AT&T U-verse TV Rolls Out Enhancements to its DVR Service and its Interactive TV App

--EBIF-Based "Showtime Sports Interactive" HD App Makes Third Appearance on Verizon FiOS TV

AT&T said last week that, over the coming weeks, it will roll out several enhancements to the DVR service of its Microsoft Mediaroom-powered IPTV platform, U-verse TV, and also add new functionality to the platform's (Yellow Pages) interactive TV application.

According to the company, U-verse TV customers will shortly be able to place calls within the app. The app, which debuted back in 2007, allows viewers to enter their zip code to search for local business information, phone numbers and maps, directly on their TV screen. The upgrade means that, once a viewer has found the business they are looking for, they will be able to use their remote to select a new "Make a Call" option, in order to automatically place a call via their U-verse Voice home phone, AT&T says. In addition, the company says, viewers will be able to enter their wireless phone number on-screen in order to send the call to their mobile phone "as you head out the door." The app is available to all U-verse TV customers at no extra charge on channel 97 and through the U-verse TV Interactive Menu.

AT&T's upgrades to U-verse TV's DVR service (note: the service allows customers to record up to four programs at once), meanwhile, are 1) a "Series Priority" option, which lets customers prioritize their household's scheduled recordings; 2) a "Keep at Most" option, which lets them select how many episodes of a recorded series are stored on their DVR and also allows them to store a recording until a date that they specify; and 3) a "Series Delete" option, which allows them to delete all recordings of a series with a single click of the remote control, the company says.

In related news: Saturday night saw the third outing for the "Showtime Sports Interactive" application on rival Verizon's FiOS TV service. The app--which Verizon bills as "the first nationwide, high-definition interactive television application using the Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format" (EBIF)--accompanied the Showtime special event, "SHO Championship Boxing: Israel Vazquez vs. Rafael Marquez" (note: it was previously offered in conjunction with Showtime's broadcasts of the "Strikeforce Challengers" mixed martial arts event and of the "Super Six World Boxing Classic"--see the articles published on, March 19th and April 22nd). The app allows viewers to use their remote controls to pull up fighter statistics, records, bios and quotes; take part in interactive polls; and test their knowledge in a trivia game. According to Verizon's director of content strategy and acquisition, Rachelle Zoffer, usage of the Showtime app doubled between its first and second outings.

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