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DVR feature adapts to viewers’ lifestyles
by Jessica Garcia
Oct 13, 2008 | 1013 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/Sarah Cooper - Melissa Latimer is one of the first to use AT&T's new DVR system. After its launch today, subscribers can pause a show in one room and resume it on another TV set.
Tribune/Sarah Cooper - Melissa Latimer is one of the first to use AT&T's new DVR system. After its launch today, subscribers can pause a show in one room and resume it on another TV set.
Melissa Latimer, her boyfriend Scott Callister and his son, Chance Callister, all have different preferences when it comes to watching television.

Latimer, a Reno resident and national retail accounts executive for AT&T, enjoys “Army Wives” while Callister favors political shows like “The O’Reilly Factor.” Chance, 11, is a huge soccer fan and is devoted to sports channels that show the Ultimate Fighting Championships and other athletic competitions.

“We’d fight over the TV when we wanted to watch something, (like) Sunday football or ‘Army Wives’ or soccer,” Latimer said.

Like other American families, they once may have had to fight for their TV time and rigiht to watch their favorite programs. Now, that’s all in the past.

Customers of AT&T’s U-verse, an Internet protocol-based television service introduced into the Reno-Sparks market in June, will have the option to download Total Home DVR, a free upgrade, starting today. Through Total Home DVR, viewers will be able to play back up to three high definition (HD) recorded programs and one standard definition program on any connected television in any room of the house.

Heather Hoffman, retail manager for AT&T’s Nevada market, said Total Home DVR is useful for large gatherings, such as the holidays, when guests want to watch something different and can allow kids to watch their movies or cartoons in a different area of the house while adults can enjoy their own programing.

“There are so many options to fit the average customer,” she said.

At a demonstration at Latimer’s house Monday, John Britton, AT&T’s director of media relations for corporate communications, said it frees people to enjoy their shows somewhere other than the living room.

“We found people don’t like being chained to their DVRs,” he said. “They can have not only what they want when they want but also where they want it.”

Latimer received the service last Wednesday to test the upgrade before the service goes public today and so far said it’s been convenient to have when she feels like watching her own shows in her bedroom.

With the help of a global bookmarking system, users are able to pause a program at any time during play and resume viewing in another room precisely where they left off.

Total Home DVR also organizes the content by series grouping rather than searching through listings by showtimes. Recordings can also be scheduled through any Web-compatible handheld device. The system allows 37 hours of storage for HD content or 133 hours of SD content.

“With the conversion to digital from signal, all Internet protocol TV is 100 percent digital,” Hoffman said. “People won’t have to have conversion boxes and they don’t have to change their equipment.”

Britton said the technology is indicative of changes in lifestyle with the three most prominent screens people use today.

“People are doing a lot more today and don’t want to just be in their living rooms for TV,” Britton said. “They want to go into their bedrooms and iron. They’re not bound by their living rooms.”

Soon, Britton said, AT&T will have another upgrade that allows recording from any DVR receiver in the house, not just the primary TV that most families have in their living room. For now, though, the playback will be helpful to families like Latimer’s, Hoffman said.

“It’s superconvenient and supereasy,” Hoffman said. “Customers in northern Nevada have been happy and we can’t keep up with the demand.”

Britton said AT&T is on target to reach its goal of 1 million users signed up for U-verse by the end of this year.

Today, U-verse subscribers will received a notice on their screens asking if they’d like to have the upgrade.

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