Wednesday 14 November 2007

IPTV Future

IPTV is again in spotlight. This months Total Telecom magazine has some interesting articles on IPTV but its in the Print form and the online is a paid site :(. Anyway, i managed to find all that was required and here is the summary:

BT is showcasing a new TV concept at this year’s Broadband World Forum that could dramatically change viewing habits and provide it with a lucrative source of revenue. Dubbed New Media 2 (or NM2), its latest project could allow a TV producer to develop the storyline of a new drama program based on feedback from viewers. Using the interactivity of an IPTV service, viewers would periodically be able to choose how a story should evolve — perhaps killing off their least favorite character or causing a young unmarried couple to tie the knot.

BT Vision is “on track” to make its year-end target of serving 100,000 subscribers. Launched in December last year, the service had attracted just 20,000 customers by June, and BT has since been at pains to ramp up the offer and give it broader appeal. It recently signed a deal with Setanta, a sports channel delivered using digital terrestrial technology, and claims the inclusion of more sports content has had a major impact on growth. BT has also launched a "self-install" version of the service, so engineers do not have to go to each and every home.
In other news, Millions of broadband users across the world are finding IPTV hard to resist, with customer numbers rising from 2,950,000 to 8,229,000 in the 12 months leading to June 2007. That is the finding of the DSL Forum, a lobby group for DSL broadband technology, based on new research commissioned from consultancy Point Topic. Most of the growth came from Europe, where the number of IPTV customers soared to 4,984,000 from 1,505,000 a year earlier. In the Americas, 660,000 broadband customers signed up to IPTV services, giving the region a total of 1,069,000 users, while the Asia Pacific added 1,189,000 customers to give it 2,176,000 subscribers.
According to a TotalTele article: Despite massive investments and headline-grabbing contracts with many of the world's largest phone companies, only about 500,000 homes now get TV from phone companies using Microsoft software and technology. In a market where dozens of small companies have developed an expertise in key niches, from video servers to set-top boxes, Microsoft has tried to cover all the bases of delivering TV programming via Internet technology—an approach that for many carriers has proved harder and more expensive than expected to carry out on a large scale. But for the moment, the pace seems to be picking up on this slow march toward TV innovation, as plans to use Microsoft's Internet protocol TV products actually begin getting off the ground. AT&T (T), which by most accounts has been the poster child for Microsoft's disappointing progress, said in October that its U-Verse IPTV service had amassed 126,000 customers in the third quarter, from 51,000 in the second quarter. Ma Bell plans to make the service available to 8 million homes by the end of the year, up from 5 million now. Swisscom says it has lured 50,000 of Switzerland's 3 million homes away from cable and satellite rivals using Microsoft IPTV. A year after launching its BT Vision IPTV service, British Telecom Group (BT) will release figures on subscriber gains on Nov. 8. BT Vision Chief Executive Dan Marks says his target is to sign up 2 million to 3 million customers within three to five years. "It took longer than everyone wanted to get to this point, but we're pretty comfortable with the way things are going," Marks says. Microsoft continues to line up new business. On Nov. 5, Indian telecom powerhouse Reliance Communications announced a $500 million deal to begin delivering Microsoft's technology by April, 2008—four years after first announcing a partnership with Microsoft. Yankee Group analyst Vince Vittore expects an increase in 2008, though he won't predict how steep. "It's a complicated business," Vittore says. "But Microsoft is starting to get traction, and they've got the biggest carriers as key customers."
Different providers have different views about IPTV. This report examines what the customers are willing to pay for and how much.
Another issue is the competetion between IP Television (IPTV) and Internet Television (I-TV). With the devices converging, soon people may stop buying seperate TV and start using PC's for watching TV over Internet and this could cause serious problems for IPTV.
When we talk about IPTV, different operators have different ideas and visions. This article talks about some of these conflicting visions and what it means for us.
Finally, its not easy using the normal existing Phone lines for transmitting IPTV. This article gives an idea as to what is required.

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