Estonians first, then Swedes and Fins to get IPTV without a set-top

By the end of the year, Estonian IPTV subscribers will be able to watch their pay TV service without a set-top box--as long as they own a Samsung Series 7 or 8 TV and subscribe to TeliaSonera's Elion subsidiary, which will run the service.

TeliaSonera has agreed to work on a connected TV solution with Samsung Electronics (OTC: SSNLF) that eliminates the need for the box but still provides full support for features such as catch-up and on-demand. The sets and the features will be offered in Sweden in the first quarter of next year, followed some time later by Finland.

An appropriately outfitted Samsung Smart TV becomes a smart IPTV when connected to the Internet. Once attached, the set recognizes the IPTV provider, then does all the other heavy lifting, including configuring settings to work on the operator's network without any subscriber intervention.

The partnership between the service provider and the electronics giant is "going to be a significant change to the use of TV," Kyungshik Lee, vice president of Samsung's visual display division, said in a story in BroadbandTVNews. "Samsung is continuously working on partnering with operators like TeliaSonera and making consumers enjoy their favorite contents in more easy and convenient ways. This will lead to a much higher level in broadening accessibility through Smart TV."

For TeliaSonera, the partnership is another indicator that IPTV is the right way to go.

"Our TV business is growing in all Nordic and Baltic countries and in 2012 we will make our TV service available on multiple screens," said Malin Frenning, president of broadband services for TeliaSonera.

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