The Telcos Could Revolutionize TV... But They Won't

from the why-bother-with-IPTV? dept

Martin Geddes has written up a post about how the telcos are wasting their money on IPTV, and reminds us of our own post on the subject from last summer. In that post, we wondered why the telcos were wasting so much money trying to build out a huge IPTV infrastructure and simultaneously trying to get TV franchises across the country while convincing the government that they don't even need local franchises. Instead, it seemed like they could do a complete end run around their cable competitors, by simply setting up a new kind of television -- where the shows get downloaded over their spiffy fast fiber lines. We noted two huge hurdles to that happening: (1) the telcos had to actually think creatively and (2) the TV execs would have to buy into such a vision -- both of which seemed laughable at the time. However, reading that post now, it may be worth adjusting the story. With Disney suddenly pushing online downloads (in a limited way, but it's a start), perhaps that second huge hurdle just got lowered. If the Disney experiment proves successful (possibly a big if), others will quickly follow -- and if the telcos were smart, they'd be banging down doors suggesting a "new" kind of television -- only it would be the model that plenty of techies were suggesting television should adopt years ago. It would save them a ton of money while potentially delivering something a lot more powerful and useful to everyone. Which, of course, is why it probably won't happen.

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  • identicon
    LOST it again, 14 Apr 2006 @ 6:16am

    Can't wait for LOST on the web

    Oh man it's going to be great!!! Now I need to upgrade my connection to support all that traffic...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      IPTV Developer, 14 Apr 2006 @ 6:31am

      Re: Can't wait for LOST on the web

      IPTV is not video streaming over the web. It would run on a dedicated, reliable, controlled IP-based network.

      A HD broadcast at current compression standards takes up 8-12 Mbps. It's true you might need to upgrade your connection.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Mike Shizzle, 14 Apr 2006 @ 6:44am

        Re: Re: Can't wait for LOST on the web

        IPTV is not video streaming over the web. It would run on a dedicated, reliable, controlled IP-based network.

        This is why! Downloading shows is all fine and great but sometimes you want a reliable, made-for-TV setup. You want the service for many reasons. It's legal, you get LIVE TV, and it adds competition to the market.

        How is video downloading better then this? Personally, I don't think one trumps the other. I would love to download TV shows like Lost Season 1 which you won't see on live TV. However, some things like sports, new releases, news, and a handful of other things, are best seen live.

        Personally, I will jump right on Verizon's IPTV when it comes out. If FiOS is any sign, they'll price it very competitively and offer more then the competitors could even dream to offer.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jeremy, 14 Apr 2006 @ 7:28am

    Reminds me of???

    Reminds me of a TiVO type setup. Almost. If you could upgrade your hard drive on a TiVO, and keep tons of data. Either way it goes, it's a great idea.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nate, 14 Apr 2006 @ 7:36am

    IPTV has great potential for 1) lowering the price of the hardware that t.v. providers use (thus theoretically lowering the cost subscribers pay), 2) allowing for nearly infinite numbers of channels and 3) Allowing for very cool interactive T.V. based applications.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mikeD, 14 Apr 2006 @ 7:46am

    RE:IPTV is not video streaming over the web

    This is true. IPTV will run on a fiber optic based IP network capable of bandwidth that is unimaginable by todays standards. The Fiber is already being rolled out by a couple telcos (Check out Project Lightspeed by SBC now AT&T). The Internet would simply be another service offered through this IP Fiber based network.
    ...And about downloading each show. Currently cable companies just push every channel through your pipe and you select the one channel you wish to view. This wastes A LOT of bandwidth. IPTV would only push the show you would like to watch over the line, freeing up lots of bandwidth for other services like VOIP and VDSL. I know there is also lots of talk of making completely On Demand (I know this is a Comcast term, but its the best term I could think of). No More network time slots. You can watch the show whenever you want as soon as it becomes available.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Robert Thille, 14 Apr 2006 @ 7:51am

    Live? Watch Live TV? How strange...

    Since I've had a Tivo for about 6 years now, I can't stand to watch live TV. Granted, I'm not a big fan of sports and news, especially on TV, but I'm much happier being able to watch TV on my schedule and skip the commercials than having to put up with 'live' tv. As for TV news, except for the really local stuff, I can't stand to watch it. It seems to be 'here's a tidbit of information about what we're going to tell you about later', but never actually giving you much more information. news.google.com is always a more effective way for me to get much more information much faster.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DREi, 14 Apr 2006 @ 8:32am

    Place Shifting

    I have been place shifting my TV shows to the web for almost a year. I'm talking recorded and live TV it's great. Check this out: www.orb.com The software is totally free and if you have good upload speeds the quality is outstanding. Make sure you check the system requirements for TV card compatibility.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Matt, 14 Apr 2006 @ 9:02am

    Peer Impact a commercial p2p network that currently sells Music from the big 4 labels and games is soon to launch a video service from NBC Universal that will follow a VOD model and possibly ad supported content available for download .I

    would prefer to be my own personal Network Programmer and a p2p network mitages any bottlenecks and storage costs because the network operator only needs to keep the seed file .

    http://www.peerimpact.com/nbc.html

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    txjump, 14 Apr 2006 @ 9:27am

    FIOS Internet and TV

    I have FIOS internet from Verizon and have the ability to order FIOS TV already.

    Love my internet connection. Prices for FIOS TV are competitive with cable and satelite if you don't count the rental box. Depending on the box you select it can add another $5 to $12 a month. Which is not huge in the scheme of things but it does remove some of the competitive edge

    And when I looked, they don't state that extra cost on their website with their rates plans, if it was there it wasnt easy to find. I got that from the rep I called.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Turk, 14 Apr 2006 @ 11:01am

    Telcos and Phone Service

    Your post has two potentially fatal flaws. First, under the legal definitions of cable service, it's not clear whether the telcos could develop the fiber network for the purpose of delivering the service you envision without it still being classified as a cable service.

    The law is rather murky and AT&T is claiming they're not a cable operator or a cable service based on the way they have structured their plans. Technically, under the odd definition of cable service as a one-way delivery of video, it's not clear that the cable companies are cable services anymore.

    Second, cities may still require a franchise. If the telcos will use public rights of way (which local governments control) to build a network for the purpose of delivering 'a new kind of video service', they're still covered by the franchise laws at the local level. Cities are suing the telcos over exactly that issue.

    The way the video is delivered is not the issue. It's the telcos use of public rights of way to provide a video service and the compensation of the local government for that privilege.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    operator, 14 Apr 2006 @ 11:55am

    we can only pray....

    this looks like something that could come out great for normal people, but i still doubt that cable companies and telcos can get around their greed, so it probably won't be nearly as good as it could be.
    Still, we can hope.....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Apr 2006 @ 10:34am

    Back when DSL was still a laboratory experiment, the first use for it that anyone could think of was video. DSL would revolutionze video to the home, replace cable TV, offer video on demand, new forms of interactive TV and games, and ways to purchase stuff with your remote.

    It was a bright and glorious future for DSL.

    Until they actually got around to deploying it and discovered it wasn't really suited for video at all. Too slow, nobody actually wanted interactive TV or video on demand, and nobody at the telcos had any idea how to provide those things anyway.

    If computer use hadn't come along as an afterthought, DSL was going to be just another ISDN, a curiousity on a back shelf.

    Now they're once again making what sound like the same promises, and they say they're REALLY going to make good on it this time. It WILL work, and nobody will need to be nailed to a tree for anything.

    You know what happened next, right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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