DBS/DTH faces VOD challenge

03 Oct 2006

The telecoms and broadcast sectors are still a-buzz about IPTV - unless you ask Ricky Wong, chair and co-founder of Hong Kong's City Telecom, who lamented last week about ever having entered the IPTV business in the first place. <‾xml:namespace prefix = o ns = 'urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office' />

"I launched IPTV because I had no choice," Wong said at the IPTV World Forum Asia conference in Shanghai. "PCCW launched it and HGC launched their service, so I have to pretend to be a serious long-term player to my consumers. If not for that, I wouldn't have bothered with IPTV."

Wong went on to explain that he believe IPTV should not be a "cable substitution service", but something that cable couldn't offer - for example, a mechanism to integrate user-generated content. "IPTV should be a center to connect all the apparatus around you, whether it's an iPod, an Xbox console or a 3G phone," he said.

Actually, that's been a recent mantra at recent IPTV get-togethers - it's about value, not video. Interactivity, VOD, VAS - these are the things that will make IPTV a success.

Which may or may not be bad news for DBS/DTH operators.

Consumer-geared satellite services have traditionally had a problem with interactivity, which requires a return path from the customer premises, or a two-way dish that was more expensive than the standard downlink-only model. A more recent option - currently being flaunted in the UK by BSkyB - is a hybrid set-top box approach in which IP video and DBS are supported on the same STB.


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