Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What Is Your Definition Of IPTV?

IPTV is moving images sent over IP. After that it covers a multitude of different systems.

IPTV is encoded in either MPEG2, MPEG4, H264, or propriety protocols in either broadcast, multicast or point to point IP networks. It may or may not use IGMP, it may or may not have middleware protocols to manage the views.

It can be used for viewing normal television, VoD, special services, "Hotel room services", adverts, remote windows, anything.

There are open systems and closed systems. Some using signalling and control some being totally passive.

IPTV is just a very wide concept with many many applications.

My non-technical definition of IPTV is a question of perspectives.

From a customer point of view it is the ability to create custom channels that include the content they wish to view without the headache of being tied to broadcast scheduling.

From an advertising point of view it provides a means of providing targeted advertising based on detailed demographic information which will be more attainable when a user chooses to use an IPTV provider.

From a broadcasters point of view IPTV heralds the opportunity to generate revenue from re-purposed legacy content, revenue that may be lost through customers choosing to avoid advertising.

The term was coined, I believe, by Eli Noam at Columbia University in 1998. It refers to video programming (one way) delivered by Information Packet switching/Internet Protocol, regardless of source. The increased interactivity and addressablitily of IPTV affords the ablitiy to do multicasting, narrowcasting, VOD, etc. A related, often confused term is Television over the Internet (or Internet TV). The primary difference is that in Internet Television, the content source can be divorced from the network provider. Say, as opposed to getting video content from your cable TV provider, you get it from YouTube.

IPTV is a promising media broadcasting method which is used more and more for end users for live and (VOD) Video On Demand broadcasts. Almost anybody can now become a media broadcaster/provider and integrate their information services with this technology. I envision that this technology brings many commercial and technical opportunities and challenges for providers and end users.

IPTV is enabling a whole new paradigm for "video watching". No more broadcasting, no more "what's on TV tonight", no more government controlled TV networks or tregulations. It's what Internet in general did for information, now for video. Anybody can play, anybody can access, anybody can "mesh-up" and enjoy.

Online, offline, wireless, wired, handheld, wallsized. Look what, where, when, how and with whom you want.

The issue with customers of this technology is its still too new and still too foreign for the non technical to understand. The issue with those technologically advanced to understand it comes from a point of the underlying protocols and their often instability. So lets put this to the test and nail this coffin shall we? IPTV is all the rage a million people sign up for the concert of the century. Bono, Prince, Madonna, Springsteen, and all other heavy hitters agree to appear for this one time extravaganza. The curtain falls and guess what? Fiber cut So much for that concert. No wait... Peering disputes, two backbone providers disconnect There goes your business model. Something will always come along at present time and spoil IPTV.

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