By Michelle Gamble-Risley, director, HomePNA Marketing and PR
If you think about IPTV as just another form of television entertainment, then you should realize that’s the equivalent of giving bored couch potatoes just another channel in their selection of thousands. At HomePNA we’ve touted the value of IPTV as being the “I” and the “P” part of the equation. We believe it would be a monumental mistake on a par with the thought that “video would not kill the radio star” to believe that integrating the Internet into the television-watching experience will not have a huge impact on subscriber rates.
“IPTV operators and other TV service providers don't want to be known only for delivering TV content to TV appliances,” according to columnist Dan O’Shea over at FierceIPTV . Well, of course not. Why be just another “Jack” in the bazillion of TV boxes out there? Makes no sense and also begs the question, “What’s the point of adding the IP part if not to bring online goodies into the TV’s capability?” A slow merge of TV and online media seems inevitable when you think about it. Don’t you want to be the next cool kid with the thousand of online channels to search, query, watch and enjoy? Of course you do.
So, big telco providers like AT&T U-verse and Verizon FIOS (even though Verizon doesn’t use IP for TV, it does use it for video on demand) with three screens IP strategies already prepared to pounce on the situation will be way ahead of the pack (and so will HomePNA!). So, we can all hum “IPTV killed the DVD star!” Hmmm… or maybe that’s Blue Ray (ouch). We agree with Mr. O’Shea that one key to getting there is transcoding – a multi-syllabic term for changing the way the data from different sources is encoded (MPEG 2, MPEG 4 etc) to allow it to be displayed by the set-top box -- which can be done at the distribution network’s head end, in the residential gateway, or in the set-top box itself. Which is another story.