Sunday, October 23, 2005

iHollywoodForum Keynote: Microsoft IPTV - Ready to Roll

"IPTV is ready to roll," said Phil Corman, Director of Microsoft TV, speaking at the iHollywoodForum event preceding Telecom05 in Las Vegas. Corman confirmed that initial carrier IPTV deployments based on the Microsoft platform will begin this winter in North America, followed closely be European deployments. Still, even Microsoft is predicting a gradual, long-term migration to IPTV. "We're not going to get to 10 million in the first year," said Cormand, noting that even with a fast adoption rate, most new consumer technologies have taken five years to reach the 10 million milestone.

Corman delivered two other key messages about IPTV:

First, IPTV will have the technical advantage to truly differentiate itself from cable or satellite TV offerings. Corman believes "IPTV is better TV" due to the advanced video applications it enables. This includes the ability to control multiple picture-in-picture (PIP) sessions, advanced electronic program guides, the ability to deliver hundreds of channels, faster channel changing than cable or satellite, integrated and network-enabled PVR capabilities, VOD, and built-in home networking. Microsoft's IPTV will also be able to access streaming content on the Web, as well as other media stored on home networks.

Second, IPTV will provide a sustainable business model for service providers and content owners. For service providers, there will be an ecosystem of technology partners, driving down the cost compared to the closed network architectures of the cable providers. For content providers, Corman acknowledged that there is a learning curve as they "gain confidence in the security model." Over time, he expects IPTV will become deeply integrated into other network services, enabling content to be played on a range of connected devices.

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