shore up a weakness in the current DirecTV Now offering, which, unlike some rival OTT skinny-bundle services, launched without a cloud DVR component last fall.

AT&T said the new platform will also be "delivery-agnostic," allowing it to offer the identical service through all three of its video delivery modes -- satellite, mobile and wired Internet -- instead of through multiple video platforms. In addition, it said the new platform will permit it to offer a consistent look and feel across all the different delivery modes, introduce new features quicker and generally accelerate innovation.

Plans call for adding other key features to the new video offering over the next year, including live TV pausing and parental controls once the service launches commercially later this year. Other new features -- such as user profiles, download and go and 4K/HDR -- are slated to be introduced in 2018.

Further details on the new video platform are still sketchy. But it's believed to be built on the "software-defined video headend" concept that Toronto-based Quickplay Media, which AT&T bought last year, has been developing. (See AT&T Completes Acquisition of Quickplay and AT&T to Buy Streaming Expert QuickPlay.)


Want to know more about video and TV market trends? Check out our dedicated video services content channel here on Light Reading.


The announcement of the beta trial comes just a week after the big US telco launched a separate streaming video trial for DirecTV Now in Austin using fixed-wireless 5G technology. In that trial, AT&T is testing how well millimeter-wave (mmWave) spectrum can deliver 5G signals carrying streaming video content at speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s. But an AT&T spokesperson said the new DirecTV Now trial is not related to the 5G trial. (See AT&T Launches 5G Trial With DirecTV Now in Austin and AT&T & Ericsson Stream 5G in Austin.)

The next-gen video platform introduction also comes as AT&T continues to try to push through its proposed $85 billion takeover of Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX). Despite critics' concerns about media consolidation and the Trump Administration's complaints about CNN's political coverage that may torpedo or at least strip down the deal, AT&T officials are counting on the addition of TW's vast array of content to stoke fresh growth for their stagnating video business. (See Does AT&T Deserve Time Warner?)

In the first quarter, which is usually a relatively strong period for pay-TV providers, AT&T shed 233,000 U-verse video subscribers while its DirecTV subscriber numbers were flat compared to Q4. As a result, its video customer base dropped to 25 million. The company, which bragged earlier this year that DirecTV Now picked up 200,000 subscribers in its first month last December, has not updated the numbers for its OTT service since then as it has sought to correct technical problems with the service. But the sub total is not believed to be much higher than that initial figure. (See AT&T: TW Deal Will Light a Fire Under Video Biz .)

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/27/2017 | 8:35:57 AM
Re: CNN
I wonder how the new stuff coming along will help the bottom line and whether customers are in mass really demanding those streaming video services that will "offer a consistent look and feel across all the different delivery modes." The Time Warner proposed deal will bear watching for all of those political ramifications.
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/20/2017 | 1:56:26 PM
Re: CNN
Even with Trump's disdain for CNN, I definitely see this merger being approved. The only question remaining will be how theatrical and hollow the conditions will be. 
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/13/2017 | 7:15:57 PM
CNN
I cannot imagine that CNN will break up the AT&T Time Warner deal. 

What might cause problems, however, is how big that entity will be. I'm pretty uncomfortable with that size. 
Featured Video
From The Founder
The 'gleaming city on a hill,' Steve Saunders calls it. But who is going to take us from today's NFV componentry to the grand future of a self-driving network? Here's a look at the vendors hoping to make it happen.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 10, 2017, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Could the Connected Car Help Prevent Terrorism?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/15/2017
Cities Slam FCC on Broadband Proceedings
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/15/2017
Apple's New iPhones: No Gigabit LTE for You!
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/14/2017
1 Million Pirate Set-Top Boxes Sold in the UK
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 9/20/2017
Close the Loop to Automate Service Assurance
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 9/14/2017
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed