AT&T gets approval to buy Time Warner for $85 billion

ATT-Time Warner

On Tuesday, AT&T got final approval to purchase Time Warner. The acquisition, which was first announced in 2016, had been blocked by the U.S. Justice Department. When the merger is completed, HBO, CNN, and film studio Warner Bros. will be owned by the No. 2 carrier in the U.S.

According to CNBC, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon approved the $85.4 acquisition without conditions. He also urged the U.S. government not to seek a stay.

In 2017, the Trump administration sued to block the merger, believing that AT&T, which owns DirecTV, could charge rival distributors more for Time Warner content, resulting in higher prices for consumers. AT&T said that logic didn't hold up, a position Judge Leon accepted.

The AT&T-Time Warner merger should close later this month. As AT&T General Counsel David McAtee explained soon after hearing the result:

We are pleased that, after conducting a full and fair trial on the merits, the Court has categorically rejected the government's lawsuit to block our merger with Time Warner. We look forward to closing the merger on or before June 20 so we can begin to give consumers video entertainment that is more affordable, mobile, and innovative.

In a statement, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said the Justice Department was disappointed by the decision, noting:

We continue to believe that the pay-TV market will be less competitive and less innovative as a result of the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner. We will closely review the Court’s opinion and consider next steps in light of our commitment to preserving competition for the benefit of American consumers.

CNBC believes this megamerger will spur a wave of deals in the telecom and media industries. Comcast-NBC Universal, for example, is now expected to fight Disney with a competing bid for parts of Twenty-First Century Fox.

Before AT&T's bid, there were rumors that Apple would make a play for Time Warner. However, those rumors turned out not to be true. Instead, Apple is working with content providers to bring original video content to properties like Apple TV and Apple Music as early as next year.

Besides HBO, CNN, and Warner Bros., Time Warner owns TBS, TCM, and TNT.

Image: Variety

DirecTV gains Single Sign-On support in iOS 10.2 and tvOS 10.1 betas

Single Sign-On, a feature that remembers and uses your cable/satellite logins across compatible video apps for the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV, was originally promised months ago and should finally go live alongside public releases of iOS 10.2 and tvOS 10.1 next month.

As noted by MacRumors, AT&T's DirecTV service is now being listed as a Single Sign-On compatible app alongside the previously listed compatible providers: Dish, Sling TV, Hotwire and GVTC Communications.

AT&T announces acquisition of DirecTV for close to $50 billion

As expected, AT&T has announced today that it has reached a deal to acquire satellite TV heavyweight DirecTV. The buyout will come in the form of a stock-and-cash transaction—$95 per share based on AT&T's Friday closing price—worth in upwards of $50 billion.

Between DirecTV’s satellite business and AT&T’s U-verse arm, the move results in a combined 26 million TV subscribers. That essentially makes AT&T the number one pay-TV provider, second if the long-rumored Comcast/Time Warner Cable deal ever goes through...

AT&T reportedly considering buying DirecTV for $40 billion

Following the news that Sprint is considering buying T-Mobile comes word of another major acquisition. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that AT&T has approached DirecTV to begin possible buyout talks. The deal, the outlet says, could be worth over $40 billion in cash, stock and other assets.

Between DirecTV's satellite business and AT&T's U-verse arm, the move would result in a combined 26 million TV subscribers—which would be second only to the hypothetical Comcast/TWC combination, should that deal go through. So essentially, the two companies would hold most of the market...

DirecTV app now supports voice navigation

DirecTV has a decent iOS app on the App Store which streams live television programming, supports DVR functionality and lets you browse and access on-demand streams of past television shows and movies.

The company previously promised to activate voice-enabled features and today it made good on that promise by updating DirectTV software to version 2.5.

The new version uses voice-activated navigation to enable users to find whatever they want to watch on their telly. It's just like Siri: simply speak to the app just as you would to a person in order to find something to watch. In fact, DirectTV's software gives us a good indication how a rumored Siri-enabled Apple television set could enhance the experience...

Controlling Cool Electronic Stuff with your iPhone

The new Sonos[iTunes Link] Controller for iPhone app has really got me thinking about all the cool things we are going to be able to do with the iPhone. I've compiled this list of things you can manipulate with your iPhone.

Controlling your Car

Delphi has come up with a really cool app that lets your lock and unlock your car, power automatic doors, and even remote start your car.  Although it is just a concept, it was demo'd at CES 2008 working with a GMC Acadia vehicle.  It works with a blue-tooth enabled key fob that can work from up to a mile a way. This software also allows users to monitor and control several aspect's of a vehicle's system, including temperature, tire pressure, gas levels, oil levels, and can detect break ins.

Controlling What You Watch on TV

I already wrote about controlling your DirecTV DVR to setup recordings, but you can also control Tivo interface.

Believe it or not, You Can Use Your iPhone to Fly an Aircraft

The clever folks at UC Berkeley have developed a system to issue commands to unmanned aerial vehicles using a device we all know and love: the iPhone.

While the iPhone is specifically restricted from piloting the drones themselves, the team uses Mobile Safari on the iPhone to enter coordinates and select tasks for its airborne fleet. A web server then relays the tasks to the aircraft mid-flight.

The video shows, in real time, an exercise where a remote-controlled airplane is instructed to photograph a particular area underneath it. The photo is then transmitted wirelessly back to a workstation at ground control.

Controlling Your Home

There have been several different home automation applications for the iPhone.  iPhone Home Controller lets an iPhone User set up a home automation scheme using x10 automation hardware and a Safari/iPhone/iTouch optimized web interface controller.  Crestons Home Automation iPhone Application elegantly enables wired home owners to control lighting, temperature and all sorts of other things via WiFi or 3G, at home or anywhere else in the world. Users can even program in settings for multiple houses, enabling them to turn the AC on in Orlando while blasting the heat in Jackson Hole. You can get the source code for a home grown X-10 iPhone app as well.

Controlling your Bathomatic Bubble Bath Tub

You can even regulate the bubbles in your whirlpool tub with an iPhone.  Now that is luxury.

Controlling a Radio Controlled Car

A guy having fun figured out how to use the iPhone to control his RC Car. He set up an interface and leveraged the accelerometer to steer it.

Controlling your Music At Home

Sonos is a wireless digital music player that plays digital music files from your PC or networked hard drive anywhere in the home. The Sonos Controller for iPhone™ is a free application that turns your iPhone (or iPod® touch) into a full-fledged Sonos Controller. I am really excited because I have been eyeing their system for years but didn't want to spend the $900. Their new iPhone app will let me buy just the ZonePlayer Base and I can use our iPhones and iTouches to control it around the house.

Remote, the well known free Apple app that lets you control iTunes and pipe music throughout your house. I described how to do this here.

Controlling your Music Jam

There are iPhone Applications that use your iPhone / iTouch touch as new generation midi controller for your favorite audio DAW or VJ performance tool.  iTM MCU [iTunes Link] is the latest iTM release Mackie Control Emulation for your iPhone or iPod touch ITMMidi [iTunes Link]. ProRemote [iTunes Link] is a product that runs on the iPhone and iPod Touch that uses your existing wireless network to control professional audio products such as Digidesign’s ProTools and Apple’s Logic Music production systems.These apps free you up so that you can sit at your instrument and make changes to your setup without stopping and walking across the room every few minutes.

Control Your Computer

There are several apps that let you remotely control your home or work computer with your iPhone. Jaadu VNC [iTunes Link], formerly known as Touchpad Pro, lets you wirelessly control your PC or Mac through your iPhone or iPod Touch. You can use it to advance slides in a presentation, control your media center, check e-mail -- whatever a regular touchpad and keyboard can do. It's got various features that you really have to see to believe. With ScreenView, you can now see what's happening on your screen and control your computer even if you're miles away. Watch the video to learn more!  It is a bit pricey at $24.99 but a lot more expensive that one of these presentation remote controllers they sell in office supply shops.  Also available in the App Store are Mocha VNC, and Mocha VNC lite. If you've jailbroken your phone, you can use Cydia to get Veency, a very robust useful VNC application to reverse this, i.e., control and view your iPhone from your computer.

Controlling your Digital Picture Frames

Now that Wifi digital picture frames are becoming more available, I expect to see more of this, but right now I could only find one company that let you do this:  Control your digital picture frame with your iPhone. eStarling frames lets you use the application by SeeFrame [iTunes Link], to send photos from your iPhone to wifi connected picture frames.