AT&T (T) is rolling out a new feature for its U-Verse digital TV service: Subscribers will be able to access the contents of their DVR from up to eight television sets in their home for no extra charge.
In practical terms, this means you can watch a show in your bedroom, kitchen, basement, pool, etc., that you recorded in your living room. This is a nice feature that makes sense, and should make subscribers happy.
Some observers rushed to compare AT&T’s new DVR offering with Verizon’s — up to seven rooms — but this misses the point. At least for the foreseeable future, AT&T and Verizon will only go head-to-head in Texas, where they will compete for 60,000 Texas homes.
AT&T’s actual competition here is the massive cable industry, which is still fumbling to get multi-room DVR service in its product lineup: Comcast (CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (TWC), Cox, Cablevision (CVC), and Charter (CHTR) either don’t offer it at all, or only offer it in select markets. Meanwhile, Comcast is experimenting with a premium DVR service using TiVo (TIVO) software, while Cablevision recently won an appeal to move forward with with an interesting, network-based DVR.
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