Time Warner Starts IPTV Testing

July 20, 2005
In an experiment that could lead to another venue of HD onto computer monitors, Time Warner Cable's San Diego division has wired approximately 9,000 of its subscriber homes with cable's version of IPTV, offering its current broadband customers a 75-channel "Extended Cable" basic-video package on their computers.

The subscriber cluster is located in Mira Mesa and Tierrasanta in California. The test will last up to six months. TW subscriber research points to a significant group of consumers interested in watching TV on broadband-connected devices, according to the company. The best way to learn about new technology, TW purports, is to try it out in the field rather than studying it to death. As far as HD, its applicability would be limited to computer monitors of likely the 17-inch and 19-inch variety, since video information gleaned from1080i and 720p (and maybe even 1080p?) is lost on smaller screens.

TW's test subs use RealNetworks' RealPlayer to access TV line-ups. For now, only basic channels are included. The channels are encoded in RealNetworks' format and sent through a so-called Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification cable plant. There are already some bugs to work out. When a sub switches to a channel via IPTV, there's a delay of several seconds before the content kicks in (although there are no future delays after the first selection).

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