|Founded||June 26, 2006|
TPG Capital (30%)
U-verse TV is a DirecTV brand of IPTV service. Launched on June 26, 2006, U-verse included broadband Internet (now AT&T Internet or AT&T Fiber), IP telephone (now AT&T Phone), and IPTV (U-verse TV) services in 48 states.
On February 25, 2021, AT&T announced that it would spin off DirecTV into a separate entity, containing the U-verse TV and AT&T TV services, selling a 30% stake to TPG Capital while retaining a 70% stake in the new standalone company. The deal was closed on August 2, 2021.
The current U-verse TV ultimately derives from the IPTV part of the former AT&T U-verse triple-play telecommunications service.
SBC Communications announced its plans for a fiber-optic network and Internet Protocol television (IPTV) deployment in 2004 and unveiled the name "U-verse" (formerly "Project Lightspeed") for the suite of network services in 2005. SBC eventually became AT&T in late 2005, and the AT&T name was applied for the service. AT&T U-verse was commercially launched June 26, 2006, in San Antonio.
By the third quarter of 2012, AT&T had 4.3 million TV subscribers, 2.7 million Phone subscribers and 7.1 million Internet.
At an analyst meeting in August 2015, following AT&T's acquisition of satellite provider DirecTV, AT&T announced plans for a new "home entertainment gateway" platform that will converge DirecTV and U-verse around a common platform based upon DirecTV hardware with "very thin hardware profiles". AT&T Entertainment and Internet Services CEO John Stankey explained that the new platform would offer "single truck roll installation for multiple products, live local streaming, improved content portability, over-the-top integration for mobile broadband, and user interface re-engineering."
In February 2016, Bloomberg reported that AT&T was in the process of phasing out the U-verse IPTV service by encouraging new customers to purchase DirecTV satellite service instead, and by ending the production of new set-top boxes for the service. An AT&T spokesperson denied that U-verse was being shut down and explained that the company was "leading its video marketing approach with DirecTV" to "realize the many benefits" of the purchase, but would still recommend U-verse TV if it better-suited a customer's needs. AT&T CFO John Stephens had also previously stated that DirecTV's larger subscriber base as a national service gave the service a higher degree of leverage in negotiating carriage deals, thus resulting in lower content costs.
On May 16, 2016, AT&T acquired Quickplay Media, a cloud-based platform that powers over-the-top video services.
On September 19, 2016, AT&T announced that the "U-verse" brand would no longer apply to its broadband and phone services, renaming them "AT&T Internet" and "AT&T Phone", respectively.
In selected markets, AT&T began to replace AT&T U-verse TV with a new service based on its DirecTV Now platform, AT&T TV, in August 2019.
On April 3, 2020, AT&T began announcing that U-verse would no longer be available to new customers. New customers ended up receiving AT&T TV for TV service. However, by September 2020 AT&T spokesman Ryan Oliver, when asked if AT&T was still selling U-verse, said that “U-verse is available in select locations,” and "AT&T never stopped selling U-verse", even though an AT&T customer attempted to order U-verse, but ended up receiving 2 boxes of AT&T TV instead.
On August 2, 2021, the spin off of DirecTV, AT&T TV and U-verse was completed. It is now a wholly owned subsidiary of DirecTV.
AT&T used the Ericsson Mediaroom platform to deliver U-verse TV via IPTV from the headend to the consumer's receiver, required for each TV. Transmissions use digital H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC) encoding, compared to the existing deployments of MPEG-2 codec and the discontinued analog cable TV system. The receiver box does not have a RF tuner, but is an IP multicast client that requests the channel or "stream" desired. U-Verse TV supports up to four/six active streams at once, depending on service tier. The system uses individual unicasts for video on demand, central time shifting, start-over services and other programs.
AT&T grouped its general channels into progressive packages (U-family, U200, U300, and U450); each adds channels to the package before it, with rare exceptions. All subscribers receive at least the equivalent of the U-family package, which also includes 65 of the 75 Stingray Music channels. Many U-family channels were also available on the historical U-basic package. The historical U400 package is identical to the U450 package, except that U450 automatically includes the HD Services package.
Specialty channels were grouped into a la carte packages, which can be combined with the general packages: The Sports Package; ESPN College Extra; Fox Soccer Plus HD; NBA League Pass; HD Services; HD Premium Tier; Paquete Español; and Adult. Paquete Español can be combined with a higher-tier package and is then called U200 Latino, U300 Latino, or U450 Latino. Additionally, channels grouped as Internationals are available a la carte in language groups or singly, and a number of premium movie packages are available to premium package or higher-tier subscribers. High-definition TV technology is required to access HD channels.
U-verse during most of its lifespan had 5 member channels: ATTention (channels 400, 962 in SD and 1100, 1400, 2500 in HD), Buzz (channels 300, 851, 961 in SD and 1000, 1300, 1851 in HD), Front Row (channels 100, 847 in SD and 1847 in HD), Showcase (channels 800, 964 in SD and 1800 in HD), Sports (channels 600, 801, 963 in SD and 1600, 1801 in HD), and U-verse Movies (channels 200, 800, 945, 960 in SD and 1200, 1850 in HD) . These removed from the AT&T U-verse TV channel lineup on February 26, 2016.