AT&T Inc. said on Tuesday it will launch a new Internet browser based television service that will allow subscribers to watch 20 channels, including Fox News and the Weather Channel, on their computers.
The live TV service, named AT&T Broadband TV, will be available to high speed Internet users at $19.99 a month, adding to AT&T's line up of video products to meet growing demand for mobile and over the Web entertainment.
Although the service does not work overseas, AT&T said one target customer group would be U.S. travelers, who will be able to watch live TV on their laptops as long as their Internet connection speed is at least 500 kilobits per second.
The new service faces competition from all corners of the media and technology world, from free Webcasts of prime time TV shows such as Desperate Housewives and Lost that are available on ABC's site, to movie download services like CinemaNow and online video services such as YouTube and Google Video.
It would also compete against Sling Media Inc., whose $200 consumer electronics device lets viewers watch all of their cable channels on Internet connected laptops and handheld devices with no monthly fee.
AT&T, the biggest U.S. phone company, said it would work with media streaming services provider MobiTV Inc. to offer the service, which will also offer programs from Food Network, History Channel and Bloomberg TV.
Phone companies like AT&T and Verizon Communications Inc. have launched Web and video services over the past year to compete with cable companies that have taken away their customers with combined video, voice and Internet services.
AT&T recently launched AT&T Homezone, a television service delivered to customers using high speed Internet connections. The company said it now has 7.8 million subscribers for its DSL (digital subscriber lines) service.