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A Look at IPTV 155

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the more-consumer-control-never-a-bad-thing dept.
Q-Tip writes "Ars Technica has posted an introduction to IPTV, which is the TV programming technology AT&T (and formerly BellSouth) will be using to provide TV service over its next-gen optical network. The article covers how IPTV works and how AT&T and other providers will be able to provide more interactive services once their networks are up and running."
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A Look at IPTV

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  • by 91degrees (207121) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @06:44AM (#14914688) Journal
    I don't want an interactive service. I want to passively sit on my butt and watch TV!
    • Donot wory, it would include a remote control for you lasy ass.
    • by LordSnooty (853791) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:28AM (#14914803)
      Mod him up. Interactive services are the great white (red?) elephants of modern TV. Content providers only push them as a revenue stream. They rarely offer anything insightful - in the UK, I can only think of the BBC's sport coverage, offering eg actions from many courts at Wimbledon. In the commercial sector, just ask Andy Duncan of Channel 4 whether interactive services are worthwhile [informitv.com]. In the US, do we see much interactive penetration? Has Fox convinced idiots to part with money to vote via the TV on American Idol? For this is surely the only useful application, in their eyes.
      • I bet any cable-tv/tv voting system is more 100% full proof than any diabold justice dept approved
        voting system to vote in a 'illegal' presidente' that is part of a secret cult and CIA family.

      • by tapo (855172)
        What about the examples provided, such as a notification when you get a new email, or caller ID information shown on your TV?

        While I may not be one to care for interactive TV, I must say that event notification is a pretty nifty feature. When I'm watching a DVD on my Xbox 360, and a friend comes online, a small bubble appears to notify me of the fact. It's unobtrusive and useful, though it isn't the best idea when I'm in the middle of a movie.

        However, if this was television, and I was channel surfing, the i
      • In the US, do we see much interactive penetration?

        A single operator serves over half of the ITV enabled set tops in the US. Echostar (Dish Network) is the only operator in the position to have significant interactive penetration as the market stands today.

        Echostar held their ITV summit Friday. CNN just launched their Enhanced TV service on Echostar. The representative from CNN was very clear that launching on Echostar was the obvious choice because they had the set tops deployed to make it worthwhile.

        The

      • by hhawk (26580)
        The reality is that interactive TV is here today.

        Video on Demand is really the crown jewel of that. The parts that haven't yet made it including being able to
        vote on American Idol WITHOUT getting off your ass.

        The rest, as we always say waits for a "killer app." Who know what that will be, a few suggestions:

        1) being able to turn OFF the text Scroll at the bottom of
        news stations like CNN or control what does scroll.

        2) On a sports broadcast controlling what stats are displayed, picking camera angles, etc.

        3) Be

        • picking camera angles

          Videotron in Montreal used to have this (1990) for hockey games with Videoway [cordis.lu].
        • Check out www.futuretvshow.com

          Check out who the sponsors are :)

          Making TV interactive a "a bit" harder than making web sites do the same thing because so much of TV watching happens in synchrony; with millions of viewers watching at the same time. Even when web sites experience heavy loads, you can expect that everyone one isn't doing at the same time. Of course with interactive TV user initialed features will happen more sporadically and more distributed. But watch one when 100 million homes need to have th
    • There is only one arena where quasi-interactive items are good: sports.

      As an example I offer up the multi-screen view that many satellite providers are offering- a screen for 3 games, with live scores/tickers for the other games around the league in an easy to read format. This made for an incredible Sunday experience at my buddy Chris' this past football season. We used the big screen to watch the best game at the time (last 10 minutes of a close game, etc.) and pulled the 32" screen out of the bedroom to

    • Unfortunately, its probably worse than they're making it sound....because by interactive services, they most likely mean "interactive advertising", so you can click a link or something and get more information. I'd be SHOCKED if this turned out to be a good thing.

    • Too bad- the "interaction" is you getting up and taking out your wallet.
    • I don't want an interactive service or TV over IP. Between free over the air HDTV, DVD, and Japanese and British (more Dr. Who is a month away!) shows that I download over bittorrent (which wouldn't appear here for months or years if ever), I've got plenty. I don't have cable or satellite TV now, and I won't want it from the phone company either.

      What I do want is a higher upstream bandwidth. Right now I have 512K up, but even 2-3 megs would be really nice. They're building a Project Lightspeed box righ

    • Well, I rather enjoy interactive services. The VideoOnDemand provided by my cable television company allows me to interactively browse a list of movies, and when watching the movie I can fast forward, rewind, pause, etc.

      This OnDemand model is hugely more valuable than scheduled programming. I don't even have to Tivo an episode of sopranos, I just goto the HBO-OnDemand list and choose whichever episode I want to see.

      It is though, a bit slow, as every key I press must be sent to the provider, and a vi
  • Yes, but when? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by matr0x_x (919985) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @06:49AM (#14914706) Homepage
    Saying it will work on the "next-gen optical network" doesn't provide a time line for someone as uneducated as myself. Could someone please put a rough time line on this?
    • When It's Done (tm)
    • Right now !

      Of course, I'm in Europe (Paris)...
      SDTV in MPEG2TS is available.

      I'm guessing most western european capitals and korea, japan have it too...
    • Re:Yes, but when? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @08:08AM (#14914936) Journal
      The timeline would be roughtly never. You need to understand the history of the US telcos corruption. The most glaring example of this in relation to broadband was they 1996 Telecommunications Reform Act where the telecos lobbied for and recieved more than $200 Billion (yes billion) in tax breaks and other benefits in exchange for thier promise to build out "next gen" internet access with at least 45 Mbps.

      Or course once they got the money they decided DSL would be much cheaper to build out and they could still charge customers a lot for it (even though its only a fraction of the speed promised). So this little "bait and switch" is why the US is still sitting at our measily DSL speeds while Japan, Korea, and much of Europe are now in the 45-100 Mbps ranges.

      My guess is all this talk is because its been a decade and they see a president who LOVES giving away hundreds of billions of dollars away to huge corporations via tax cuts so it might be a good time to hit up the tax payers for another few hundred billion on more empty promises.

      I find it just amazing the congress never even tried to hold the telecos to thier promises. I guess they had some pretty good lobbiests or congress just really is that inept (or both).
      • What I don't get is why the US aren't ahead of the pack when it comes to high bandwidth connections to the citizen. Isn't the idea that the free market should provide the best service at the lowest prices to people have resulted in the the self proclaimed free market leader of the world to be leaders in this area?

        Something here doesn't click ...
        • Yeah, something doesn't click - your "idea". You mistake "best service" for "most profitable" service. It doesn't make sense for the telcos (I just mistyped that "telcons". Subconscious??) to spend more than they already are on infrastructure (witness Verizon with FiOS this year).
          • So, you're saying that a free market isn't necessarily always the best option for the citizen of a country? Hmm. quite a shocker. Perhaps someone should notify the politicians asking them to.. I dunno .. revise some regulations?

            Having publicly funded infrastructure for the citizen doesn't seem all that bad all of a sudden.
            • You mistake what I'm saying. "Best" is exactly what I mean. But the definition of "best" is utterly relative. What's "best" for you might be 100% broadband penetration, damn the tax cost! To me, "best" is certainly not that.

              Unfortunately for socialists, the free market is usually the most successful method for maximizing "best" interests among all parties involved. Of course, there's no moral quotient to the expression, so occasionally the free market appears cruel and heartless.
        • The problem w/ your argument is it's not really a free market. There were compromises made and incentives given to companies so they would build huge infrastructure, and undertake risks that they would not normally take. Those companies used their position to behave in a monopolistic way, and were broken up by congress. The resulting smaller companies continued to use their advantaged positions to behave in ways that were not friendly to their customers because they had no real competition. They became
        • Yes, if we had a free market. But the telco's buy whatever laws or tax breaks they need for our congressmen.

          It seems there are a few people in congress that are actually making tiny changes to this problem, with new regulations and harsher penalties for those that accept bribes. But I don't know how much change is possible, as the Constition clearly specifies that these people have the right to Lobby to congress, and no number of laws can stop AT&T from "donating" a few million to congressman x's l
      • Whilst Korea may be high up in broadband adoption, most people there have regular ADSL links, often running at just 2Mbps. There may be some faster links available, but none of my wife's family over there has them, or seem to know anything about them.

        Of course since I'm not Korean, don't speak the language, and none of them are really geeks or have much interest in high speed data comms, or indeed speak good English, I haven't been able to spend a lot of time chatting with them about this.

        As for much of Eu
      • And now AT&T is working to get legislation through various state governments that would make it easier for them to enter the TV market. Under the banner of 'fairness' they want the state to remove the franchising rules currently in place for cable operators so that they can just jump in and compete.
      • I find it just amazing the congress never even tried to hold the telecos to thier promises. I guess they had some pretty good lobbiests or congress just really is that inept (or both).

        Well, the congress critters got paid, right? They don't get paid for holding promises (I can't believe I just wrote that!)

        Anywhoo, can someone fill me in here?

        Why does "streaming" suck?

        By that I mean that I can get HDTV shows on my TV via cable that are 1080i (1920x1080) resolution with quality audio (don't know the details h
  • by Xserv (909355) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @06:51AM (#14914712)
    This doesn't seem like a good idea. The bandwidth is STILL an issue and it's crippling HDTV signals still. Isn't this kind of a waste of time? Xserv
    • The thing about IPTV is that, unlike cable/satellite where you have to broadcast all of the channels all of the time, you only need broadcast those channels that are needed. This means that at worst each home only needs enough bandwidth for four channels (assuming PVRs and multiple STBs). With an appropriately designed network you can get away with far less bandwidth. Yes HD is not possible with current ADSL speeds (although SD IPTV is more than possible) but they are talking about 20Mb for next gen. AD
      • by Xserv (909355) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:48AM (#14914855)
        I see what you're saying here but look at it from a central office perspective. They have bottleneck issues now, what's adding a few TB of video from 500 customers per region going to do to the CO? I have a pretty solid feeling it's going to stifle the abilities of all services. You only have as much bandwidth as the central office's pipe to the rest of the network.

        FTFA:
        ". . .MPEG-2 streams will require almost twice the space (3.5 Mbps for SDTV, 18-20 Mbps for HDTV). . ."
        That leaves you 0-2MB for anything else per subscriber based on the 20MB next gen ADSL estimates. So an HD customer is going to get degraded quality which defeats the purpose of HD signals or you'll get only one stream which eliminates the ability to use PVR. Am I wrong here and just not seeing something?

        Xserv
        • Actually, you are just a bit wrong. HD content (and the move to such) generally speaking does not require you to carry high quality video. The intent was to move to a different spectrum. So, just because you are getting an HD signal, does not automagically ensure that you will get HD quality, as it has become to be known. ie... HD is all of the following 480p, 720i, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, and 1920i (i think) ... each quality obviously being better than the previous.. however all are HD.

          So it could be argue
        • MPEG-2 for HD is so last year. I would not expect *any* sensible IPTV provider to try and provide MPEG2 HD. All the European cable and satellite HD boxes are using H264 for the HD streams. This means you're looking at about 6Mb per HD channel not 18-20Mb.
    • No, it's a great idea. I'm looking forward to getting all this extra ADSL bandwith from my telco, so that I can use it for downloading torrents of TV shows instead of having to pay for cable TV.
      • I know someone who worked for Kingston Communications [kcom.com] when they rolled out their TV on demand service in Hull back in the mid-90s. The STBs had a 4Mb IP feed to them, but only 256k - 2Mb could be accessed by the customer depending on how much they paid. Kcom staff had access to the whole 4Mb. I would guess that that is the model that most providers will take. Time to dust off the CV...
    • You can test your current bandwidth with the free website: http://testyouripvideo.com/ [testyouripvideo.com]

      The site is somewhat geared to testing your connection for video confercing, but it is still pretty useful.

      -ben
  • by quakeroatz (242632) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @06:54AM (#14914720) Journal
    next-gen optical nework.
    Nice! I was waiting for them to find something faster than slow old......light
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:00AM (#14914737)
    No, Television is dying on its ass. Its got nothing to do with technology and everything to do with content.
    Not wanting to throw the usual Slashdot cynicism about here, but 'TV is DEAD!!'
    Even the dullest couch potatoes I know are turning off their TVs and finding more interesting things to do with life.
    I must have heard it 20 times a week, "Wow there's nothing but shite on TV isn't there?". Maybe its the war and the depressing Orwellian propaganda? Maybe its the new depths advertising has sunk to blatently insulting the viewers self esteem? Maybe its that cheap reality TV has exhausted everyones patience?

    What do kids talk about? Funny video clips they got off Flickr or YouTube, and more and more I hear adults talk about what they heard on the radio. Maybe radio is going to have a revival?

    Personally I havent watched TV in over 4 months, not even casually, by accident. I haven't owned a TV in more than 6 years.
    • I haven't owned a TV in four years, but when I catch something on someone else's box there's usualy something good on the BBC.

      ...

      Oh, you meant american TV.

      • when I catch something on someone else's box there's usualy something good on the BBC.

        Yeah right. Someone else's TV. The detector van will be there shortly!

        • Lol that's a good one.

          I refuse to pay the overpriced monopoly tithe. I do not watch television and anybody that tells me that tithing the government prevents advertizing is lying (there are advertisments on UK).

          Anyway, I have changed my TV with www.ess.tv they have everything I like to see, they have no advertising and it is cheap ($5 us a month). I've got 45 channels full of great programs (great for me anyway) like

          simpsons, family guy, southpark, futurama, that 70 show, xfiles, smallvile, arrested develop
    • by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:24AM (#14914791) Homepage Journal
      Hate to break it to ya but this line is nearly as old as TV itself.

      There is never anything on TV to watch but many will still watch something anyway. Face it, people like to complain but do nothing about it. They will still turn the same old shite on and just be content to bitch about it.

      With hundreds of channels there is bound to be something on that is appealing enough to prevent most from turning the set off. With video on demand services and TIVO devices there are even more opportunities for TV to be part of people's lives.

      The only way TV is going away is when we manage to convince people to call it something else. It will still have nothing for us to watch or do that we "want" to watch or do but we still will.

      go figure
    • Not all of us want to live under rocks. There are many good productions on TV; the issues revolve around their delivery.

      I see TV becoming more akin to books, that is any place, any time delivery systems of information. What really does that mean:

      • You can watch a production whenever you wish--after it's been published/broadcasted, as it were.
      • You can watch a production where ever you wish--if it's ok with the person next to you in the plane, as it were.
      • You can watch a production on what device you want-
      • This has allready been underway for sometime. I do not think outside of a sporting event that I have watched a show on its regular time in a year. DVR/tivo/whathaveyou lets anybody control it. If you have the right set up you can put it on your computer and then take to another device. TV shows, much better from DVR. This is the same thing that has been happening with all the other mediums out there. the TV is letting people control thier viewing EASILY instead of being dictated to when they will wat
    • There are still plenty of great shows out there, but you'll find most of them on cable these days. Network TV has always been bland world aimed at the lowest common denominator, and that has now become a SERIOUS liability for them (along with the problem of increasingly politicized oversight from the FCC).

      While cable networks like Comedy Central, Scifi, HBO, Showtime, et. al. are producing increasingly popular cutting-edge fair, the networks are producing increasingly embarrassing reality TV shows and bland

    • Interactive pr0n.
    • I broke my ciggerate, coffee, and Tv addictions. I replace it all with /.. Now, if I can just break my slashdot addiction.
  • It will be interesting to see if this takes off from the google advertising angle. With tivo type profiling and now an ip address it would be a natural for them to very much want to be involved in providing the advertising to user of iptv. What is interesting is that in the their adwords system there is now user targeting by demographic, which, as far as I can tell, is based on the demographic of a site, but if the demographics of the actual tv viewer could somehow be ascertained it would pretty much turn t
  • Wait times (Score:5, Funny)

    by od05 (915556) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:09AM (#14914752)
    Instead of channels instantly changing it's going to be *buffering* for a couple of seconds every channel I flip. No thanks.

    • Instead of channels instantly changing it's going to be *buffering* for a couple of seconds every channel I flip. No thanks.


      No.

      A good IPTV implementation (eg the one we're doing at work) has channel flipping times that are sub-second, comparable to current digital TV. You don't request a connection, wait, wait, buffer, etc. Your (IGMP) request goes only as far as the DSLAM at the end of your DSL line (for TV over DSL) and from there the dslam sends the multicast stream to you directly. Multicast video does
    • Re:Wait times (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sootman (158191)
      You change channels? Huh. Interesting. The only delay I experience while watching TV is waiting for my TiVo's 'now playing' list to populate.
    • People don't seem to get the point of IPTV. There wont be a reason to channel surf anymore. People surf because they are bored and are looking for something to watch.

      If I'm bored now I'll surf the web to read or play a game, not to watch random TV channels. The whole point of IPTV is that the content you are interested will be already downloaded and sitting there waiting for you.

      I don't want to watch a broadcast, I want a library. The whole concept of streaming is inane anyway. I don't want to


    • Digital TV actually does take 2-3 seconds to do this (well, at least Illico does).
  • Being an administrator of Cisco's existing IPTV solutions, I probably trust AT&T to do a better job.
    Hell, MICROSOFT could do a better job than this.
  • Yup (Score:4, Informative)

    by matthew.thompson (44814) <<matt> <at> <actuality.co.uk>> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:16AM (#14914766) Journal
    I've been using TVoIP for a year an a half now.

    I get Video on Demand, Radio, Broadcast TV and Internet over the ADSL with 2Mbps Internet while watching TV and 5Mbp while it's off (8Mbps is possible on the best lines right now)

    All this and free off-peak and weekend calls and lower line rental from http://www.homechoice.co.uk/ [homechoice.co.uk]

    But it's not that popular yet - the monopolistic Murdoch satellite provider we're stuck with wont flog the channels people want to Homechoice so the channels we can get are fairly limited. The only reason I have it is because I'd have to pay £220 for the first year and £80 a year after that for the priviledge of renting a satellite feed as I'm in a condo and cable haven't gone down our road yet.

    IPTV is frightening Sky so they're buying into it big time right now.
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:16AM (#14914768)
    When the local office receives this request, it checks to make sure that the user is authorized to view the new channel, then directs the routers in the local office to add that particular user to the channel's distribution list. In this way, only signals that are currently being watched are actually being sent from the local office to the DSLAM and on to the user.

    Sounds like if you change the 'channel' you will have to wait for it to load a few packets to get it started first, I don't see how it could be instantaneous or even quicker than a few seconds. But if most things were 'on-demand' it may not matter that much.

    More competition will hopefully mean that our cable bills will go down. Wait and see...
  • All these systems will cause the death of Free-To-Air TV. Even though FTA is mostly crap, it is still free.

  • While the article provides a well-written guide to IPTV and how it works, I think most consumers would not find this an "introduction." Most average consumers have a hard time understanding that IPTV is not Internet TV...let alone MPEG-2, H.264, multicasting, DSLAM, etc.
  • by Colin-W-Holywell (544850) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:34AM (#14914817) Homepage
    This is old news to Canadians. I have had IPTV for a few years now and I like it. It is more than just TV it's got video on demand, internet, email and games. Other nice thing are interactive weather forecasts and local news. And there is no "buffering". The only thing that is annoying is that the menus load kind of like a website. All the text appears and the graphics follow a few seconds later. My provider Sasktel [sasktel.com] came and installed a free wireless router and wired every room with CAT5 jacks for free. What more could you ask for?
    • And there is no "buffering"

      Sort of. Suscribing to a channel takes time and then, as the channel is MPEG2/TS here (France), you need to wait the next I-Frame.

      Overall I need to wait 2,5 to 3 seconds, if loading channel data isn't involved.

      The only thing that is annoying is that the menus load kind of like a website.

      And it's because menus are HTTP stream. I know that because I'm working on that right now, with ADSL TV decoders from two providers.
    • Benefit offset entirely by the fact that you have to live in Saskatchewan.
  • by notpaul (181662) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:37AM (#14914829) Homepage
    Without taking the time to elaborate on all of the parameters (this is a complex situation and it's too early in the AM here ...) all folks really need to know is that "broadband TV" is coming, and it is a *VERY* good thing.

    The confluence of technology development, trends in the entertainment industry (all kinds of trends: economic, demographic, etc.), government & regulatory evolution, and other forces are (admittedly) slowly but surely creating a vacuum that can only be filled by a "fourth provider" of television service. (In addition to OTA (over-the-air), DBS (direct-broadcast satellite), and cable.)

    The cable television industry shares a good portion of the blame (or credit) for this situation, which will ultimately dig the grave for much of their own profits. Their stranglehold on most "in-home" entertainment - including the WWW - coupled with their buccaneer behavior trying to eat the telco's lunch (with IP phone service) have brought competitors out of the woodwork. And some of these competitors (like SBC/AT&T) come to play. Add to the mix the upward-spiraling cost of cable TV, and you have what business-people like to call "low-hanging fruit."

    Before y'all get started ... OF COURSE there are bugs in the current crop of offerings ... none of it is going to seriously damage the cablecos bottom-line ... YET. But you don't have to be Warren Buffett to see indicators are appearing like the hand writing on the wall. The stage of the game where small innovators test the market (Akimbo, etc.) has already past. The big boys with lots of cash are now wading into the pool. The train has left the station. Need a few more metaphors?

    And of course, this is all "A Good Thing" (TM) because it will mean a good ol' fashioned PRICE WAR. How long since we've seen *that* happen in TV? Ever? When AT&T (or some other player with deep pockets) steps up to offer a viable TV service for $19.95 a month (a permanent, not a "promotional" price) ... or bundled services (voice/data/TV) for $49.95 a month ... you will hear the cableco executives screaming halfway around the globe. Yippee!

    One more prediction: Watch for a la carte TV to become a reality in the next 2-3 years. The reason being that as all of this competition heats up, networks (think Turner or Discovery) will start to wake-up to the fact that there is a niche of viewers out there who would like to pay them directly for delivery of a reasonable-quality stream over the broadband connection they already have ... and that they can deliver that product without giving the cable company (or the telco) a sniff of the fee. The status quo of the recent (and distant) past created a detente where no one was willing to cross this line. We are about to enter a "wild and wooly" phase wherein all bets are off.

    Okay ... enough rambling ... I'm off to refill my coffee cup.

    • "Watch for a la carte TV to become a reality in the next 2-3 years. The reason being that as all of this competition heats up, networks (think Turner or Discovery) will start to wake-up to the fact that there is a niche of viewers out there who would like to pay them directly for delivery of a reasonable-quality stream over the broadband connection they already have .."

      I most certainly hope so. Currently, sat and cable packages are a waste of money and channel space.
      Many of us would like to customise conten
      • Sorry if I sound a little be too "piratious", but "A LA CARTE TV" is already present on the internet, some call it emule, others BitTorrent. Quite honestly, as long as I do not have an acceptable service with really reasonable prices I'll continue to use any of those "oh, because of you the industry is dead" services. I have no conscience problem at all in doing what I do, or at least I have as much as TV producers have when they treat viewrs like dumb fat ass couch potates that need to be told what to watc
        • I've emuled more than enough video/music to find that they've been put into a share folder and they've been DRMed. Impossible to view. These are mainly WMF- which I would really like to filter out of searches.
          This is only going to get worse.
          I wouldn't mind paying a fee for content I want. I do that now. But I'm not happy with the conditions I forsee that all of us will have to put up with in the future.
          • I've heard a lot of people complaining about the "quality" of downloads via e-mule, I have 2 basic things for you:
            • You're downloading something that is FREE, it is really lame to complain about something you get for free.
            • It doesn't take much time to get used to Emule, know how it works, and know which files are "fake" or not before downloading them.

            The point I try to make here is that we're becoming professional complainers that prefer to pay and have the right to complain to have something done instead

    • "One more prediction: Watch for a la carte TV to become a reality in the next 2-3 years. The reason being that as all of this competition heats up, networks (think Turner or Discovery) will start to wake-up to the fact that there is a niche of viewers out there who would like to pay them directly for delivery of a reasonable-quality stream over the broadband connection they already have ... and that they can deliver that product without giving the cable company (or the telco) a sniff of the fee."

      Unfortunat


      • Videotron has this now (of course, a certain minimum of the chosen channels have to be Canadian):

        You can customize your package by picking and choosing from a wide range of specialty channels, including channels dedicated entirely to movies, sports, international programs and music. And if you change your mind, you can change your channel lineup as you please

        http://www.videotron.com/services/en/television/5 _ 2_1_1.jsp [videotron.com]

        Is there nowhere in the US that has this yet?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:53AM (#14914876)
    With IPTV, it will be possible for the cable companies to log exactly what channels I watch when. What about privacy?
  • From the article: This will allow a user to own a single DVR that can be controlled from any set in any room.

    You mean like mythtv [slashdot.org]?
  • Does anyone here note that my telco (formerly SBC, formerly Ameritech, now AT&T) has a monetary interest in Dish Network (formerly Echostar)? I bought DSL + landline + Dish satellite TV in one call to them back a year and a half ago, and am being charged on the same bill. Some points here: * Is there room for IPTV when satellite is ubiquitous, cheap, offers many channels and supports multi-room setups? * If IPTV is the wave of the future, does AT&T have a problem now that they own some of Dish, an
  • Well, dont shot commercials. During the time when everyone else is seeing them, buffer the next segment of the show. This should, in theory, allow one to stream HD content through a smaller bandwidth. It won't benifit the end user because there will still be dead air during broadcasted commercial breaks.

    When do I get IPTV over my cable broad band which has (...estimates...) 10-fold the band width?

    I figure I need about 150 Mbps into my home in order for me to satisfy my entire homes phone, tv and inte
  • I must admit, I'm always amazed by the slashdot articles talking about new and revolutionary internet technology that everybody else in the western world has been using for years...

    Here in France, we've had IPTV over DSL lines for quite some time now. Free (ISP) started upgrading its network to ADSL2+ with 20Mbps access nearly 2 years ago. And in Paris and Pau, you can subscribe to FTTH with 100Mbps symetrical.

    Interactive TV is nothing new to us, as we can tap directly into the tiple play modem and a)
    • Well. . . look at it in this perspective. . . .

      I believe the United States is about oh. . . ten times the size of France if I'm not mistaking.

      Think about how much infrastructure has to be changed / modified. I hear this quite often about how Germany or Korea is on the bleeding edge of technology when it comes to broadband. What most don't realize is how much equipment has to be changed out in a system connecting an area of 500,000 sq miles vs one that connects 5,000,000 sq miles ?

      When your underlying infr
      • Well, according to the CIA website (and a quick division), the population density of France is 110 people/km, compared to USA which is 30 people/km. Sure, that gives France a good advantage, but compared to Japan which has a population density of 337 people/km, France has a great disadvantage. Even the UK, which has a population density of 246 people/km, is only just starting to catch up with France (though they still have some way to go...). Actually, for England alone, and not the entire UK, the populatio
    • Of course when your total land area is just slightly less that twice the size of Colorado (CIA World Fact Book) then it is far easier to wire high-speed capabilities.

      France (total area): 547,030 sq km
      Korea, South (total area): 98,480 sq km
      United States (total area): 9,631,418 sq km

      That puts the US (CIA World Fact Book again) at just under the size of China and about 2.5x size the the *entire* EU.

      In the area of deploying area-based consumer technologies small is a big advantage.
      • As I said in my reply to the post just before yours, size is not as big a problem as that, it all depends on how the country is set up.
        Nobody expects a single ISP to give 20Mbps and IPTV to every single nook and cranny of the US. I somehow don't think the cows need IPTV...
        The US has a lot of big cities, like New York which is the 5th biggest city in the world with 16,626,000 inhabitants and alone would represent over 1/4 of the french population. Why isn't New York and other major US cities offering highl
  • if they bring Seinfeld back. Then it can be a show about nothing where you do nothing too!
  • by VickiM (920888)
    So AT&T wants to have a tiered internet service so they can compete with television, not just VoIP?
    I would be rather depressed to hear that I'm not getting the bandwidth I thought signed up for because they would rather I was watching Real Bachelor-Survivor Idol: Zimbabwe.
  • I subscribe to an IPTV service in the UK called Homechoice. They've been running for about a decade now.

    The presentation is much like any other cable TV system, but with a few added extras. I get the standard bunch of UK digital TV channels, plus a bunch of extra video on demand channels. There are variable packages - if I were paying for a more expensive package (I'm on the cheapest) I'd be getting their "C1" channel, and could pick to watch any episode from about 2 dozen different series seasons, such
  • When my telephone company (MTS, here in Canada) decided to offer television, we knew it'd be our way to get out of the cable TV monopoly run by Shaw (also canadian). We didn't like satellites because the quality was determined on the weather, and with our winters, it was not a good idea sometimes.

    So we (my family and I) got it and we loved it. It was cheaper prices, great quality and easy to use interface. Also the fact that it ran on linux, has weather info and all the shiney bullcrap that makes things "in
  • There's been IPTV in Europe for some time now. Spain started to have IPTV more than a year ago and I'm prety sure that Spain wasn't the first one to have IPTV in Europe. The bad thing is that ISP over here are too lazy to put HDTV in IPTV for now :-/ I hope that changes soon.
  • One big hurdle with IPTV is channel changes (surfing).

    With the newer video codecs, the GOP sizes are large (in the 1-2 second range).

    So you might have to wait 2 seconds for a channel's initial IFrame to come in.

    This scenario is completely unacceptable to the normal analog TV viewer.
    • Other than the elderly, that don't know any better, who would actually channel surfs anymore? For me to buy into IPTV would be to have access to a library not a broadcast, I don't much care for sports or news, so I don't need live. I want full access to all episodes of a tv show or all released movies and then download them when I want them and watch them at my leisure. How hard is that for the telecos/cable company to understand?

      If I'm bored I'll go find something else to do, or I'll hop online and lo

  • Cable companies are doing IPTV as well, you just don't notice because it's on their transport end. The company I work for began rolling this out about 1.5 years ago, the non-local programming is carried across our fiber ring until it gets to the headend that needs to deliver it across the cable where it is modulated into a QAM and received by the set-top-box. True it's not IPTV the entire way but it is forseeable that at some point it may be.
  • How many products called "IPTV" are there, anyway? Cisco has a VoD system called IPTV that uses/used MPEG1. The server comes/came in the same case as a PIX 520 or a LocalDirector.
  • by digitac (24581)
    So after RTFA'ing I'm convinced that these stem to stern networks that are heavy on multicast are bound the be the first places to deploy IPv6 networks. In fact, that may be the whole break that IPv6 needs. The Telcos will want to run an IPv6 network end to end so that your set-top box and VOIP router are addressable. I'd imagine they might even decide to encapsulate your IPv4 internet connection in their IPv6 network to take advantage of all of the additional QOS and other features it has to offer. IPv6, m
  • I want to use my computer instead. Settopboxes come with moronic limitations (one channel per box, no way to record stuff).
    Is there any chance that that will become possible, or will the signal be buried ten feet deep in DRM and smartcards?

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