Monday, October 24, 2005

TELECOM '05: SBC Says IPTV Will Be Cool

IPTV will become a "must have" consumer service reflecting our busy, digital lifestyles, said Lea Ann Champion, senior executive vice president of IP Operations and Services at SBC Communications, speaking at TELECOM '05 in Las Vegas. SBC's IPTV field trials in San Antonio went "really well," said Champion, and SBC now plans a limited market introduction this winter, followed by a gradual rollout in 2006. By mid-year, she expects the first feature upgrade for the service, which will be promoted under the "U-verse" brand. SBC initially will be serving four video streams to each subscribing household, including one for HDTV. She also said SBC would feature a robust VOD library from the get-go.

Champion said SBC's trial users simply "loved" the IPTV service. She contends the main market driver will be "a better TV experience," based on features like multiple picture viewing on single screen. For instance, sports fans might want to view and control several TV angles of a game, or consumers might want to have an electronic program guide or personal message center panel running alongside the TV show they are watching. She also predicts that IPTV will make for a better DVR experience by allowing users to program their home machine over the web, and by sharing resources with other TVs in the house.

Champion also confirmed that SBC is working to integrate its IPTV with Cingular Wireless. The goal is "not just a race to capture the digital house, but the digital lifestyle."


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