AT&T Shows Off IPTV Tricks

ATLANTA -- TelcoTV 2007 -- AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) put on an IPTV show this morning, as TelcoTV keynoter Peter Hill, vice president of video and converged services for AT&T Labs, showed what is possible when the walls between fixed and mobile services are broken down.

With U-verse installations now growing rapidly, Hill said AT&T has accomplished its first goal -- being able to produce a scaleable IPTV service. (See AT&T Sees iPhone Pop in Q3.) Then he sprang into demo mode.

One application involved the embedding of AT&T's new wireless video sharing service into U-verse. (See AT&T's Wild About Wireless.) Hill showed how a user on a video-sharing phone could dial up someone on U-verse, with the images appearing on the TV screen.

Another application planned for U-verse is the Family Finder. Using the TV remote control, a U-verse customer could pull up a map on the TV screen that shows the locations of all family members who are carrying AT&T wireless phones.

Hill also showed a U-Cast service with which you can upload a video from any standard video camera and view it on U-verse via your set-top box. Friends on U-verse can then view the video as if it were a TV channel. For those who don't have U-verse TV, there are plans to make U-Cast content viewable on the Internet through a Web browser.

The message from AT&T was that IPTV makes all this feasible. "We didn't create any of these concepts, but the ease of integration on a common platform is what is different about IPTV," said Hill.

This position is similar to the one that Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) laid out when discussing its plans to move the FiOS TV service to IPTV. (See At Age 2, Verizon FiOS Evolves.)

But as AT&T dishes out interactive applications, amasses more high-definition (HD) content, and adds DVR capabilities, some question whether the fiber-to-the-node architecture can keep up with the resulting bandwidth crunch.

"The big bear obviously is HD," said Hill when Light Reading brought up the question. "HD was 8.5 Mbit/s until recently, and encoder rates have reduced this to 6 Mbit/s. This reduction in bandwidth is going much faster than we expected. So while we're seeing an increase in bandwidth demands, we're seeing a reduction in bandwidth needs based on encoding. It's far ahead of where we thought it would be."

If AT&T can deliver everything it promises, its new services could provide an attractive offering. "I don't know how all these capabilities will eventually play out in the market," said Hill. "But the fact that there are these differences, I'm really excited about it."

— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading

Peter_Hill 12/5/2012 | 3:00:17 PM
re: AT&T Shows Off IPTV Tricks Hi Raymond, on the GǣconceptGǥ quote above I may have been slightly misquoted or I may not have clearly communicated what I intended. My intent was to say that while the concepts being shown could conceivable be implemented on other TV platforms it was the ease of integration on a common IP platform that was different about IPTV. Many of the ideas shown were in fact created within AT&T and I want to be sure to recognize the inventiveness of the AT&T folks involved in the U-verse applications work. Best regards, Peter
Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:00:15 PM
re: AT&T Shows Off IPTV Tricks So, it sounds like compression has advanced more quickly than AT&T even expected, which would be good news for them. It means the bandwidth needed for an HD signal will continue to squash down, possibly making the FTTN bet a winner.

We've got a second story up, from another TelcoTV session, where other providers say FTTH is a must:


Who's side do you prefer?
Passenger 12/5/2012 | 3:00:13 PM
re: AT&T Shows Off IPTV Tricks Verizon Communications has announced a new service level for its FiOS Internet service, bringing customers equal upload and download speeds of 20 Mbps.

Add this to AT&T's IPTV offer and you have a true winner. It would be nice to hear someone like Mr. Hill tell the public exactly what we will get.
American Indian 12/5/2012 | 3:00:13 PM
re: AT&T Shows Off IPTV Tricks

AT&T will spend money twice .... first to learn that FTTH or FTTBiz is more cost effective in bandwidth wars of differentiation over copper or wireless to a property.

The basic differentiation is this (for Verizon FIOS today) ... Mr. Customer I will give you the same service and price that you are buying from a CLEC or the Cable Company with one exception instead of being limited to 6 meg or 10 meg over an IAD or god forbid Ether over copper, how does 100 meg sound all for the same price? The customer says "yes." The CLEC or cable company attempts a "win back" -- the customer asks for the same bandwidth amount and neither the cable company or the CLEC can compete. Game. Point. and Match ...

What happens next ... it gets better.

As the customer churns, the ILEC decommissions the copper as the customer moves to fiber thus removing any potential future competition to that property even if there is some type of physics defying technology over copper falling from the heavens. No copper, no access.

Lesson -- with IP and routers the home and biz is an IP address no need for ILEC copper wire centers or copper as bandwidth demand or tactical competition will hasten the death of copper. Non-ILECs get on your own fiber or fiber from a non-ILEC to survive. The days of riding on copper are coming to a regulatory, bandwidth demand and cost end of life.

Verizon Fios is conducting a GPON trial with 2.6 gig into a property and 1.2 gig on the up-link. How the hell is copper or FTTP or DOCSIS or DSL or Ether over copper going to compete with that?

Sign In