Addressing the IPTV challenges
The deployment of IPTV is facing some serious challenges in
the U.S. such as cost, marketing, speed to market, integration
and operational issues, not to mention stiff competition from
other video over IP providers. But globally, it's moving beyond
those hurdles, albeit with similar issues, including bandwidth
By 2009, more than 32 million households are expected to
be IPTV customers, and with the 2008 Summer Olympics being
held in Beijing, China, and its 360 million TV viewers, that
number is expected to spike higher not only there, but in
other key global markets.
And the operative word is global. The U.S. TV market, reports
JupiterResearch, faces enormous challenges in "undertaking
billions of dollars in investment to build out infrastructure
and design services capable of attracting subscribers in a
Consequently, IPTV's worldly growth is not surprising to
those companies who are expanding their IPTV interests overseas.
C-COR Inc. is a classic example of a company looking beyond
the U.S. IPTV market. "What's the driver for IPTV growth?
The consumer, of course. It doesn't matter if they live in
England or Japan, the U.S. or Italy. And IP delivery seeks
to be the most efficient way to give consumers what they want,
but it only works if you have business and operational tools
to leverage IP delivery. And remember, IPTV is simply a means
of sending digital video streams over the broadband data network
and not exclusive to any service provider-cable or telco,"
says Mike Pohl, president of C-COR's global strategy group.
And what should IPTV service providers be doing? "Avoid overwhelming
the consumer with Jetsons-like TV of the future and focus
on real value in terms of TV of the present," says Joseph
Laszlo of JupiterResearch.
And though the potential to deliver IP video in the U.S.
remains appealing to a cross-section of service providers,
the real value of IPTV may lie in its global markets.
Widevine widens its HD,
Technologies is expanding its Cypher Virtual Smart
Card to include high-definition (HD) DVD players, and will
enable IPTV service providers to license and acquire premium
content for extended service delivery to retail IPTV-enabled
HD consumer electronics devices, the company says.
The move will allow digital copy protection via the competing
Blu-ray and HD-DVD formats, the company adds. Widevine's Cypher
for hi-def DVD players is expected to hit the retail market
this summer and will include Blu-ray and HD-DVD devices that
run on Microsoft's Vista operating system.
What's the big deal? According to Widevine's CTO, Glenn Morten,
the expansion "marks the first downloadable conditional access
and digital rights management solution which opens direct
retail availability to Widevine secured operators."
It also could give IPTV providers a lift in acquiring premium
content, a key hurdle in their effort to launch video services.
Ixia passes triple play
test; IPTV scores
has released its IxLoad 3.00 test application for assessing
the performance of triple play networks. The IP performance
test system company and its IxLoad can emulate millions of
IPTV broadcast video and VOD subscribers and the millions
of streams they're viewing, the company says.
The performance of key IPTV elements such as video servers,
multicast routers, and the video delivery network, can be
characterized by IxLoad, which can test the performance of
Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) devices as well.
Why the test? Tracking and testing the performance of sophisticated
new triple play networks is a growing concern among service
providers. For IPTV service providers, it's especially important
for metrics including channel changing delays and video quality.
And the research says....
Nearly 75 percent of U.S. consumers would be interested in
the ability to access content on-demand via their mobile devices
or computers, says a recent study by M2B
World Inc. Seventy-six percent of respondents were
very interested in lifestyle programming on food and cooking
and 69 percent were interested in card gaming on-demand, including
via IPTV set-top boxes and IPTV-based programming, the report
And more research tells
Fifty-two percent of consumers would switch pay TV services
if they could get a better price for the same channel selection,
while 46 percent say the option of a la carte channel selection
would motivate them to switch pay TV services, says a recent
report by JupiterResearch.
Translation: Price remains a key driver for IPTV service.
HDTV didn't fare too well. Just six percent of consumers
prioritized HD as a desired feature, and only three percent
are attracted to a greater selection of VOD services, the
The report noted some sobering conclusions about IPTV and
the TV sector at large: "The U.S. TV market faces enormous
challenges in undertaking billions of dollars in investment
to build out infrastructure and design services capable of
attracting subscribers in a saturated market, where 66 percent
of current pay TV subscribers are satisfied with their service.
Aggressive pricing, better channel selection and other clear
benefits to induce switching will be required," it concludes.
Cox and Cisco make contact
will implement Cisco
Systems' standards-based IP software to upgrade its
19 contact centers across the U.S., the companies announced.
Cox will deploy Cisco's IPCC Enterprise Edition, Customer
Voice Portal and Outbound platforms in the 19 centers. They
will replace Cox's legacy systems. The IP-based solutions
will streamline Cox's management of distributed contact centers
and reduce operational costs, the company says.
"After seeing the benefits that IP telephony can bring, companies
are increasingly adopting IP-based contact centers for mission-critical
service and support," says Laurent Philonenko, vice president
and GM of Cisco's customer contact business unit.
AT&T outlines global growth
has revealed some ambitious goals for its global business,
including an $8 billion to $8.5 billion capital infusion for
2006 that will be used to extend services in key global markets.
- Extend dedicated MPLS-based IP access capabilities, giving
service nodes in 127 countries;
- Integration of more than 1,000 Frame Relay/ATM nodes in
the legacy SBC 13-state region into the AT&T backbone network;
- Doubling DSL country coverage for business access, via
alliance agreements with local carriers;
- Tripling Ethernet country connectivity;
- Enhancing access via satellite, WiFi and other wireless
ATX and BroadSoft doing
will use BroadSoft's
VoIP application software as the platform to deliver its CoreFlex
VoIP service to small and mid-sized businesses in the Mid-Atlantic
CoreFlex is ATX's IP-based business trunking service that
enables users to increase bandwidth by maximizing the flexibility
and throughput of a customer's access circuit on ATX's MPLS
IP network, the company says.
is launching an unlimited calling plan to international
customers. Yak Unlimited allows international customers to
choose a local North American number to associate with their
account, Yak says.
International subscribers using the company's Virtual VideoPhone
will also have access to Yak's global search and directory.
Yak also provides other VoIP services.
And the trends say.....
Consumer VoIP shows great potential, but its added value is
more in new services than as a mechanism to deliver cheap
telephony, says a report by Research
Other VoIP trends for 2006:
- Leading device makers will not try to replace the phone
embedding voice into devices like TVs and appliances. Instead,
they will try to enhance their devices with voice.
- VoIP browsing and chat will change how customer service
questions get answered.
- In areas where cell coverage is limited, telcos will use
a combination of VoIP and Wi-Fi to support telephony and
BPL goes to the Opera
Open PLC European Research Alliance (OPERA) has approved
the first open global specification for Broadband over Powerline
(BPL) technologies. The specification aims to accelerate the
mass rollout of powerline-based high-speed, low-cost, broadband
access, voice and audiovisual services, as well as utility
applications for control and management operations.
OPERA tested technologies from various international vendors
to evaluate performance, notching capabilities and industrial
maturity against the blueprint requirements. The new specification
provides for interoperability for non-OPERA technologies via
a co-existence mechanism, according to OPERA.
Covad closes NextWeb deal
has completed its acquisition of NextWeb,
a provider of wireless broadband service to about 3,000 business
customers in parts of San Francisco, Los Angeles, central
California and Las Vegas.
The acquisition extends Covad's reach deeper into the business-class
segment, where NextWeb is offering speeds up to 100 Mbps,
and complements Covad's existing portfolio of data services,
the company says.
Proxim extends family to
Wireless Corp. is launching a family of WiMAX standard-based
products in the 3.5 GHz band. The products will be offered
as part of Proxim's Tsunami product line and is designed to
expand the use of WiMAX technology among a wider range of
service providers, Proxim says.
You're hired. Microwave
Satellite Technologies (MST), the newly acquired technology
company of Telkonet,
Inc., will provide New York's Trump Palace with a
quadruple play after signing an agreement with EchoStar
The quad-play is expected to be offered in Trump's seven
high-profile buildings on Manhattan's West Side by the end
of March, and then move into other Trump properties.
And just in time for television's sweeps season.