If you’ve been following TelcoTV, the news seems to focus on the positive – growing number of installations, revenue potential, and especially the advantages of IPTV. While the industry touts the benefits, attention has also been drawn to installation time. Telcos have a vested interest in this and some analysts have tried to quantify the amount of time it requires. The results seem to be all over the board – from one to two installers and anywhere from a half-hour to six or seven hours. Why are the results so different? It’s because television service is provided in different ways.
The very label TelcoTV implies similarity when, in fact, a number of different approaches exist. For example, AT&T uses its IP network to do the heavy lifting; sending the SD and HD television to the home over a broadband connection. Real IPTV installations like this do the channel switching in the network and only send the selected channels to the home. Others, like Verizon, don’t. Verizon sends all the digital TV channels to the home (like a cable operator) and only uses IP for VoD.
Many of the European Telcos are similar – only they get much of their programming off the air. What difference does it make? When the key to providing television service involves broadband access and/or home networking, the Telco sends an installer to the site. When service does not utilize broadband access and/or home networking, the Telco may opt to let the customer buy the home-networking equipment and install it themselves. If performance requirements are low, a self-install (even with high retail return rates and unpredictable performance) can provide good enough results.
With real IPTV, the technician may need to install a new NID (the box screwed to the side of your house) and passive components, upgrade the broadband access and residential gateway (this alone can take a good deal of time), teach the customer how to use the new equipment and TV remote, and install the high-speed home network and IP set-top boxes. Everything needs to be “provisioned” (tech speak for turned on) from the Telco’s office and tested. WiFi for PC access is often included in the deal and needs to be tested as well. These aren’t unique to IPTV.
Cable and Satellite installers do similar tasks however not everything needs to be done to every house. Since just about every Telco IPTV install is a new one and the installation procedures are new, expect the time spent per house to steadily decrease. Since time is money, Telcos want lower install times and HomePNA members are often asked to help. Find out more about our members by going to HomePNA and clicking on About and Our Members.