San Antonio, Texas — AT&T Wireless will join rival Verizon Wireless in broadcasting TV programs to cellular handsets in May, when it launches Qualcomm’s 700MHz MediaFlo service.
The live and recorded programming will be available to AT&T subscribers who buy a new LG Vu or Samsung Access, both of which are available exclusively to AT&T.
AT&T declined to reveal many details about the service, dubbed AT&T Mobile TV, or the price of service or handsets. The carrier did say the service would feature two exclusive channels to be revealed soon.
AT&T Mobile TV will deliver full-length television content and sporting events from such networks and entertainment brands as CBS Mobile, Comedy Central, ESPN Mobile TV, FOX Mobile, MTV, NBC 2GO, NBC News2Go and Nickelodeon.
LG’s Vu features a large interactive touchscreen, a music player, a 2-megapixel camera and Bluetooth. Samsung’s bar-style Access features a 2.3-inch landscape display and an internal antenna, as well as multimedia capabilities such as a 1.3-megapixel camera, external stereo speakers, stereo Bluetooth, Video Share videocalling, AT&T Music, stereo speakers and microSD slot. It’s a quadband GSM/EDGE phone with dual-band 850/1900MHz W-CDMA 3G technology.
AT&T’s MediaFLO launch is later than originally planned. In early 2007, the company then known as Cingular, announced its adoption of MediaFLO and said it expected to launch in late 2007 following Verizon’s first-quarter 2007 launch.
MediaFLO offers live broadcasts of cable- and broadcast-network content at the same time that the programs are delivered to TVs, and some of the programs will be repeated the next day for people who might have missed The Tonight Show at home.
In addition, MediaFLO delivers better picture quality than existing cellular-band video services, Qualcomm contends, because it doesn’t use bandwidth-constricted cellular airwaves, instead using the UHF channel-55 spectrum.