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Cable is Starting to Explore IPTV

Cable IPTV

Even after years of discussion, there is still a lot of ambiguity around the term IPTV. Some people use it to refer to IP video that runs over the top of an Internet network. Others use the term to refer to IP video that is delivered down a quality-assured, operator-managed broadband pipe. In the last year there’s been a lot of talk about over-the-top online video services, but the legitimate excitement around online video may be masking a bigger issue: how operators are now approaching non-Internet-based IPTV.

AT&T delivers TV over an all-IP network today, and Verizon uses a hybrid IP/QAM network. Although most of their services to date have been comparable to those offered by cable operators, we’re starting to see some differentiation in the form of widgets and cross-platform services. Cable is not ignoring this. In addition to tru2way, the cable industry is looking at where and how to integrate IP video into their traditional QAM delivery system.

There are many, many implications and issues to explore around the delivery of IP video for cable, but here are two early points of interest. First, operators recently started taking advantage of cable modems integrated within the set-top. Second, Motorola’s scientists and engineers have identified methods to allow operators to:

  1. Deliver IP video over the CMTS (traditional DOCSIS delivery)
  2. Bypass the CMTS and drive traffic straight through to the edge QAM
  3. Deliver video across both paths simultaneously

It’s an exciting topic, and there’s much more to the story. But the opportunities ahead shouldn’t be underestimated. Cable is paying close attention to IPTV.

5 Responses

  1. See also RCN’s recent announcement that they’ll be deploying actual TiVo units, which include a number of IP-based services.

  2. Yeah, that’s interesting. Are they using IP for the return path?

  3. […] That brings us to commercial skipping. As DVRs have grown more popular, the ad industry has grown increasingly concerned about the effectiveness of its TV buys. As a result, there are more and more experiments taking place to block commercial skipping. This is where I think we’ll see real change with DVRs in the future. Not all commercial skipping will be blocked, but there will be more options in place for content owners/providers who wish to enable blocking. Think about commercials on Hulu. While many fewer than the commercials on broadcast TV, ads on Hulu cannot be skipped. IP delivery makes blocking the commercial skip easier. And the TV industry as a whole is progressing toward IP. […]

  4. […] of it. Until recently, interest in cable IPTV has been muted, but more and more cable operators are exploring IP video options. And that makes this a good time to look closely at the transport gateway. (Check out the video […]

  5. […] VP Pragash Pillai. Among the topics discussed, IP delivery was the headliner. How do you reconcile Tru2way and IP? Why go IP? And how do you do IP in the home? It was a reasonably frank discussion and certainly a […]

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