Friday, January 30, 2009

UNE EPM of Columbia has 30K IPTV Subscribers

TV LATAM published an article that stated that UNE EPM in Medelin, Columbia has 30,000 IPTV subscribers. UNE plans to extend its service to Bogota and grow to 150,000 IPTV subscribers before the end of 2009.

TV LATAM said that this is the largest IPTV deployment in South America. There is significant potential in this continent for IPTV if the regulatory issues that exist in many companies are favorably resolved.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Charter Introduces 60 Mbps Cable Modem Service

Charter has introduce a 60 Mbps downstream DOCSIS3.0 cable modem service in St. Louis, Missouri. This service will be priced at $129 per month for its video customers.

This is a premium offering that goes well beyond what ATT can offer with U-verse. Not too many people can afford such a pricey package, so it is not a direct attack on U-verse. Charter will have to bring the price of the service down before it will make a real dent in ATT's success.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

ATT Adds 264K IPTV Subscribers in 4Q08

ATT added 264,000 U-verse IPTV subscribers in 4Q08 ending the year with 1.045 million subscribers. The company achieved its goal of 1 million IPTV subscribers by the end of 2008. Its U-verse service now reaches 17 million homes.

ATT completed its rollout of its whole home DVR and two stream HD support by the end of 2008.

ATT made good progress and has established U-verse as a significant competitor in the U.S. pay TV market. It has stated that it will continue its investment in this service while it cuts CapeEx in other areas.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Verizon Adds 303K IPTV Subscribers in 4Q08

Verizon added 303,000 IPTV subscribers in 4Q08 leaving it with a total 1.918 million at the end of the year. This compared to the 282,000 FiOS Internet subscribers it added in the quarter, ending the year with 2.481 FiOS Internet subscribers. Its FiOS ARPU was more than $133 per month in the quarter.

Verizon had a good year, adding nearly 1 million IPTV subscribers in 2008. This shows the strength of its FTTH strategy.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Deutsche Telekom Announces IPTV Winner

The PIN Project, entered by IPTV developer team Trenfield and Regner, was declared the winner of the Deutsche Telekom Interactive TV Award.

With the PIN Instant Information System, useful additional details to go with the program on the TV screen, such as links to further information or the recipe of the menu that is being prepared in a cookery show, can be downloaded and shown in an inconspicuous little pop-up window on the edge of the screen. Using the remote control, viewers can then, by simply pressing a button, send the information as an URL or a text message to their PC or mobile phone and access it later whenever they want. The Instant Information System delivers information directly and spontaneously. No film is interrupted and no viewer is pulled out of the entertainment. Viewers decide for themselves whether they want this extra information and can activate the PIN system as and when required.

As the winner of the Deutsche Telekom Interactive TV Award the Trenfield/Regner team can now look forward to a further €200,000 in award winner’s prize money.

This has been an interesting exercise. It will be interesting to see if any of the leading applications in this contest catch fire in the IPTV market.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Deutsche Telekom Plans for 1M IPTV Subscribers by the end of 2009

Reuters published an article that Deutsche Telekom plans to have 1 million IPTV subscribers at the end of 2009. The company reportedly had 500,000 IPTV subscribers at the end of 2008.

I will be interested to see the official numbers for 2008. Apparently it achieved its goal for 2008, which was a real stretch.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Telekom Austria has 63.7K IPTV Subscribers

Telekom Austria ended 2008 with 63,700, which is up from 10,930 at the end of 2007.

Telekom Austria had a good year for IPTV in 2008.

FCC Questions Comcast VoIP

I have made a post on my Telecom 2020 blog that discusses a letter sent from the FCC to Comcast questioning its VoIP strategy. The FCC is questioning why Comcast's cable telephony service should be treated as an Internet VoIP service and be exempt from normal voice service fees. The FCC is concerned because Comcast's cable telephony service is not subject to Comcast's video traffic management system used on its cable modem service.

It will be interesting to see what happens with over the top Internet TV services, which will be subject to similar restrictions. If you read the FCC letter, you will see that watching a TV program at full resolution is likely to cause Comcast's traffic management to make the program unviewable after 15 minutes.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Microsoft Cable DOCSIS Deployment in China

The Guangzhou Digital Media Group will use Microsoft's Mediaroom IPTV software to provide IPTV service over its cable system using DOCSIS cable modems. At the launch of the service, Guangzhou will provide HD content for broadcast, recorded, and on demand viewing along with NPVR services. It will also offer a range of interactive services:
  • Access to local news with information from government web sites displayed on TV.
  • Local sports and entertainment news lets viewers watch video clips, view pictures, vote on favorite shows and check text messages via the TV.
  • Local government e-mail service enables subscribers to view e-mails sent out by local government.
  • Information service allows subscribers to check their local social security information.
  • TV commerce permits customers to pay their phone bill or traffic tickets through the TV.
Guangzhou Digital Media Group, formerly Guangzhou Radio and Television Network Limited, is the largest cable TV operator in Guangzhou City. Guangzhou Digital Media has about 2.5 million cable TV subscribers, with about 1 million broadcasting digital TV subscribers.

This deployment shows another tool that the cable companies have to combat Telco IPTV services. The cable companies can offer IPTV services using cable modem technology. This approach makes a lot of sense with DOCSIS 3.0, which can offer 100 Mbps services.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Microsoft Mediaroom Advances

Microsoft has announced that it has added NPVR features and new applications to Mediaroom. It also stated that there are now 2.5 million IPTV subscribers served by Mediaroom.

Microsoft's NPVR feature called Mediaroom Anytime include:
  • Restart Anytime offers the ability to rewind or restart the currently airing program from any point.
  • Live Anytime allows viewers to scroll backward in the Interactive Program Guide to watch previously aired programs. These previously aired programs also can be made accessible through the service provider’s video on demand library.
  • Download Anytime enables viewers to download on-demand movies and programs to their set-top boxes so they can watch them anytime regardless of bandwidth constraints. For example, viewers could watch high-definition programs on low-bandwidth networks.
It also announced the following applications:
  • BBC Worldwide is demonstration application that allows fans to access and interact with content found on
  • Turner Sports and the PGA of America, together with ES3™, built an application that allows viewers to switch dynamically between camera feeds, watch golfing instructional videos and click from static to video advertisements.
  • The Associated Press red carpet events, built by ES3 and the AP, is a celebrity news application which features up-to-the-minute information, photos and video clips at the carpet events.
  • Live Capture of Photos and Video lets viewers upload photos and videos to the Microsoft Live Mesh cloud storage Web site and view their personal content via the TV.
  • Visual Voicemail lets TV users check their voice mail and play back messages, even at pitch-controlled, fast-forward speeds.
  • TV Dashboard, designed and created by ES3, shows local news and information that Mediaroom subscribers can access while watching TV.

These are all good features that move Mediaroom beyond the stage where it was duplicating cable TV services. They will provide good differentiation for service providers using Mediaroom.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Is Pay TV Pricing Itself into a Corner

It has recently occurred to me that the Pay TV operators may have made their services too expensive. I have to confess that I have not used Pay TV services for the last 5 years. I have an older house without a functional coax plant and cancelled my Comcast service because I did not have a cable connection where I wanted to put my TV.

The last couple of years I have been watching digital terrestrial over the air stations. I am quite close to the transmission tower, so I get excellent reception with a good Terk indoor antenna. I just bought a new Vizio 42" HDTV and am very happy with it. It is better at pulling in a full range of stations than my older Sharp 32" set. The Vizio even has a functional electronic program guide that lets me see all of the programs in the next several hours on a channel by channel basis. It also has great HD reception and presentation. I can really see the difference with the 1080i broadcasts on the Vizio compared to the 720p broadcasts on my 32" set.

My only disappointment has with the over the air digital was when my local PBS station moved PBS Life and PBS Kids from San Francisco to San Jose, which is too far for me to receive. We had become hooked on both and would love to get them back. I am not a big sports fan, so I do not miss ESPN.

It would cost me between $60 and $90 per month for a good range of digital basic and premium programming. From what I can see, I don't think that what I would get from such a subscription is just not worth the price. I would subscribe to ATT's U-verse, because of my interest in IPTV, but ATT has given up on trying to offer it in San Francisco. The city would not accept the VDSL cabinets on its sidewalks. Frankly, I think the city is right. The boxes are just too big and wood impede pedestrian traffic. I see a lot of two wide baby strollers around that just would not be able to get by one of these boxes.

What intrigues me is bringing over the top Internet content to my TV. I can do that through Netflix, Amazon, and a number of other sites. The new Cisco home media devices that have just been introduced, among others, look like a great way to go. I am pulling in my belt this year to get through the tough economic times, so I will not do anything this year, but prices should go down and functionality should go up next year. We will see then.

Please make your comments. I would like to see if I am alone or not.

Cisco Connected Entertainment Products

I have made a post on my Telco 2020 blog about Cisco's announcement of a range of connected consumer entertainment products. It looks like these products will give Internet delivered content a big boost.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Motorola Launches IPTV Store Front

Motorola introduce an IPTV store front system for Microsoft's Mediaroom. Its Storefront 1.0 software enable to offer IPTV and Internet services along with physical goods. The system could support the sale of a video on film, the DVD of the same film, and ring tones associated with the movie.

This is the kind of capability that IPTV providers need to distinguish their services. The more these services become integrated with the Internet, the better.