IPTV - The Next Revolution!
Just as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) changed the telecom industry by
breaking through to give the people cheap/free telephone calls over the
internet, a shiny new technology is going to shake up the television industry
round the world. They call it IPTV or Internet Protocol Television.
It is the delivery of Television over the Internet or more precisely Broadband
Internet. As Broadband markets around the world grow, television over the
Internet is no longer a distant dream but a resounding reality. In India
Reliance Communication Ventures is looking to start IPTV services by the end of
2006. Software giant Microsoft and communications major Cisco Systems Inc. have
also spoken recently in support of the Reliance venture in India.
We also hear that the STAR Group is working together with Hong Kong based
Pacific Century Cyber Works (PCCW) on IPTV. It all seems to fit, in keeping with
the long-term strategies of these media companies. Of course for the Indian
market which is just about ready to jump on to its latest avatar in Direct To
(DTH) Television, talking about the next big thing might seem a bit
cheeky. But time and technology waits for no one. The Indian Television market
is big and vibrant enough to host a variety of simultaneous delivery systems.
The one big obvious benefit of IPTV is that because by nature it's runs over the
active medium of the Internet it makes television truly interactive and two
ways. The viewers can now watch what show they want when and so on. Bringing the
two mediums together this new technology promises to unlock the true potential
of both the Internet and TV.
IPTV can be received on a computer or by using a set-top box connected to a
broadband Internet connection. Believe it or not there are about 1200 IPTV
channels already operating around the world today. MPEG-4 (H.264) is going to be
the most preferred choice of video compression used for broadcasting over the
Internet, as against the earlier used MPEG-2 format. You however would at least
need a 700kbps connection to get decent quality video even when using the MPEG-4
codec. At the moment not many households in India have that kind of Internet
access even in the Metros. Having said that with Broadband prices being slashed
every month and speeds being bumped up by ISP's this bandwidth issue can easily
author: Sasha Masand