Cable Tech

AT&T's 3 Screens Update

3:20 PM -- ATLANTA -- TelcoTV 2007 -- Remember the AT&T commercials with the three-screens campaign? Someone watching a football game on TV then continues watching on his laptop and then leaves the house and watches it on his cellphone? And do you also remember how this is something that isn't even remotely possible yet? (See AT&T's Trick Play.)

At Light Reading's The Future of Broadband event held here in Atlanta in conjunction with TelcoTV, Barbara Stark, a member of AT&T's Premises and Device Architecture group, gave an update on where it was with this service and what hurdles still remain.

It has basically been a slow process of integration. AT&T has made lots of headway integrating services, as it showed this morning in its IPTV demo. (See AT&T Shows Off IPTV Tricks.) But the more and more you try to integrate devices, the more difficult it gets.

"We have a variety of access technologies, devices coming from different manufacturers, the complexity of set-top boxes," said Stark. "The amount of integration going into this is incredible."

Managing all of these services is a real headache as well, according to Stark. "There are multiple protocols for managing services such as TR-069 and OMA-DM for cellphones. We want a single holistic view of the customer." These things will take a lot of work to accomplish, she says.

After her talk, Stark told Light Reading that, while AT&T was making good headway with the integration of applications, it was still a few years away from the true Holy Grail of Three Screens. Interestingly enough, she admitted that part of the delay was that AT&T "needs more bandwidth in its edge networks."

— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading

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