Magyar Telekom CTO: Integrate set-top functionality into TV

Even as vendors continue to focus their set-top box efforts on emerging markets, at least one IPTV service provider technology executive in such a market is indicating that there really is no need for a set-top if a TV can do the job.

Matthias Linder, CTO of Network Technology at Hungary's Magyar Telekom, told IPTV News it is time to move the functions of a set-top into the TV, if for no other reason than that it will save the service provider the cost of the equipment.

"TV sets are becoming more and more intelligent--many of them are just Linux computers, like a set-top box, so if a customer already has a smart TV in the home, why put another Linux computer in front of it?" Linder asked in a wide-ranging Q&A with the publication. "Why not use the capabilities that the smart TV has to integrate the set-top box functionality into the TV directly?"

One reason, he conceded, might be the ongoing questions about content protection, some of which can be obviated using more "IP-based solutions," he said.

Linder also took note of the growth of IPTV and, in the case of his particular company, the integration of telco services into IPTV.

"For the past two years we have been trying to push the interactive TV vendors to enable and show us this integration of telco services on IPTV, but we haven't seen it, so we have started to work on it ourselves, done our own demos, integrating our intelligent network platforms with the TV applications," he said.

Among the goals is to notify a customer who receives a phone call about who is calling the landline or mobile phone. The company also hopes to allow a user to set up a call directly from the TV remote control, Linder said.

"We are going to continue to push for it and we have now demoed some of our own applications in our labs, showed them to the vendors to show them what we expect from them," he said.

What they expect from customers, Linder added, is an expanded demand for content across multiple platforms.

"A lot of customers have smartphones or tablets [and] after we have expanded our TV offerings to the triple screen experience it is now time to work on expanding the offering to be able to use a second screen simultaneously to watching TV on the TV set," he said.

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