Leading telecommunications firm Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) is seriously considering jumping on the triple play bandwagon via IP television, a fast growing service that merges the Internet and television, in order to penetrate the growing video market in the country.
IPTV or Internet protocol television is a system where digital TV service is delivered to subscribing consumers using IP over a broadband connection. This service is often provided in conjunction with video on demand and may also include Internet services such as Web access and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP).
The concept of IPTV is very hot in developed countries, particularly those with the high broadband penetration rate. What’s good about IPTV, apart from the fact that viewers can time-shift–i.e. control the content they watch, and get it when they want to–is the democratization of TV. Much like with blogging and podcasting, even individuals or groups without the snazzy high-tech broadcasting facilities can set up their own TV shows.
IPTV also opens the possibility for transmission of high-definition content. With IPTV, it’s possible to watch shows (at least the compatible ones–those shot with high-def equipment) at even higher quality and definition than your present run-of-the-mill DVD movie.
On the tech front, tech-oriented IPTV shows are gaining popularity in the Americas, their being pioneers in the field. Entities such as revision3, which produces Systm, Diggnation, and the Broken, among others, are on the forefront of independent IPTV content-production, and are banking on the popularity of its “stars”–tech-show hosts of the good old days–among the techie crowd.
Why tech and sci-fi? Given the technological concepts involved, you would expect the techies and sci-fi fans to be the first to try it out.
While IPTV set-top-boxes are yet to be seen in the Philippines, those with broadband access are already able to download shows over the Internet. Popular download methods include bittorrent (distributed / peer-to-peer) and Google Video.
According to the Philippine Star article, PLDT is targeting the AB market with its IPTV plans.
Like 3G, IPTV can lead to full digital deployment of products and services. Through IPTV, [PLDT] will be able to deliver high definition TV for the AB market.
I’d say they’re wrong to compare IPTV with 3G, which is a wireless technology considered my many to have flopped. After all, 3G has very high overhead/capital costs, and very little margin. IPTV, on the other hand, if implemented and marketed well, will indeed be the TV standard of the future.
And I think we still have a long way to go before we arrive at an adequate and affordable bandwidth infrastructure that can support IPTV. Broadband providers in the Americas can set up connections upwards of 5 gigabits per second to residential end-users for only US$ 50 or even less. And unless prospective IPTV providers in the Philippines can match that, they’re in hot water, for how can we possibly enjoy high definition content with relatively slower connections (the residential DSL standard being 384 kbps and less), not to mention broadband woes (PLDT DSL, Smart WiFi–both PLDT services).