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AT&T Digital Life expands to more US cities, gains a garage-door controller

The AT&T Digital Life service is expanding to six new US cities and its smart home lineup now includes an app-controlled garage-door opener.

AT&T's Digital Life garage-door controller. AT&T

Back in February, I wrote about AT&T Digital Life expanding to four new markets -- a sign that things were going well for the home security and automation service. And while AT&T won't disclose any information on its number of customers, it has just announced plans to add six more cities to its Digital Life-compatible roster on Friday, May 23. The addition of Beaumont, Texas; Omaha, Neb.; Toledo, Ohio; Greenville, S.C.; Cape Coral, Fla.; and Oxnard, Calif. will take the grand total up to 81 US markets.

In addition to its growing availability, AT&T has also introduced a new home automation device to the Digital Life mix. It's a $50 remote garage-door controller that's supposed to let you open and close your garage door directly from the Digital Life Web or mobile app. Monthly fees for this functionality include the requisite $40 Smart Security package along with the $5 door package add-on.

The AT&T Digital Life mobile app. AT&T

AT&T's Digital Life is a bit different than the home-security systems we've covered lately, like Piper and Scout that include both security features and additional smart home options without a required monthly fee.

AT&T will also have to do battle with standalone smart garage devices. Take Alottazs Labs' Garageio . This $150 gizmo uses your existing garage door configuration and additional sensors to help you monitor and control your garage doors via Wi-Fi on your Android or iOS mobile app. There are no additional fees associated with Garageio. The same goes for Chamberlain's MyQ Garage. A one-time $130 charge includes a Wi-Fi hub, a door sensor, installation hardware, and instructions for using the free MyQ app.

But, there's still a lot of interest in more traditional fee-based home-automation setups, at least if AT&T's expansion is a sign that business is going well. They can add convenience -- for instance, AT&T sends out its own Digital Life Technicians to complete the install for you. You just also have to be comfortable with monthly charges, two-year contract agreements, and termination fees if you decide to cancel early.