AT&T weighs its own streaming video options

AT&T (NYSE: T) does not want to get left behind in the video streaming race that's been dominated by the likes of Hulu and Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX), but it has hinted that it is putting together an expanded set of capabilities for its U-verse customers.  

While not revealing any specific plans, AT&T, reports Variety, asked U-verse customers last month if they would be interested in or even inquiring about, a "new video and Internet service."

This new service would offer various features: streaming to customer's device without a set-top box; local broadcast channels and "popular sports and entertainment" cable channels; the option to bundle one streaming service such as Netflix or Amazon Prime (Nasdaq: AMZN); and better picture quality and shorter wait times for streaming.

Customers who sign up for the package would get a Wi-Fi router and a 6 Mbps Internet connection. They would be able to stream content to tablets, smartphones, TVs, Blu-ray players and game consoles such as Xbox or Wii.

What's interesting about the service is it that might not all be provided directly by AT&T and it could offer service outside of the U-verse network footprint. "This service could be offered by any broadband provider, not necessarily AT&T," the survey report says.

The idea of offering a broader streaming video service isn't entirely original as Verizon (NYSE: VZ) recently launched its Redbox Instant streaming video service.

AT&T's move, suggests Variety, could signal that it's either trying to retain customers that are replacing their video provider with online options like Netflix or it is trying to see what effect a competitor's online video service would have on its own subscriber base.

For more:
- Variety has this article

Related articles:
Redbox Instant 'now open for business'
AT&T, Verizon offer the best triple, quad-play service bundles, says Consumer Reports
Report: Ericsson readies bid for Microsoft's IPTV software unit
AT&T ups U-verse speeds to 45 Mbps in Texas