IPTV's critical quarter

The U.S. IPTV industry is just weeks away from one of its key events: TelcoTV 2008, Nov. 11-13, in Anaheim, Calif. What sort of mood will we be in as we meet up in sunny Southern California? By then, we'll have a good understanding of how telco TV service providers performed in the third quarter, and what they expect for the fourth quarter and the rest of the year. The final quarter of 2008 could be a critical one for telco players, as they look to reverse a trend toward slower adoption of new TV services at a time when consumer spending is more uncertain than at any other time in years.

This week, we'll get our first indication of how the third quarter turned out, as AT&T tomorrow will reveal its third quarter earnings, including subscriber numbers for its U-verse IPTV service. AT&T has been aiming for 1 million IPTV customers by the end of this year, and after tomorrow, we'll know whether or not that goal remains realistic.

The TelcoTV conference, as always, will be a venue not only for discussion of subscriber trends, but also new services and new technology twists. FierceIPTV will be on-site providing daily show coverage. Also, we'll be publishing our TelcoTV show preview on Nov. 6, so be sure to tell us before then about your plans for the big event.

Meanwhile, the fourth quarter also is a big one for FierceIPTV, as we kick off a new round of special reports taking a look at new technology and service trends. First up is today's glimpse at video transcoding, a technology area that is central to the ability of telcos and other service provider to deliver video to a variety of device types and in a variety of formats.

Next month, we'll take a closer look at IPTV policy management. Then, in December, FierceIPTV will offer its year-end review, and a look ahead at the hot trends, technologies and events to expect for 2009. To that end, start letting us know now about your expectations for the IPTV sector in 2009. Will consumer spending tightness put the sector in a bind? Will telcos have more TV success against cable TV players? How will the integration of IPTV services with online video content play out? Does more consolidation lie ahead? Post a comment today and let us know what you think.