Monday, June 29, 2009

Survey Shows Preference for FTTH

The U.S. FTTH Council has published a survey of U.S. broadband users that shows that there is a strong preference for FTTH over cable modem broadband services. DSL had the least favorable rating for broadband services. FTTH had an even stronger preference for HD TV over FTTH compared to satellite and cable services.

The survey is well worth reading. The results are no surprised but do underscore the technical superiority of FTTH technologies.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

ATT Enhances U-verse IPTV Service

ATT has introduced new features to its U-verse IPTV service to make it more competitive with cable and satellite companies:
  • The ability to set or delete recording as well as watch recorded programs from any of up to eight TVs in the home.
  • An increase of speed from 10 to 12 Mbps for those subscribed to this level of service.
  • A video on demand recommendation service based on the viewers ratings of past selections.
  • An improved interface for web connected PCs for controlling the recording function on the set-top box.
  • Improved navigation in using U-verse from the TV.

ATT is strongly promoting its remote DVR capability in its TV ads. It has found a unique feature that seems to be gaining traction.

Monday, June 15, 2009

U.S. Analog Sunset

I got through the conversion to all digital over the air TV in the U.S. over the weekend. As of Saturday morning all analog TV had ceased. Actually, there was one station that I could pick up here that still broadcast an analog signal - a text screen saying that you need a digital converter or a digital TV to receive service. All of the rest of the analog signals here went blank.

I live in San Francisco and stopped my cable service more than five years ago. I did not have a cable connection in the room where we moved the TV and did not want Comcast to hack up our 80 year old house any more than it had already.

We were well prepared for the digital conversion. We now have the HD/digital sets with good Terk indoor antennas that were already receiving over the air digital signals. We have gotten rid of our analog sets over the last year. We are now only left with a couple of radios with analog TV audio receivers that no longer work.

Everything went as scheduled. We seemed to lose one channel Friday evening. I guess it made its changes earlier than midnight. Many stations were reassigning their digital signals to new frequencies as part of the conversion.

Saturday morning we rescanned two of the TVs. We had some trouble getting all of the channels we had before. We had to reorient the antennas to a position and were able to find all of the channels we had before. We scanned the third set that afternoon. One set is not able to find the NBC outlet, but this was nothing new. This set has a more compact and less powerful Terk antenna, which has not been able to pick up this channel. The more sensitive set picked up a channel that we have not been able to receive before.

The only frustration with all of this is that the channel scanning is an all or nothing operation. Every time we scan channels, it clears all channels and adds those that it finds. This means that the antenna has to be positioned carefully to get them all. I would like to see an "add channel" function that keeps the channels that have already been found and adds any new ones that it finds. This would let me point the antenna in another direction and pick up the channels that it can find in that direction. I think I would be able to pick up more channels this way.

The U.S. analog sunset is a much easier transition than will be experienced in other countries. Only 10 to 15 percent of U.S. homes use over the air broadcasting as their only source for TV programming. The rest have cable or satellite subscription. A prominent survey said last week that only 2 million households were not prepared for the change. This is less than 2 percent of the total households in the U.S. Countries with a higher dependence on analog TV broadcasting will have a more difficult transition.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cisco Traffic Forecast

I have posted an article on Cisco's latest IP traffic forecast on my Telco 2020 blog. Cisco's forecast highlights the growing importance of video traffic on IP networks.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Cisco IPTV Video Delivery Test

Light Reading published an 18 screen article describing a test performed by EANTC of the ability of a Cisco infrastructure to deliver high quality IPTV service. The conclusion was that the Cisco network performed very well.

This is a very interesting effort. It does a good job of characterizing the performance of this network delivering broadcast/multicast service with a modest amount of video on demand. This are realistic assumptions for most of today's IPTV networks.

However, I am aware of IPTV networks that support network DVR services that are experiencing 80 percent penetration of video on demand services during peak periods. This puts the network into an entirely new dimension. It would have been much more interesting if such a heavy video on demand load was tested as well. This is where IPTV networks are going.