AT&T Multiview wins the hearts of sports fans

Earlier this summer, AT&T rolled out a new feature for Chicago Cubs fans that took advantage of its unique IP network. It's called Multiview, and it allows viewers to choose between four camera views of a live sporting event at once.

Such technology has long been used as an example of what could be done in the future. But AT&T is doing it now to great acclaim from its customers. The Cubs feature, which was achieved with a joint venture with local CW Network affiliate WGN-TV, is one of many payoffs that go back to the telco's choice of building an IP-based network.

When Multiview is applied to Cubs games played at Wrigley Field, each "channel" is a different camera angle, allowing the subscriber to choose between six different views of the game. Users can also select and record any of the different camera angles. In addition to the typical behind the pitcher view, alternate camera angles include a video shot from above home plate, first base, third base and center field.

This month AT&T's U-verse ranked highest in J.D. Power and Associates' study in three regions nationwide. Customers ranked AT&T highest in overall satisfaction. Particularly high marks went for the multiview feature.

Now, Multiview is available for not only sports, but also news and children's programs, and there are Multiviews for "ESPN GamePlan" and "Full Court" subscribers. To use Multiview, subscribers tune to an available channel or select the listing found under Live TV on the menu.

They then scroll through the available picture-in-picture screens (PiP) in any Multiview. With one button press, they move a PiP into the large viewport to get the larger picture and audio. Another button press instantly swaps the large viewport window to a different show audio & video from any PiP.

Recordings may be initiated from any of the PiPs in a Multiview with the press of a button. Pause, rewind and fast forward modes on the large viewport can be accessed when viewing a Multiview from a DVR receiver.

AT&T's success with Multiview means the telco will probably try to implement the technology in other markets where it can get access to different camera feeds from the local broadcaster producing sports events. The company is currently rolling out the feature on a market-by-market basis.