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|Subsidiary/limited liability company|
|Fate||Discontinued by CenturyLink|
|Successor||Prism TV (Over-The-Top)|
|Founded||January 5, 2011|
|Defunct||April 10, 2018(For New Customers) January 17, 2019 (Existing Customers)|
Prism TV was an American IPTV service that was owned by CenturyLink. It was based on the same technology as the U-verse service deployed by AT&T. On April 10, 2018, Centurylink discontinued the service to new customers due to emerging market trends in video content and delivery, but its existing customers will still have this service until January 17, 2019, when they will be then transferred to AT&T's DirectTV. An over-the-top service of the same name is being tested in several markets, and expected to replace Prism TV by 2019.
Around the time that Sprint Nextel spun off their landline division to form Embarq, Verizon and AT&T began work on their own IPTV services to compete with the local cable companies. Embarq was no different, and had started work on a similar service called Embarq TV. Details were scarce, but the service was rumored to have been an IPTV fiber-to-the-node service similar to AT&T's U-verse. The service was going through beta testing when CenturyTel agreed to purchase Embarq to form CenturyLink in 2009.
CenturyLink (still known as CenturyTel) began rolling out what was to eventually be known as Prism TV in October 2009 in Jefferson City, Missouri. It adopted the Prism TV name in 2011, based on the Embarq TV infrastructure.
Over time, CenturyLink began rolling out Prism TV in markets as they were upgraded from the old copper-based services to fiber-optic communication, eventually offering the service in markets in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Other markets will follow once their lines are upgraded to be able to carry Prism TV. In the interim, markets that do not offer Prism TV will be allowed to have a triple play option through CenturyLink with DirecTV. Some CenturyLink customers also have Dish Network as their TV provider through CenturyLink under a grandfather clause, as Dish was the legacy provider through CenturyTel and Embarq; CenturyLink switched to DirecTV as part of its acquisition of Qwest, who had partnered with DirecTV.
In 2018, CenturyLink announced that they were no longer providing services for new customers, but existing customers would still have it until January 17, 2019, when they will be switched to DirectTV. The service is being discontinued because it is not profitable.
Prism TV is still being offered to new customers and installed currently as of 10/10/2018.
Reception for Prism TV has been generally positive, with many observers feeling that giving consumers the option in areas where they might have been stuck with the local cable company if they weren't able to receive satellite television (due to either technical reasons or not being allowed through their landlords if they rent their homes) combined with cord-cutting would ultimately help push pay TV prices lower.
While CenturyLink has been slower to roll out Prism TV compared to Verizon Fios and AT&T U-verse, it has gotten praise from some consumer advocate groups that they are at least putting forth the effort to upgrade their landlines and offer the service. Verizon and to a lesser extent AT&T have both received criticism for all but abandoning their landline infrastructure to focus more on their wireless divisions, something CenturyLink doesn't offer on its own. (CenturyLink does offer bundling services for Verizon Wireless.) Verizon has in fact faced lawsuits from the city governments in New York City and Pittsburgh (both of which offer CenturyLink in parts of their suburban areas, though neither currently offer Prism TV) for failure to deploy Fios throughout their respective cities. While AT&T has mostly deployed U-verse throughout its 21-state landline territory and has maintained its landlines, they have shown a lack of commitment on U-verse and plan on merging U-verse into DirecTV, which AT&T acquired in 2015.