The NewTeeVee Live conference is underway in San Francisco with a full house of online video innovators and aficionados. For those of you who couldn’t make it in person, we’ll be posting updates here throughout the day.
First up is a look at the opening keynote by Ralph de la Vega, the group president in charge of mobility for telecom powerhouse AT&T. De la Vega shared his company’s vision for the future of IP television, and it’s clear that AT&T sees IPTV as critical to its overall strategy of connecting people with whatever content they want, when they want it, on whatever device they want to use. And charging them along the way, of course.
AT&T is already serving 2 million customers with IPTV today, and plans to spend over $6 billion to roll out IPTV to 17 million homes by the end of 2008. Add that to its 65 million wireless customers (thanks to the merger with Cingular), 63 million wireline customers and 14 million broadband subscribers and you can understand AT&T’s enthusiasm for owning a piece of the IPTV pie.
In a demo of IPTV projects being developed by AT&T Labs, de la Vega showcased a series of products designed to connect mobile customers with IPTV users. One service is a “Family Finder” that combines GPS and wireless tech to let you track the whereabouts of family members on your television set.
For those less inclined to engage in surveillance activities, AT&T’s also working on a video sharing technology that would allow you to send live video from your cellphone to an IPTV-enabled set. The example that de la Vega gave is of grandparents watching TV in their living room when they get a “video call” that allows them to watch little Billy’s soccer game on their TV set in real time. Other apps would enable flight tracking, shopping and viewing multiple TV shows at the same time.
It’s still not clear when these ideas will leave the labs and hit a home near you, and how much they will cost when they do.