While the music industry understood where they did wrong and started DRM-free initiatives, AT&T decided to re-open the circle now known as "put DRM-get pirated because your content screws up the system and then sue around and cry foul-admit then you’re wrong and stop harassing legal paying customers".
The telco giant signed an agreement with Microsoft and is going to use "PlayReady content access and protection technology to enable next-generation entertainment services across its mobile and in-home offerings." AT&T U-verse TV set-top boxes were originally based on Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV platform, thus this move made sense for AT&T. Microsoft adds PlayReady in their software stack, AT&T starts to ship set-top boxes for the current customers and sometime in late 2010 or early 2011, and then launch an advertising campaign featuring set-top boxes that rely on 700 MHz spectrum for content delivery.
It will be interesting seeing AT&T offering Microsoft DRM on the Apple iPhone, if a 4G LTE or 700MHz capable version is in the works. But one thing is certain – both AT&T and Verizon want to launch cellphones that catch 700 MHz LTE band and at the same time reduce their investments in building cell-phone towers. Instead, the future lies in leasing and re-using the old TV antennas stations, which could be a much needed lifeline for fledging TV stations in central section of USA.