There was a subtle difference to the start of this year’s IP&TV World Forum in London…the ampersand. The show’s organizers were keen to point out during yesterday’s opening address that its insertion between IP and TV was significant.
Their reasoning was that IPTV is open to a broad range of service providers and content owners, not just established players (chiefly telcos) and the demarcation between the delivery standard (IP) and the medium (TV) highlights the changing nature of the industry. I’m in agreement with this, but listening to the opening keynotes on the case for cable operators moving to IP, I think it also reinforces the importance of television as a primary entertainment channel and that the Internet still serves into it rather than TV becoming simply another “screen” for IP-related content.
This is a notion the cable operators seem to have latched onto. Sitting in on a ‘Moving to IP Cable’ session, it was clear that the cable crowd understand the need to prioritize the viewing experience to ensure whatever additional IP-powered services are offered, the viewer can still access their TV set quickly and easily. A hybrid IP model, where a standalone high-speed IP line is offered alongside their existing video services, appeared throughout a number of presentations, again vindicating the appearance of the ampersand.
If that’s true then the IP and TV industries have both an opportunity and a challenge. The opportunity is to create more innovative broadcast and video services to generate greater revenues. The challenge? To integrate these services in a way that doesn’t complicate or detract from the core viewing experience.
At Motorola, we’ve long held the view that finding a balance between innovation and ease of use/quality of service is the key to delivering next generation, IP-based broadcast services. It’s good to see that our peers are also in agreement.