ATT Uverse TV Over Wireless The New Offers From ATT

ATT and Cisco have come out with a simple WiFi based wireless bridge, and are selling it as a revolution in TV - it isn't. And just to be clear, it is only wireless in the sense that it uses WiFi, and this is of course encrypted and so of no use to existing wireless devices. 

The idea behind the rather clumsy device is that existing ATT WiFi, which can already send cloud based versions of its UVerse TV to iOS and Android devices, isn't man enough to send HD signals around the home to another TV, so ATT has turned to Cisco to provide a way to make other Smart TVs around the home receive HD signals built around 802.11n. 

Cisco however took the opportunity to call it the industry's first integrated wireless TV solution and made it clear that AT&T has only ordered this from Cisco, not from its other major supplier Motorola, and that the device is entirely of Cisco's making. Of course it isn't, because Cisco doesn't make video capable wireless chips and these usually comes from Broadcom and we understand that the BRCM4717 SoC router is used in this device, a relatively inexpensive 2x2 dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi radio. The device also has Ethernet and HomePNA wired interfaces which are found in all UVerse set tops and DVRs.

We seriously doubt that a 2 x 2 MIMO chip is man enough to reach into people's basements and perhaps Cisco should have gone to Quantenna for this chips which offers full 802.11n with 4 x 4 MIMO.
But it looks like ATT was thinking about price when it decided to go this route because it is offering UVerse customers the service for $50 up front and $7 a month additional to their UVerse rental.

As we say portable devices can already download a free app from UVerse, but don't get full live TV with this, mostly on-demand content which is a selection of catch up programs.

The system uses Cisco's ISB7005 wireless receiver and its VEN401 Wireless Access Point, and both were on display at IBC in September for the first time.

However many Hollywood studios have been concerned about how to deliver HD TV around a home to Smart TVs, because many solutions which have been announced feature no hardware smart-card based underlying protection, only stream protecting using the approved DTCP-IP. Unfortunately any device with a known operating system which runs debuggers and general development tools, means that pirates can get underneath the stream protection and fool it, unless its keys are stored in hardware. This way they are kept outside of Smart TVs and inside these Cisco devices.

The only justification for ATT to have introduced a new device at all, is so that HD streams are treated differently in terms of security from portable devices.
ATT makes great play out of the button push installation, which is becoming standard for WiFi devices and video bridges in particular. Motorola has also introduced a WiFi video bridge in the US, and a number of companies, the first of which was Turkey's AirTies, have introduced them in Europe.

Cisco says that a single wireless access point can support two wireless receivers connected to TVs, which is a fairly low number, which is in keeping with this being a the 2 x 2 chip from Braodcom. Quantenna and Celeno chips would support far more than two HD streams.

GW Shaw, executive director of Uverse marketing, ATT, said, "ATT is bringing a new freedom to the TV experience, giving consumers the benefit of watching TV in virtually any room in the home. Cisco's wireless IPTV solution gives our customers flexibility with where they can place and watch their TVs, and offers a faster and simpler set-up process for customers and Uverse technicians."

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