NEW YORK – AT&T Inc. (T) is launching an Internet TV service where subscribers can watch live cable channels such as Fox News on any computer with a broadband connection for $20 per month.
The AT&T Broadband TV service announced Tuesday features about 20 channels of live and made-for-broadband content. The channel lineup includes the History Channel, the Weather Channel, the Food Network, Bloomberg and Oxygen. Additional channels will be added soon, the company said without elaborating.
The content is being provided by MobiTV Inc., a company that has specialized in delivering live cable channels to cell phones through wireless carriers such as Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) and Cingular Wireless, which is majority owned by AT&T.
As compared with many Internet-based video services, where the viewing window is considerably smaller than most computer monitors, the new AT&T offering will allow users to expand the picture to full screen. The service requires Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows Media Player for playback.
Viewers will see whatever commercials are being shown on the live broadcast, but no advertisements are planned for the browser window and control panel that frame the TV picture.
AT&T Broadband TV will be available to customers of rival Internet services such as cable broadband in addition to the company's DSL subscriber base of 7.8 millioon accounts. It will also be accessible over Wi-Fi wireless services offered at retail locations.
While live TV feeds over the Internet are relatively uncommon so far, online downloading of video clips and TV programs have hit the mainstream over the past year.
A recent AP-AOL Video poll found that more than half of Internet users have watched or downloaded video.
News clips were the most popular, seen by 72 percent of online video viewers, followed by short movie and TV clips, music videos, sports highlights and user-generated videos like those on YouTube Inc.'s popular Web site.
Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL), which helped jumpstart the trend by adding TV episodes to its iTunes music store, said in June it had sold more than 30 million videos and was selling videos at a rate of roughly 1 million a week.
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