AT&T announced the launch of My Multiview for U-verse customers. Multiview allows U-verse customers to select up to 55 favorite channels, four of which can be displayed simultaneously on a single screen. Customers can then scroll between their selections, viewing up to four channels at any given time. One of the channels is displayed in the main screen with audio.

Think of it as a visual program guide. Instead of a text grid displaying channel info, you have the actual live channel(s) in view. It’s also a great value add for sports fans, especially on Fall weekends, with multiple football games on simultaneously.

“For the first time ever, you can customize your Multiview so you can choose and control which of your favorite channels you watch on your TV screen at one time. AT&T U-verse and My Multiview are changing how you watch TV,” said Jeff Weber, vice president of video services, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “The channel combinations for My Multiview are virtually endless, and we’re proud to offer our U-verse customers even more personalization with this exclusive app.”

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Individual family members can customize their own Multiview app, based on the number of receivers that are in a home. AT&T is launching Multiview on a rolling market-by-market basis. There is no additional charge for the service. AT&T has offered niche multiview apps already, including a sports, kids, and news versions in limited markets. The Multiview app won the 2009 TelcoTV Vision Award for Service Provider Innovation.

The Multiview app is illustrative of the kind of value add services IPTV operators hope will help differentiate them from cable and DBS providers. DirecTV offers similar services, but only through additional paid subscriptions like the NFL Sunday Direct Ticket. It may not be an IPTV advantage for long. Cable operators are moving in this direction as well, through initiatives like tru2way.

Competition is no longer just about cable, IPTV, and DBS though. Video service providers are beginning to feel heat from the OTT arena. AT&T hopes apps like multiview create incremental value to subscribers. Enough value that they don’t cut the cord and move to services like Hulu Plus.

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