U-verse TV
TypeIPTV
FoundedJune 26, 2006; 18 years ago (2006-06-26)
OwnerAT&T (70%)
TPG Capital (30%)
ParentDirecTV
Official website
watch.att.com/uverse-tv/

U-verse TV is an internet protocol television (IPTV) service operated by DirecTV. Launched on June 26, 2006, U-verse was originally a triple play package that included broadband Internet (now AT&T Internet or AT&T Fiber), IP telephone (now AT&T Phone), and IPTV (U-verse TV) services in 22 states.[1][2]

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.[3][4]

History

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"[5]) 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.[1]

By the third quarter of 2012, AT&T had 4.3 million TV subscribers, 2.7 million Phone subscribers and 7.1 million Internet.[6]

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."[7][8]

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.[9][10]

On May 16, 2016, AT&T acquired Quickplay Media, a cloud-based platform that powers over-the-top video services.[11]

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.[12][13][14]

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.[15][16][17]

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.[18] 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.[19]

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, with AT&T TV becoming DirecTV Stream.

Services

AT&T U-verse's electronic program guide

AT&T used the Ericsson Mediaroom platform to deliver U-verse TV via IPTV from the headend to the consumer's receiver,[20] 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.

U-verse TV packages

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.[21] The historical U400 package is identical to the U450 package, except that U450 automatically includes the HD Services package.[22]

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.

Channel groupings

Carriage negotiations

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "AT&T U-verse Timeline" (PDF). AT&T. 2008. Archived (pdf) from the original on October 15, 2007. Retrieved January 2, 2015.
  2. ^ Post Alexander, Atlanta, Ga., p. 24. Archived 2013-01-22 at archive.today
  3. ^ Goldsmith, Jill (February 25, 2021). "WarnerMedia Parent AT&T Sells DirecTV Stake To Private Equity Firm TPG". Deadline.
  4. ^ Hayes, Dade (August 2, 2021). "AT&T Completes DirecTV Spinoff; Satellite Operator Unites Its Internet-Delivered Bundles Under New Brand DirecTV Stream". Deadline Hollywood.
  5. ^ U-verse TV Timeline Archived September 23, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ U-verse Update: 3Q12 Archived August 10, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Bode, Karl (August 14, 2015). "AT&T Outlines the Changes DirecTV (and U-Verse) Users Will See". DSL Reports. Retrieved August 15, 2015.
  8. ^ Baumgartner, Jeff (August 17, 2015). "AT&T to Put 'Genie' Into U-Verse's Bottle". MultiChannel News. Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  9. ^ Moritz, Scott (February 16, 2016). "AT&T Takes U-Turn on U-Verse as It Pushes Users Toward DirecTV". Bloomberg. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  10. ^ Baumgarnter, Jeff (February 16, 2016). "AT&T Stops Making U-verse TV Boxes: Report". MultiChannel News. Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  11. ^ Sawers, Paul (May 16, 2016). "AT&T acquires OTT video platform Quickplay ahead of DirecTV streaming service launch this year". Venture Beat. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  12. ^ Bode, Karl (September 19, 2016). "AT&T is Getting Rid of the U-Verse Brand". DSL Reports. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  13. ^ Arnason, Bernie (September 19, 2016). "AT&T Says Goodbye to U-verse". Telecompetitor.com. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  14. ^ Farrell, Mike (September 20, 2016). "AT&T Readies U-verse Brand for Ether". MultiChannel News. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  15. ^ "AT&T's New Online TV Service Looks a Lot Like Current Offerings". Bloomberg.com. 19 August 2019. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  16. ^ Newman, Jared (2019-08-19). "AT&T TV is here, but cord cutters should read the fine print before signing up". Fast Company. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  17. ^ Blumenthal, Eli. "What is AT&T TV? Here's what we know now". CNET. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  18. ^ "AT&T Stops Selling U-verse TV". TV Answer Man. 3 April 2020. Retrieved 2021-07-20.
  19. ^ Swann, Phillip (2020-09-25). "Updated: AT&T Says You Can Now Order U-verse (Sort Of)". TV Answer Man. Retrieved 2021-07-20.
  20. ^ AT&T U-verse Total Home DVR
  21. ^ Channel Directory: AT&T U-verse [January 2014] Archived January 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Official AT&T Channel Line Up" (PDF). AT&T. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-04-07. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  23. ^ "Hallmark Channels Go Dark On AT&T U-verse". Multichannel News. September 1, 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2015.
  24. ^ Steinberg, Brian (July 22, 2015). "Hallmark Channel Returns to U-verse After Nearly Five Years". Variety. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  25. ^ "Univision signs deal to launch cable networks on AT&T U-verse". Media Moves. May 11, 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2015.
  26. ^ "UPDATE: Rainbow And AT&T Ink New Deal, 'Mad Men' Season Saved On AT&T U-Verse". Deadline.com. July 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2015.
  27. ^ "AT&T's U-verse Drops Food Network, HGTV and Other Scrippy-s Networks". Chicago Tribune. November 5, 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2015.
  28. ^ "Food Network, HGTV, Back on U-verse". Chicago Tribune. November 7, 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2015.
  29. ^ "AT&T U-verse, Scripps Reconnect on Carriage Contract". Multichannel News. November 7, 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2015.
  30. ^ "AT&T & Scripps Networks Reach Agreement". Deadline.com. November 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2015.
  31. ^ "Longhorn Network hooks U-verse". KXAN.com. September 4, 2012. Archived from the original on 2013-03-08. Retrieved October 3, 2015.
  32. ^ Farrell, Mike (January 15, 2013). "Disney Strikes U-Verse Carriage Deal". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
  33. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (October 26, 2015). "AT&T Sets U-verse, DirecTV Carriage Deal with Tribune Stations, WGN America". Variety. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  34. ^ Lieberman, David (March 4, 2016). "Univision Charges AT&T With "Redlining" As Programming Goes Dark On U-verse". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
  35. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (March 4, 2016). "Univision Blasts 'Discriminatory Behavior' as Stations Go Dark on AT&T's U-verse". Variety. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
  36. ^ Szalai, Georg (March 4, 2016). "Univision Goes Dark on AT&T U-verse, Accuses Telecom of "Discriminatory Behavior"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
  37. ^ Ramos, John (March 5, 2016). "AT&T, Univision Communications fail to reach U-Verse distribution deal". Hints News Network. Archived from the original on October 18, 2017. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  38. ^ Eggerton, John (March 24, 2016). "All Univision Content Restored to U-Verse, For Now". MultiChannel News. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  39. ^ Eggerton, John (March 24, 2016). "All Univision Content Restored to U-Verse, For Now". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  40. ^ Villarreal, Yvonne (March 24, 2016). "Univision restores UniMas and Galavision to AT&T's U-verse as negotiations continue". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  41. ^ Lieberman, David (March 24, 2016). "Univision Networks Return To AT&T's U-verse While They "Finalize" Carriage Deal". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 24, 2016.