The IPTV world is becoming Microsoft's oyster
Corp.'s deepening IPTV presence just went deeper,
evidenced by a recent $400 million deal with Deutsche
Telekom Group to provide the telecom giant with its
IPTV Edition platform for service rollouts in Germany and
The agreement, Microsoft's largest IPTV deal in Europe thus
far, brings the number of commercial agreements Microsoft's
IPTV service has to ten, with Bell Canada, Reliance, and BellSouth
in trials, says Michelle Abraham of In-Stat, which reports
there are 18 million cable TV households in Germany and 1.9
million digital subscribers.
Yet, she notes in an Information Alert, 15 million German
homes don't subscribe to pay-TV, but instead use digital terrestrial
technology to receive video programming. So, with Microsoft's
IPTV agreement in hand, "Deutsche Telekom will need to be
a great improvement over traditional digital TV services in
order to convince German households to become subscribers,"
Microsoft thinks it can do it. Here are some key elements
of the deal:
- The IPTV service will be delivered over the T-Com VDSL
network at speeds up to 50 Mbps, and a launch in in mid-2006
in 10 major German cities.
- Microsoft will support Deutsche Telekom with joint marketing
to help develop IPTV in Germany.
- The IPTV services will include standard and high-definition
programs, interactive TV, VOD and PVR.
- Also included will be pay-TV and special interest channels
and connected-entertainment services across a range of consumer
devices, according to Microsoft.
Whether German and French consumers will buy into IPTV will
likely depend on those pesky marketing, operational and customer
service issues. But make no mistake, Microsoft is definitely
in the global hunt with its IPTV Edition product, and its
Deutsche Telekom agreement is yet another clear indication
of IPTV's growing international footprint.
Entone goes to Iowa
Technologies has been chosen by
Iowa Network Services (INS) to deliver its video-on-demand
and IPTV gear in support of services INS will offer to its
148 independent telco partners in the state.
Entone will provide INS with its network video recorder,
Armada Asset Manager and Ingest Gateway, the companies announced.
INS' network of phone companies provide telecommunications
and digital services to more than 500,000 customers in 330
different communities in the state.
What's the big deal? The IPTV agreement brings VOD to INS
and represents one of the larger IPTV announcements.
Watchit launches Manageit
Media, Inc. is introducing Manageit Enterprise 2.0,
a platform that will enable gaming, lodging and hospitality
companies to manage and deliver television programming and
video content via broadband IP, the company says.
Watchit will use Alpha Video's CastNET interface and Scala's
software's suite of products as the additional technology
required to enable Enterprise 2.0.
The upside? The gaming, lodging and hospitality markets are
OEN piling up the channels
Entertainment Network (OEN) will add four channels
to its burgeoning lineup, which is expected to top 400 channels,
and include more than 50 HD networks, as it expands its IP-based,
fiber-fed "Fision" service in Houston.
In addition to a full video lineup, the fiber-to-the-home
platform will also offer VoIP and high-speed Internet service
speeds ranging from 10 to 100 Mbps per subscriber, the company
Jones/NCTI on course with
Broadband training specialist
Jones/NCTI has launched "IP Voice," an "e-learning"
course that covers VoIP installation and troubleshooting.
Jones/NCTI, the result of a recent merger of Jones International
Academy and NCTI, said IP Voice uses a blend of full-motion
video and animation to demonstrate voice service installations.
Much of the training video is from an "over-the-shoulder"
perspective of the installer.
Individual modules, meanwhile, range from preparation and
installation in single-family homes and multi-unit buildings,
installations in homes with security systems, and troubleshooting
The entire course includes three hours of video, and can
be taken over a two-day period or over several days. A
demonstration of the course is available on the Web.
component of the Jones/NCTI IP Voice course takes an
over-the-shoulder approach to show proper installation
Inc. is using the new courseware to train about 800
technicians, said Jones/NCTI Director of Market Strategy Michael
Guilfoyle. Jones/NCTI is also negotiating IP Voice deals with
two of the top four U.S. MSOs, he said.
The company said the course also marks its first to employ
Confidence Based Learning (CBL), a time-saving training method
created by UCLA Processor of Education Jim Bruno. CBL assessments
also ask students to identify the confidence level of their
answers. Among the benefits, Jones/NCTI believes the method
will produce fewer truck rolls after initial installations.
"With Confidence Based Learning, the difference between employees
being pretty sure versus confident of what action to take
is enormous to a business in terms of operational expense
and customer retention," said Jones/NCTI President Tom Brooksher,
in a release.
CBL "is something that we, as an organization, philosophically
believe in," Guilfoyle said, noting that a "top" MSO hopes
to use the learning system in conjunction with Jones/NCTI
for workforce assessment purposes.
Knology is rolling out Integra5 Communications' i5 Service Delivery
Integra5 and Knology get
personal with IP
Communications will provide Knology
Inc., a triple play provider, with its i5 Service
Delivery Platform (SDP), that, in turn, will enable the service
operator to offer TV-based messaging and other advanced personalized
IP applications and services.
The i5 SDP will also support migration to an IMS environment
and multiple set-top boxes. The application is being rolled
out to Knology's residential voice and video subscribers in
select cities in its Southeast markets.
VoIP conference minutes
rising, says Interwise
Inc., a provider of enterprise conference products,
reports strong growth in the telephone and Web conferencing
spaces, with a record 140 million VoIP minutes used in 2005,
a 40 percent increase over 2004.
The jump in IP-based conferencing is being driven by an increase
in global usage and by organizations both internally and externally,
"The need for more effective and efficient communications
between all employees, no matter where they are located, is
a primary driver for the IP conferencing market," says Jeffrey
Mann, research vice president for Gartner Research.
Pali on the shift to IP
Yahoo!'s recent launch of a dial-out service from a PC to
any phone number via a free set of software is indicative
of a larger trend, says Pali
Yahoo!'s move, Pali maintains, is one more signal that a
clear shift to an IP-based platform by distributors battling
for broadband market share is underway.
Among other findings:
- Conditions appear ripe for exploiting the potential of
software-based VoIP services such as Skype and Yahoo!
- The key for cable operators is to realize that VoIP pricing
has to come down and to price it aggressively to drive the
- VoIP will increasingly be seen as a low-cost incremental
feature of a cable operator's broadband offering.
- If services such as Yahoo! Voice and Skype capture an
increasing share of the voice communications market, with
consumers increasingly expecting VoIP to be "free" or nearly
free, it will make it harder for cable industry investors
to believe MSO price points anywhere near the current $30-$40
New name, strategy for Direcway
Network Systems LLC hit the branding reset button
on its satellite broadband service this week, announcing it
has replaced the old Direcway name with the HughesNet moniker.
The HughesNet brand will be used for the company's range
of satellite and terrestrial data services for all customer
segments, which include enterprise, government, small business
and general consumer.
"This is the beginning of an exciting new era for Hughes,"
said Hughes Chairman & CEO Pradman Kaul, in a release. "The
new HughesNet brand underscores our corporate commitment to
enable our customers to realize the full potential of broadband
solutions and services, utilizing the best of satellite and
The new HughesNet organization will be divided into three
"core segments": managed network services (networks based
on a combination of satellite and terrestrial technologies),
digital media services (business-class digital distribution
services), and enhanced network services (VPNs, security,
customized mail offerings).
The newly-named HughesNet division will start off with about
275,000 U.S. customers.
Spirent and Lumenare partner,
Communications and Lumenare
Networks are joining forces to provide integrated
testing of converged network technologies in the lab and during
manufacturing of triple play network components such as IPTV,
IMS and new underlying carrier Ethernet services, the companies
Why the merged testing elements? The combination of Lumenare's
automation capabilities and Spirent's functionality are expected
to give carriers significant cost savings over manual test
Wayne Davis, one of the cable industry's top engineers and
technicians and recently Charter Communications' EVP and CTO,
will be leaving the MSO. He will serve as a consultant to
the company during the transition period that will see another
industry vet, Marwan Fawaz, assume those duties after Adelphia
completes its sale to Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable.
Davis' tenures at Jones Intercable and Charter, and his many
contributions to the industry as CTO and as a decision-making
top executive helped shape both companies' technological and
On a personal note, Davis has been a knowledgeable and trusted
source. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.