Editor's Corner

TelcoTV Coverage
It's that time of year again. TelcoTV, arguably the biggest show of the year for those following the IPTV sector in the U.S., starts Monday in Dallas, Texas. As always I will be there covering the more interesting panels, interviewing industry luminaries and providing extensive coverage of the always elaborate parties (another pirate ship soiree this year, Entone?) Be sure to follow my daily coverage of the event at fierceiptv.com. In anticipation of TelcoTV, I have interviewed numerous analysts and industry executives, instead of hoarding all the pre-show thinking, I thought I'd share a bit:

"I think one of the big things at the show will be the more widespread availability of MPEG-4 HD encoders, which service providers have been waiting for. This means that the price/channel is starting to reach a range where service providers are willing to pay. Also, the introduction of the first IP set-top boxes based on system-on-a-chip reference design should lower the cost of IP STBs and make it more affordable to roll out IPTV per subscriber. Finally, I think we'll hear about more rural ILECs getting into the business with the help of content." Jeff Heynen, Infonetics

"I wouldn't categorize anything as a hot topic: I don't think that there's been a killer app or a burning topic that's rising to the top or one that's going to command attention at the show. That said, there are a few areas that will continue to be important: One is the content piece, that is, how do service providers get a hold of TV programming and VOD content? That's always been a huge issue... This show will have more 'drill-downs,' less of "What is IPTV?" and more focused sessions on middleware, etc. There will also be more telco testimonials--I don't know if I'd characterize them as horror stories--maybe there are a few good news stories, too." Ken Couch, Director of IPTV, Nortel

"Video Internet services are another disruptive force for cable and telephone carriers. The popularity of services such as YouTube, Skype, and Google on-demand video are driving carriers to upgrade their networks for high-demand video services. In 2006, Apple, Amazon and Netflix are expected to introduce video download services over broadband networks, as well as large entertainment companies such as Walt Disney, Fox and NBC in 2007. In the broader market, the biggest game-changer may be wireless networks. There is insatiable demand for wireless services and mobile devices. Some market watchers predict Google, Microsoft and Yahoo may join forces with entertainment and news giants to bypass legacy carrier networks entirely with new Wi-Max networks. Wi-Max has the ability deliver video-centric services at network speeds up to 30 mbps, about 50 times faster than the typical broadband connection. In short, network consolidation, video centric Internet services, and broadband wireless networks have the ability to change everything." Kevin DeNuccio, president and CEO, Redback

"With regards to hot topics... AT&T transitioning to offer HD on their U-Verse system" will be a major point of discussion at the show. Alan Weinkrantz, blogger and president of Weinkrantz PR

"We're seeing a trend of the STB being the center of media in the home, not just television. It can now stream to your PC or your handset... Also, everyone keeps talking about IPTV as something that's going to be competing with cable. It's not. That's not the vision of IPTV. All these innovations on the Internet, I think you're going to see that on TV. There are probably more than 5,000 TV channels in existence around the world: With satellite service you may get 500 to 1,000 of them, but with IPTV you'll be able to get them all... Also we're going to see YouTube going HD in the next 3 to 5 years and apps like YouTube are going to bring more innovation to IPTV, especially in N. America." Kaynam Hedayat, CTO, Brix Networks

"Look at the EU's Television without Frontiers, they're calling it the A/V Directive, we can't say 'television' anymore because entertainment has become a blend of three different cultures: The culture of broadcast where we regulate the distribution of content; the culture of the Internet, which is ad-hoc and decentralized, people post whatever they like; and the fixed-line culture, where telcos provide the infrastructure and others provide the content. So there exists lots of conflict and lots of blurring between these three... The chief stumbling block for IPTV service providers to date has been access to content." Lara Srivastava, ITU's Telecom Policy Expert/Analyst

Be sure to take a look at today's Also Noted section for a run-down of some announcements to look for at the show. See you all there! - Brian

Sponsored by Irdeto

FierceIPTV's coverage of TelcoTV is brought to you by Irdeto. The Irdeto IPTV SoftClient, fully audited by third party security experts, provides the only truly effective security solution that is tailored made and focused on your needs. Visit Irdeto at TelcoTV booth #607.