Germany’s dominant telco Deutsche Telekom has at last launched its TV-everywhere service called Entertain2Go for tablets, PCs and smartphones, after originally planning to bring it out late 2012. The launch has been delayed by negotiations over rights, and even now, the full range of content can only be accessed by devices within the home over a domestic Wi-Fi network. The package includes linear TV and VOD content, with channels from the main public broadcasters ARD, ZDF and 3sat, as well as private channels from networks such as ProSieben, Sat.1, RTL and VOX. The iPad version of the service is available now, with iPhone and Android support due later in the year.
For Deutsche Telekom, TV Everywhere extends its existing IPTV package called Entertain, which has grown rapidly, increasing its base by 26.6 percent during 2012 to pass the 2-million-customer mark by the year end. The operator has been evaluating the idea of dispensing with a set-top box for IPTV by taking its DVR storage and UI (User Interface) functionality into its cloud network to reduce costs and simplify deployment of new features. This would dovetail neatly with its TV-everywhere strategy, because customers could then access all their services, including programs they have recorded, equally from all devices wherever they are, assuming current resistance from some key rights holders can be overcome. Another challenge lies in rendering the UI sufficiently fast from the cloud to avoid delays affecting quality of experience for users, while also ensuring that the network would not be overwhelmed by extensive unicast streaming from programs customers have recorded in their allocated cloud storage.
Deutsche Telekom also supplies IPTV services in five other European countries — Greece, Romania, Hungary, Croatia and Slovakia. Subscriber numbers have been increasing in all of these, except Greece, where because of the economic slump there they fell by 10 percent over 2012.