Global IPTV revenue predicted to top $17 billion by 2010

IPTV, or the distribution of a television service over broadband access lines, will take a turn towards full commercial deployment in 2005, says a new study from TDG Research.

The 2004 launch of services such as Maligne TV and CanalSat DSL in France, FastWeb in Italy, and the 2005 TV-over-DSL launch by BellSouth, SBC and Verizon in the United States have propelled this new technology onto the front page of industry attention.

“The Business of IPTV: Global Analysis & Forecasts” suggests that the majority of global IPTV growth will be fueled by hybrid deployments that combine digital satellite or terrestrial TV services with IP-based TelcoTV offerings.

The study also found that worldwide IPTV subscribers would pass the 20 million mark around 2010, a volume dominated by hybrid architecture deployments as opposed to stand-alone TelcoTV VoDSL solutions. IPTV-generated revenue will experience a compound annual growth rate of approximately 102 percent between year-end 2004 and year-end 2010.

The cross-over point between MPEG-2 video transmission bandwidths and sustained broadband access bandwidths in volume deployments has now been reached, the study said, making it possible to deliver a quality digital video service to consumers over a broadband connection. Moreover, more efficient video codec chipsets are now starting to be available in ASIC technology thus making it possible for consumer premise equipment to reach low-cost, volume-deployment level prices.

The power of IP as a digital video transport technology will rapidly expand beyond TelcoTV operators to affect multiple network topologies, the research found.

Satellite operators will augment their broadcast offerings with IPTV-based “on-demand” services in order to compete with cable TV players. The technology will provide a means of extending their current broadcast offering to include on-demand movies and programming, thus allowing them to compete with cable’s new video-on-demand services.

IPTV and its more efficient codec technologies are also expected to facilitate the continued growth of HDTV channels, while being poised to enable an extension of their core DBS service beyond the satellite set-top box — for example, to mobile consumer devices connecting to the main satellite receiver.

For cable operators, IPTV technologies will play a determining role in the advent of cheaper set-top boxes, network equipment, and multiplexing devices. In the United States, the New Generation Network Architecture (or NGNA) effort led by CableLabs will be the foundation for the extension of IP-based core networks, able to indifferently deliver video, data and voice over the same network equipment, as close as possible to the consumer home, thus reducing the last-mile plant investment.

The report said early IPTV differentiators would include an a la carte pricing model, a move that will put pressure on the traditional business practices of incumbent pay TV operators.

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