One of the visions of tomorrow’s connected world is that people will be able to call up the TV show they missed from the night before and watch it while on their way to work from their phone. AT&T (NYSE: T) gets pretty close to this futuristic scenario with the release of a new U-Verse application on the iPhone and upcoming BlackBerry Torch. The kicker is that it doesn’t cost anymore than what you are already paying for TV at home.
AT&T’s U-Verse app has been around for some time, allowing customers to check the TV schedule and set shows to record on their set-top box. This new version allows customers — of U-Verse and AT&T’s wireless service — to download TV episodes to the phone over a Wi-Fi connection. The customers can watch the TV shows wherever they like, including outside the home (as long as the shows are downloaded over Wi-Fi). The content expires and be deleted off the phone automatically after a set period of time.
For now AT&T says there’s a limited selection of content, but will continue to add more shows. So far, there’s been some debate over whether people indeed want to watch TV on their phones — and whether they are willing to pay for it. This application skirts that concern because it is free to download and to use as long as the customer is paying one of the upper-end TV packages. AT&T likely hopes to get customers to upgrade since it is rewarding iPhone owners a $75 iTunes gift card for those who do. No word when it will come to other handsets.