23 September 2005

What is IPTV?

Email alert from In-Stat:

IPTV in China will experience only moderate adoption before it takes off in 2008, reports In-Stat. With the emergence of salient applications and a maturing technology, the market is expected to get a boost from the 2008 Olympics hosted by Beijing, the high-tech market research firm says. This is expected to result in 4.5 million subscribers and US$231.3 million in set top box (STB) revenue in 2008.

Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) is television whose content is delivered using internet protocols, regardless of the actual transmission medium. At this point in history, a very large share of internet users get online access via a coaxial cable, just like cable TV. Often I watch segments of the Daily Show online; it's via a TV cable that I use exclusively for transmitting digital signals, not the analog signals used on conventional TV broadcasting (or transmission of cable TV). The difference between the two is that IPTV employs a different format.

Television delivered through the internet is not necessarily IPTV, however. Internet television relies entirely on internet protocols (i.e., a conventional modem) to transmit programs. IPTV requires a set top box to handle the higher throughput of realtime transmission.

Technically, what the box does is run the signal through a set of microprocessors to obtain a more refined interpretation of the signal. One way of using a coaxial cable , or Ethernet, to transmit the far larger volumes of data required in real-time TV broadcasting is to have a computer subject the signal to far greater "scrutiny" (my word), allowing the service provider to embed more data into it.

The main provider of IPTV in Asia is presently now TV, based in Hong Kong.

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