Wednesday, November 28, 2007

ICTV Providing Interactive TV to PCCW

I went to the ribbon cutting for ICTV's new offices in downtown San Jose. It was quite a ceremony with the mayor of San Jose and two council members attending. The company moved to a downtown high rise rather than a Silicon Valley tilt up in order project an image appropriate for a media entertainment company.

ICTV gave me a demo of the kind of interactive services that its systems can provide. It showed a browser like screen on the TV that included one or more video windows along with surround texts and menus that can be selected using the remote control. It is proposing a business model in the U.S. where the programming would be built by programmers such as CNN and then delivered to cable companies as MPEG-2 streams. These cable companies would then deliver them over their video on demand infrastructure. This approach means that any digital set-top box capable of receiving video on demand services will be able to receive this interactive content.

PCCW accounts for 850 thousand of the one million viewers supported by ICTV's systems and services. PCCW uses ICTV for its TV based shopping service as well as for PCCW's successful film trailer service. A PCCW viewer can watch trailers for movies currently at the theater and then reserve seats and buy tickets for a particular showing. PCCW told me that it is selling more seats using the TV service than are being sold over the Internet.

ICTV looks like it has a good approach that will complement both cable and TelcoTV services. PCCW is showing that it is an effective way to enhance an IPTV service. From what I saw, I think that other IPTV service providers should take a look at it themselves.

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