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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

AT&T TV, What's New? Nothing

Stocks: (T)(VZ)(AAPL)(TWX)(CMCSA)

AT&T announced that it will offer an internet based TV service for broadband. Twenty channels. Fox News. The History Channel.

Only $19.99 a month. Even a free two week trial.

Why would anyone spend twenty dollars to get twenty channels on a PC. Of course, if you don't have cable TV or satellite TV you might want it. If you don't have the new SlingBox. Or if you don't tune into all of the free content that the networks offer on their websites. Like the free stuff at MSNBC. Or CNN. And AOL will be offering NBC shows. For free. Of course, there is the Google video store. And, maybe a video version of Apple iTune.

Investors have to begin to wonder whether simply placing content online and charging a modest sum for its is really a business. AT&T is not offering first run movies. Or much in the way of mainstream programming at all. It will offer The Food Network. .

At some point in the future, as Verizon and AT&T drive fiber to the home and offer TV, broadband, and phone service with a full set of 500 television channels, they might have a business. If they can get the customers away from the cable guys at Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.

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