Your TV now interrupts your regularly scheduled broadcast with a news flash: who's calling you on the phone.
AT&T is introducing a caller ID feature for its U-verse service, a competitor to cable television. When a call comes in, the feature pops a msg on the TV screen, showing viewers who's calling and the caller's phone number.
The feature was activated today for U-verse customers in Raleigh and Chapel Hill. U-verse customers in Charlotte got the caller ID feature last month.
It's a small example of a massive transformation in telecommunications that will one day lead to a complete convergence of computer, television and telephone services, so that people will be able to use all three devices interchangeably to browse the Web, watch programs and communicate.
AT&T's rival, Time Warner Cable, has been offering the caller ID feature since April 2008 on its Digital Phone service. Time Warner is next planning to extend the caller ID feature to its Internet service, so that when a customer's phone rings the customer will receive a message on the computer.
Both AT&T's and Time Warner's caller ID features are free and available only to customers who bundle TV and phone service from the same provider.