AT&T: U-verse TV Subs Top 100K

AT&T has doubled the number of U-verse TV subscribers in about two months -- announcing that the service now has more than 100,000 customers -- and the phone company said it will add at least five new high-definition channels to the service by the end of 2007.

The telco last reported having 51,000 U-verse TV customers as of the end of June.

U-verse TV will soon launch new content, according to AT&T, including five HD channels scheduled to be added by the end of this year: Lifetime Movie Network HD, History Channel HD, Animal Planet HD, TBS HD and Comcast's combo Versus/The Golf Channel HD. The telco typically has offered 26 national HD channels in the markets where U-verse TV is available.

AT&T also is prepping the launch of new features it claimed will further differentiate U-verse TV from cable.

U-bar will bring "Internet-like content to the television screen" in the form of customized weather, stock, traffic and sports, AT&T said. Other pending features include TV, to let subscribers search for local businesses, and Yahoo! Games on the TV, including sudoku, solitaire, mah-jongg and chess.

"We've reached today's milestone less than a year after we began scaling this service into multiple markets," AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said, in a prepared statement. "Today, we offer U-verse across nine states, and we've added new features that you can't currently get with any other provider."

AT&T expects the U-verse network to pass 8 million households by the end of this year. The company is anticipating spending at least $1.1 billion in network-infrastructure upgrades to expand the service into the former BellSouth territory in the Southeast U.S.

To promote signing up its 100,000th customer, AT&T is providing a "home-technology makeover" to a Los Angeles-area family that includes a 42-inch LCD flat-panel HDTV, an HD DVD player, an HP notebook computer and a portable DVD player courtesy of Showtime Networks. The family also will receive one free year of the U-verse TV U400 package and digital subscriber line Internet service.