Brian McLane

Media and Social Commentary

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INTERNET PROTOCOL TELEVISION (IPTV) – JUST WHAT IS IT?

July 25th, 2011 · No Comments · Technology

The other day I noticed there is (yet another) new reality show about the guys who clean up crime scenes. If you can make a show about pawn shops and storage lockers why not? But it just goes to show, I think the reality boom is running its course. What’s next we want to know?

More and more people are leaving the television on but turning their attention to web video.

Now Internet Television is NOT to be confused with IPTV (Internet Protocol Television). Think of the former as “catch up TV.” If you missed something or want to see more of something, you can go to the BBC or PBS, ABC or SPIKE, Splash Video websites and feast. In fact there are almost 1000 television shows for your consumption free online. Allow me actually to modify that statement, in exchange for your attention with some well placed advertising (same model as on broadcast though usually only at the beginning of shows).

I remember going to a conference on Internet Television back in 2000….. yes 2000!!!! It was held at Verizon’s corporate headquarters and featured speakers from WorldGate, Microsoft, Fox and more. This is back when those of us who thought we were cool by streaming using the real player at 56K were so advanced we were ready to convert our public access libraries into BUCKS!!!! But, the general consensus was that no matter how much of a content library you had, broadband penetration was far from ubiquitous and we were 5 or 6 years away from meaningful access to all those hungry eyes that were thirsting for homemade zombie movies and kitchen table romance film. That may be true but it’s all about speed and pipe size, and I am sorry to report that still in many countries, broadband penetration is limited. For instance in the European Union only twenty-five percent of consumers had access to Broadband internet in 2010.

One good point, the ability to shoot (not necessarily edit) in high definition (720p+) is becoming more generally accepted since the development of the H.264 codec which most compression suites now have. And they’ll get better.

So that’s Internet Television or Catch Up Television. Now here’s LAST MILE Television or Internet Protocol Television.

First, it’s not just television. That’s like saying a digital strategy for a PR campaign is akin to a social media strategy. Social Media may be a component, but it’s not the be all end all. IPTV encompasses the gamut of multimedia services such as television/video/audio/text/graphics/data which are delivered over IP-based networks and managed (particularly over the last mile to the users screen) so as to provide a QUALITY OF SERVICE including, security, reliability and interactivity.

Let’s look at those last three words.

Gotta be secure right? Gotta be reliable right? Gotta be interactive right?…… Interactive – what do you mean.

Notice how you’re getting ads on from your cable provider to “tune to channel 601” and sign up for a chance to win, or check out the latest homes for sale. Half of the times these come-on’s don’t work, believe me, I try them almost every time. What they’re setting up with IPTV will blow these clunky old interfaces and environments away. Your viewing experience wont just be more interactive but it will be more personalized. I’ve blogged in the past about TV everywhere – see previous post here. (By the way you see what I’m doing with all this intra-linking?

Well the IPTV Content Provider (I count myself as almost being one as I ready splashvideo.tv it’s own station with interactive program guide features) will allow the viewer to control the camera angle or access other media, pause programming to look up products and buy them, then resume. Bottom line…. interactivity. All trackable.

Good feedback is what will enable these channels to succeed. Combining television type content with data networks is the future of your viewing experience. While Nielsen would like you to believe that 99 percent of all video watching is done on the Television, I can report that in my house it’s simply not true, more like 60/40 with the edge going to the big screen.

IPTV is live television streaming with or without interactivity related to the current TV show such as with chat windows or even multi-user video windows (again – think interactive), and can be replayed on-demand. If you’re not paying for DVR services about $10 per box per month with Cablevision, once the show is done, you’ve got to wait until it comes around again or catch lo-res glimpses online. Increasingly subscriber-based IPTV networks (I blogged recently about French Network Medici.tv – see previous post here are finding their footing as the hunger for new content continues to grow at a seemingly insatiable rate.

Click on this TV image to get a glimpse of the Broadband & IPTV Asia 2011 Promo (you know they’re ahead of us in this area).

Internet Protocol Television IPTV - Just What Is It?

Click for video of Internet Protocol Television IPTV - Just What Is It?

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