European IPTV Demand Up 250 Percent

All the signs point to a maturing market for IPTV, particularly in Europe, the latest research from Parks Associates reveals. The study shows that the number of households worldwide using IPTV grew by 9.3 million between 2006 and 2007, with Europe accounting for nearly 60 percent of that figure. IPTV growth in Europe was a phenomenal 250 percent in that one year alone.

However, according to ANT Software, which develops digital TV software and services, service providers need to be prepared for even faster uptake of IPTV in the year ahead. The indicators are that ISPs, many of whose internet infrastructure is not geared up for high volume demand, will struggle to cope.

"There's no doubt that IPTV growth is fuelling a large chunk of the demand placed on network infrastructures. Operators and service providers are investing in new TV services vying for consumer's attention and a slice of the market which is said to be worth nearly US$8 billion worldwide, according to Informa Telecoms & Media. In the UK for example, Project Kangaroo is underway to combine content from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 via one web TV portal, said ANT's Executive VP Sales and Marketing, Richard Baker.

According to Baker, online TV is now making the jump from the spare room, where the computer is usually based, to the family room thanks to the growth of mainstream Web TV shows.

He added: "IPTV must still overcome the perception of over-complicated interfaces that exist with the huge amount of content that is available on the web. What we're seeing in the industry now is service providers experimenting with formats and the look and feel of their services. The BBC's recent partnership with Nintendo Wii for the iPlayer is a good example of simplicity and ease of use."