Boxed out: Deutsche Telekom, TeliaSonera avoid the set-top

Even as a new round of set-tops move through FCC approvals, a pair of international multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs)--TeliaSonera and Deutsche Telekom--are planning a business without them.

Europe's fifth biggest telecommunications company, TeliaSonera, has allied with smart TV maker Samsung to launch an IPTV service that, the two say, obviates the need for a set-top. Instead, TeliaSonera subscribers, starting with those who receive IPTV services from Elion in Estonia, can use Samsung's smart TVs to receive all the features of their service including linear, recording, catch-up and on-demand features, The Next Web reports.

Samsung is so confident of success that it will adapt its IPTV technology for other smart TV models next year and has begun negotiations with global IPTV providers to establish services compatible with its products. For its part, TeliaSonera is hopeful of rolling out its IPTV service in Sweden in the first quarter of 2013, followed later in the year by Finland.

Samsung might have a ready customer in another European MVPD, Deutsche Telekom, whose senior vice president of global TV and entertainment has made it clear he'd like to see the TV as the only in-home hardware.

DT's Gerry O'Sullivan told the Digital TV Summit in London that the set-top is an expense that can, and should, go away, according to a story in Advanced Television.

"I'd like to see no hardware in the house apart from the screen," he said during a keynote speech to the London conference. "If we can move away from that [set-top box and its concurrent expense] we'll have a healthier business model."

For more:
- The Next Web had this story about TeliaSonera and Samsung
- Advanced TV reported this story about Deutsche Telekom

Editor's Corner: The set-top box: the Rasputin of home electronics

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