IPTV: The New Experience of TV viewing
Roshan D'Souza, VP, Service Provider, Cisco India & SAARC
Globally, the IPTV phenom-enon has gained immense popularity and the same trend is expected in the Indian market also. In India, as per IDC, the number of subscribers is expected to reach 966,000 subscrib-ers by 2011 at a CAGR of 156.8 per-cent during the period 2006-2011. IDC expects 15.9 percent of all the residential broadband subscribers in India to use IPTV by the end of 2011.
IPTV scenario in India
India has around 65 million cable and satellite homes. If even 10 percent take up IPTV we are talking about 6.5 million homes and this is outside of the enterprise uptake. Cisco with an end-to-end portfolio of intelligent IPTV products can now construct key linkages across the IPTV network that include key elements such as signaling that oc-curs between the networking devices and the set top box. This seamless-ly and appropriately provides the right amount of bandwidth, for the customer's requested application or video stream.
Through the expansion of Linksys and the acquisitions of Scientific At-lanta and Kiss Technologies, Cisco has integrated the IP media compo-nents necessary to deliver IPTV and an assortment of accessories that allow for audio, video and pictures to be shared within the home. Cisco has introduced technology, which in-tegrates its knowledge and expertise in the optical world with its routing technology, as the need for band-width is going to be critical with video coming to the main stay. More than 10 million video/IPTV subscrib-ers worldwide receive service over a Cisco IP NGN-based infrastructure
IPTV services enhancing the TV viewing experience
IPTV will bring services not yet delivered such as on-demand video content that has not been broad-casted in the last five or six days, network-based DVRs, where the content is potentially stored on the network and streamed to your device wherever it might be. The so-called long-tail content will be readily available to consumers. In addition, content which is typically available in streaming media for-mat on the internet will be avail-able for viewing on the television. IPTV will also bring the integration of video streaming with conferenc-ing capability, and interactive TV applications which provide the user with a much richer experience than they have today.
The brands of the future will be network brands and service brands, which provide an opportunity to service providers where their bun-dled brand, becomes synonymous with the level of entertainment that consumers consume. IPTV will de-liver a different type of content from what we view on television today. Content will be interactive, with a clicking functionality offering the viewer added features that bring a differentiated experience for the end user.
In India, all major service providers including MTNL, BSNL, Bharti Air-tel and Reliance have initiated IPTV deployments. Full-fledged rollouts however have been hampered by regulatory issues, content availabil-ity and the need to upgrade access networks. IPTV is deemed as both acontent service, and a telecom ser-vice, hence decisions pertaining to IPTV lie with both Ministry of Infor-mation & Broadcasting, responsible for broadcast content, and Depart-ment of Telecom (DoT), responsible for telecom services, regulated by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Apart from this low broadband penetration in India is also a major challenge in the deploy-ment of IPTV.
IPTV is still in its infancy in India in terms of commercial deployments and experience. However, with tech-nological innovations and changing consumer habits, IPTV is undoubt-edly set to see greater levels of adop-tion in the coming months. The gov-ernment of India has set a target of 20 million broadband connections by 2010, which will also provide an im-petus to IPTV.
Broadband penetration along with enhanced consumer experience will be the key factors in driving suc-cessful adoption of IPTV services and realizing its full potential. However, it is also imperative to educate consumers about the value that IPTV can bring to their lives. IPTV has unlimited potential. For example, for garners their Xbox can serve as an IPTV set top box and let them seamlessly switch between TV viewing and playing multiple games on their TV set. As we are eventually headed toward a medium that provides us with converged data-everything from internet, radio, voice over inter- net protocol to gaming and televi-sion viewing will be made available through one platform.