Microsoft, AT&T Bringing TV To Windows Phone 7

AT&T Monday said its first three Windows Phone 7 devices will allow users to download and watch television shows from the carrier's U-verse IPTV service.

AT&T's Windows Phone 7-powered Samsung Focus, LG Quantum and HTC Surround are slated to arrive in U.S. stores next month. These devices will come preloaded with AT&T's U-verse Mobile app, which lets users search AT&T's catalog of downloadable shows and watch them on their devices.

This capability is free for U-verse subscribers, who also get the ability to manage their home DVR recordings straight from their Windows Phone 7 device. However, nonsubscribers will have to shell out $9.99 per month to gain access to the downloadable U-verse shows.

AT&T is touting U-verse Mobile as a sort of breakthrough, but it's debatable whether Windows Phone 7 users who don't have U-verse subscriptions are going to be willing to shell out more money for the mobile viewing privilege. And isn't video consumption supposed to be one of the value propositions for tablets?

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One of Microsoft's marketing mantras for Windows Phone 7 is that users will be able to quickly locate the information they need without staring slack-jawed at their device for minutes while standing in line at the local coffee shop. It seems like mobile television would only increase the incidence of this common and infuriating mobile behavior.

NEXT: AT&T, Microsoft Take U-Verse To Xbox

AT&T and Microsoft are also planning to launch an offering that lets Xbox owners access their U-verse television content right from their gaming console. Slated for launch on Oct. 15, U-verse TV on Xbox 360 allows Xbox owners to chat and receive game invitations from other players through Xbox Live without interrupting the stream of live television programming.

New U-verse subscribers will have to purchase a $99 Xbox kit and have U-verse software loaded onto their Xbox 360.

"Now you can get our award-winning U-verse services on your big screen TV, online, on your mobile phone, and integrated with your Xbox 360," said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, in a statement.