AT&T to deliver four HD streams using MPEG-4 AVC compression

Using a combination of MPEG-4 compression and DSL upgrades, AT&T will allow U-verse TV customers to access up to four HD channels simultaneously by the end of the year.

Until now, because of bandwidth constraints, AT&T has allowed customers of the IPTV service to access a maximum of three HD channels at once.

John Stankey, president and CEO of the AT&T Operations division, made the announcement last week at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment investor conference.

“We’ve moved from four SD streams at the onset [when U-verse TV launched in 2006] to at the end of this year introducing four HD streams in a household,” he said.

Also, by the end of this year, U-verse TV customers will be able to use trick-play controls to pause and rewind live TV from any television in the house, Stankey said.

The U-verse business is on track to bring in $4 billion in revenue for 2010, he added. AT&T added 209,000 subscribers in the second quarter — more than 70 percent of the net adds among multichannel video distributors, according to Stankey. As of June 30, AT&T had 2.5 million U-verse TV customers.