The telephone giant is having trouble scaling up its subscription TV service, in part due to software issues that prevent users from changing channels quickly, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal.
AT&T’s attempt to compete head on with cable companies by offering a better TV service is beginning to look like a long shot, according to a the “Portals” column, appearing in the Marketplace section of the Wall Street Journal.
The company offers its service in 11 cities, four fewer than promised, and the technology appears to be stuck in the trial phase. AT&T executives admit they haven’t begun to fully market the service, because it can’t handle a surge of customers.
The column, written by Peter Grant, says the problems have implications for all companies that hope to offer IPTV, or TV service using the Internet, rather than fiber optic cable, as the conduit.
Executives at AT&T, as well as Microsoft, which created the software used in the service, won’t discuss the problems, according to the column.
One issue may be that AT&T over-reached in its effort to offer a better service than cable does, the column says. The company’s IPTV service, U-verse, offers features like HDTV, VOD and DVR, as well as the ability for consumers to tape four channels at once.
Microsoft’s software isn’t running seamlessly on the set-top U-verse is using, the story says, and advanced compression technology isn’t quite performing in its task to fit HDTV programming through copper phone wires.
WSJ Online subscribers may read the column here.