SBC Partners With 2Live for TiVo Competitor

Jeff Berg
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Communications conglomerate SBC Communications Inc. has entered into a joint venture with digital video recorder manufacturer 2Wire Inc. and formed a new subsidiary aimed at creating a service to compete with TiVo.

Currently in development by SBC Media Solutions, the new service will utilize 2Wire’s MediaPortal set-top box to integrate satellite television, digital video recording, video-on-demand, and Internet content and will be available to customers who subscribe to SBC | DISH Network and SBC Yahoo! DSL services.

“The SBC home entertainment service will bring together many of the features that consumers want most, including television programming, video-on-demand and Internet content and services, in a way that competitors and cable TV providers can’t match,” said Ed Cholerton, chief executive officer of SBC Media Solutions. “It is another important milestone in the SBC ‘grand slam’ strategy of leadership in landline voice, wireless, broadband Internet and video services.”

Among the many features of the service are fully integrated access to satellite programming, and both music- and video-on-demand available from a variety of different sources and delivered through high-speed DSL connections to stereos, entertainment systems and networked computers.

Customers will operate the box through a remote control that flips open to reveal a keyboard.

The box also features a 250 gigabyte disk drive and a CD/DVD RW optical drive and supports Windows Media 9 digital rights management technology.

SBC said that the new service will allow users to download pictures from digital cameras directly to the set-top box and to view previously saved images on networked computers.

Users will also be able to remotely program their boxes using any computer connected to the Internet, as well as access files stored on their home computers through the box.

Future plans for the service include allowing customers to access the service through Cingular wireless phones and to view Caller ID and call-log information on their television screens. SBC also plans to allow customers to monitor all phone voicemail, email and faxes through one mailbox viewable on a television screen.