AT&T Inc. is offering subscribers a new kind of TV remote control: their cell phones.
The company this week began offering its "Homezone" customers the ability to control their digital video recorders through Web-enabled phones. The interface lets cell phone users schedule or delete recordings on their set-top boxes from anywhere.
Homezone is a $10-per-month product for subscribers of the Dish Network satellite TV service. It includes a set-top box that brings content from the Internet to televisions, such as on-demand movies, plus caller ID information from the phone and photos from the home computer.
AT&T will not disclose how many subscribers Homezone has, but it has far broader reach than U-verse, the high-speed Internet service AT&T hopes will help it win back customers from cable TV rivals.
AT&T is still slowly expanding U-verse, which is in just 14 markets, delayed because of software difficulties.
Patrick Comack, an analyst with Zachary Investment Research, said the Homezone box, made by 2Wire Inc., offers a strong technology that could help AT&T compete with cable providers. However, too much success with Homezone, he said, might make it hard for AT&T to move customers to U-verse.
AT&T offers Homezone to customers it shares with EchoStar Communications Corp.'s Dish Network in 13 states. It is not available to former BellSouth customers, who get bundled television service through DirectTV Group Inc.