What is IPTV?
According to iSuppli, the IPTV market
stood at about $780 million in 2006. That number is possibly set to
rise to $26 billion by 2011. (Reference)
(May be known as, or associated with Internet-protocol
Television, Telco TV, TelcoTV, Video over IP, Internet TV,
IP-broadband, IPTV over DSL, IP VOD, IP VOD Channel, Broadband-based
TV, Terrestrial-based Internet-over-TV service, TV-over-ADSL, TV-based
Internet, Broadband-based TV, ITV-over-DSL, Broadband ITV, ADSL-based
VOD, IP-based Video, IP-based VOD system, Interactive Broadband
Television, Web TV, Terrestrial-based Internet-over-TV, Internet-based
TV Services, TV over DSL Networks, Web-enabled Broadcasting.) (Interactive IPTV, IP-based Interactive TV
Note - IPTV can provide excellent Interactive Television but the term
"IPTV" is not synonymous with Interactive TV. IPTV has also been
referred to as Internet TV and Telco TV. but a distinction between
"IPTV" and "Internet
is that unlike the Internet, IPTV is Internet Protocol content (in the
form of packets) provided by network operators (and others) over closed
networks. (The Internet is a gigantic open network.) (More
of the difference here.) Very important to the IPTV closed network
is the "Final Mile" to the consumer's premises.
is next-generation television delivered over a managed network.
Depending on how robust the system is, IPTV technology can provide more
than just video services; it can provide access to on-demand gaming,
data services, digital music and home security. (Interactive Television
Networks has launched Pulse, which it claims is the first IPTV music
video network. More
info.) IPTV technology can provide a single stream to multiple
clients simultaneously (multicasting).
It can also utilize unicast delivery for providing services to a single
client (receiver) for applications such as Video On Demand.
Typically video content is compressed using either a MPEG-2 or a MPEG-4
(H.264) codec and then sent in an MPEG transport stream. Live TV is
delivered via IP Multicast and on demand services most often use IP Unicast.
Using H.264 for compression is of great importance when transporting IP
HDTV due to it's huge size, but MPEG-2 might still be used for
interactivity and other things.
transmission IPTV might use the Internet, but many IPTV deployments use
Internet-like closed networks, as is the case with telcos. IPTV might
also be used over smaller networks such as LANs. IPTV is a system
capable of transmitting, delivering, receiving and displaying a video
stream encoded as a series of Internet Protocol packets. IPTV can offer
great interactivity and virtually limitless programming. Only channels
selected by the user are delivered to that user, as compared to many
channels being delivered to the user and he/she then chooses which to
watch. The switched digital video architecture gives IPTV technology
the ability to customize a unique viewing experience for each
individual subscriber. IPTV essentially offers a one-to-one signal,
providing channels on-demand as opposed to the standard commercial
model. In this 'always on' model of delivery, a huge number of channels
are sent to the customer and the customer, via their remote, flips
through these delivered channels and decides which to watch. With IPTV,
when a customer clicks on a channel, that's when the channel's content
is sent for viewing. Each IPTV program has an IP address, and the
subscriber`s IPTV set-top box, or related device, finds it. IPTV
channel changes typically are faster than the competition. IPTV and
other IP-based broadband services can be sent to devices other than a set-top box
including phones and portable
Delivered can be over a variety of networks, including WiMAX. With
IPTV, the router can beam the signal to a Wi-Fi laptop or desktop
computer in that room or even in another room.
According to iSuppli,
the IPTV market stood at about $780 million in 2006.
That number is set to rise to 26 billion by 2011. "Recent forecasts
from Alcatel-Lucent show that IPTV subscriptions are set to reach
between 70 million and 100 million by 2010. “Europe outstrips the rest
of the world in the uptake of IPTV – particular hot spots are France,
Spain and Italy." (Reference).
While the telcos are leading
the charge with IPTV, there is a big market for IPTV in the enterprise
(business), hospitality and education markets, (example).
A business can even use IPTV technology for in-store and on-premises
communication. (Reference.) This type of IPTV system might be able to
be controlled from a single PC either remotely or in-house.
Two of the earliest IPTV deployments were done by:
(1) In March, 1998, the former Cable & Wireless Hongkong Telecom
(HKT) launched "iTV" a commercial Interactive Television service which
was the predeccor to Hong Kong’s PCCW's IPTV service. Its
endeveor (now known as "NOW TV") is still in operation today, (reference
1 & reference
(2) Kingston Communications. Kinston launched KIT (Kingston Interactive
Television), a DSL-based broadband service in 1999. The Kinston
re-launched its VoD service in October 2001 via Yes TV, a provider of
IP-based VoD service and solutions. Kingston was one of the first
companies in the world to introduce IPTV and IP VOD over ADSL. It
unfortunately was ahead of it's time and didn't survive, (reference).
to a NMRC
the early growth of IPTV will not be driven by the need to
replace traditional television but as a customized platform focusing on
the needs of professional groups and organizations. Joseph Fergus, CEO
of ComTek Technologies, said that the immediate future of IPTV is about
targeting three groups: highly mobile professionals, state and local
governments and non-profit organizations. (From TMCnet).
IPTV content providers can transmit IPTV content to your PC, phone and
more. IPTV content aggregators (collectors and providers) can offer the
public and/or service providers fast and easy access to authorized IPTV
programming content. See IPTV
As of June 2006, there were over 1,300 free IPTV channels available,
the vast majority of which transmitted their broadcast signal over the
Internet. These free IPTV channels require only an Internet connection
and an Internet enabled device such as a PC, digital media receivers,
game console, mobile phones etc. (Reference.)
In the states the biggest name in IPTV deployment is AT&T. (Article.)
AT&T's U-verse IPTV is impressive but those getting U-verse IPTV
now might have only limited interactivity as part of this initial
In January of 2007, Microsoft announced it will combine its Xbox 360
with its IPTV software for service providers, allowing its video-game
console to be turned into an IPTV set-top box. Microsoft referred to it
as "IPTV on Xbox 360". This IPTV-enabled Xbox will be offered by
service providers "by holiday-season 2007." (Reference.)
With Google buying up such an incredible amount of spectrum, maybe they
have plans to start their own IPTV networks (among other things)? (Reference.)