Internet Protocol TV World Forum coming later this month

Posted by Rick C. Hodgin

London (England) - The 2009 Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) conference will be held in London's Olympia Exhibition Centre on March 25-27, 2009. IPTV vendors on hand will demonstrate the latest in TV over the Internet, bringing the dream of software protocol access to all devices currently hard-wired one step closer to reality.





The following data is provided as a summary:


Event Profile
Starting March 25, 2009, ending March 27, 2009, organized by Informa Telecoms and Media. IPTV World Forum - London is an integrated event featuring a business oriented conference, in depth product demonstrations and a b2b showcase. IPTV has completed stage one of its growth, moving from a technology concept at the start of the decade to a real service that, in some countries, has now achieved mass-market status.


Highlights

The conference will feature over 30 telcos and ISPs discussing IPTV service deployment issues.


Visitor Profiles

Telecom Service Providers, Handset Manufacturers, Internet Service Providers, Cable Operators / DTH service providers, Broadcasting Vendors, Content owners & aggregators, Software providers and OSS/ billing vendors, IPTV software & solution vendors, Setup boxes manufacturers, IPTV Middleware, Content/ Broadcast / Media / Entertainment, Representatives from TRAI, Telecom Industry Fraternity.


Exhibitor Profiles

Profile for exhibit includes Internet, Wireless, Wireline, Networking and Telecommunications, Entertainment, Broadband.




How does IPTV work? TV content is provided to mid-stream providers at a national and local level. They convert those TV signals to Internet protocols which broadcast data packets (content for the channel you're watching) directly to your home over the Internet. The IPTV box receives the data, decodes it, and in addition to sending those content signals to the TV, additional bandwidth is provided for VoIP telephone and broadband Internet for all at-home needs. This is the theory, though the technology is likely still years away from wide acceptance (at least in the U.S.)




IPTV for the masses?



The idea of IPTV is simple: Television over the Internet -- but how would they make this happen? Consumers today would eat up bandwidth with the latest episodes of General Hospital, Oprah and reruns of Jerry Springer. There'd be no bandwidth left over for the rest of us to use for our regular Internet surfing.



In fact, it is something very close this reality which has caused companies like Comcast to stick a 250 GB montly cap on content access. To put that value into perspective, as managing editor of TG Daily I personally use around 35 GB of Internet bandwidth per month to carry out this role. People who hit the 250 GB per month cap are streaming an extremely high quantity of data, and if it's HD movie or TV content, one can understand how they reach those limits so quickly.



Single service end-user access to streaming HD TV content over the Internet would clog today's backbone. There simply isn't enough bandwidth in place to support the bulk of cable subscribers now suddenly streaming HD content on the PCs, or even worse on their televisions while their regular Internet browsing also remains the same. However, in the future this will not be the limitation it is today.



Several carriers are installing new fiber, or utilizing existing unused fiber (called "dark fiber") to increase Internet bandwidth potential. The reality is the capability to increase with demand is there, but it's going to have to be rolled out. Still, the idea of IPTV does not have to be limited in its use by consumers, just perhaps limited in bandwidth early on.





Opinion

Is it about flexibility or quality?



There's been an ongoing discussion here between some of the employees of TG Daily over data access. I am of the position that in the future it will be flexible access to content which is more desirable than ultra-high quality versions of content, such as that made possible by 1080p or higher video signals. It is my position that it's more important to have access to movies, TV content, and more generally just streaming audio and video content (like YouTube), regardless of where you are rather than in high quality mode. In this vision the lower-quality video will be acceptable, even when displayed on our at-home TVs, provided the content can also be streamed to our cell phones, PCs and notebook computers, for the same monthly charge.



Samantha Rose Hunt, on the other hand, believes the opposite. She believes it will be quality which wins out over flexibility, such that we will pay a premium for our at-home TV service and it's high-quality broadcasts, which will additionally offer streaming service (such as the future of Time Warner Cable, and other Satellite and Cable providers), in addition to still maintaining subscriptions to paid services -- such as Netflix, and Blockbuster. She feels that the majority of individuals have been spoiled by big screen televisions, great audio and an even better picture. Once an individual has seen television at such high quality, she believes it will hard to go backwards in time, or to sacrifice quality simply to be able to utilize a device on the fly. The thought of using her mobile phone or laptop to watch television for any other reason than a long flight, or lack of access to television seems ridiculous. She is of the mindset and personal preference that having the best and most up to date in high quality television and video capability is crucial. Even though users are becoming a more mobile breed, she just doesn’t feel they'll give up quality for mobility.



Who will win out in the end? Time will surely tell us on this one. But with the rate at which the web is changing today, I can't imagine people will want to be anchored to a wired-only service for their multimedia content for long. And I further can't imagine a desire to pay twice for the same service.