Friday, 27 February 2009

Weekly news roundup 27.02.09


On Demand

Content providers



Friday, 20 February 2009

50Mbps broadband: yay or nay?

I’ve been following the series of Speed Diary posts from Darren Waters on BBC in which he questions the real benefit of having 50Mbps broadband connection in an average household, where you get an adequate performance at a connection speed as low as 3mbps.

Broadband providers are increasingly using the term “high speed” as a strap line to sell broadband packages without really highlighting the benefits for end users, therefore Darren’s attempt to challenge it is a valid one.

So, in order to find out how the experience of using 50Mbps broadband compared with less speedier ASDL connection, Darren performed some of the most bandwidth intensive activities such as video streaming (iPlayer), and online gaming (Xbox), and simultaneous downloads. During the test, he made the following observations, which are interesting:
  1. Having faster broadband doesn’t necessarily improve the speed of your web browsing experience
  2. Accessing the web over wi-fi on a portable device like an iPhone or PSP with a 50Mbps connection seems no different to using an ADSL 6Mbps connection
  3. Speed Tests are useful but no replacement for the actual experience in using a connection

Although I suspect the first two points might have their rightful place in the current market, I believe the quality of high-speed broadband will eventually catch up as the demand for multi-platform, streamlined HD content increases. However, I do agree with the last point that broadband speed alone shouldn’t define the quality of experience of using mega speedy broadband.

Take a few minutes to read Darren’s diary posts as it makes a very interesting read:

Speed Diary: Day One
Speed Diary: Day Two
Speed Diary: Day Three
Speed Diary: Day Four

Monday, 16 February 2009

The Future of interactive TV revealed

There was a great story in the Metro last week picking up on some predictions from interactive technology research house Future Laboratory based around the future of interactive TV and networked homes. Although the mainstream media has been riding on the TV on Contact Lenses headlines, I particularly enjoyed the following predictions:
  1. Intelligent home entertainment management system based on humanoid avatars will be huge. What’s more these interactive avatars will eliminate the need for content search through a remote control as it will enable viewers to control TV through voice recognition or dialogue.
  2. The choice for channels will continue to grow but user generated content (UGC) will equally dominate viewers preference for home entertainment
  3. With TV screens networked to the internet, viewers will be able to tailor their home entertainment the way they customise social networking sites like Myspace
  4. Watching a telly will no longer be passive as people will be share preferences and connect with others through their networked TVs
  5. Multi-sensory technology planted on our bodies will enable highly immersive TV watching experience
Although some of these may seem a little too futuristic for some we’ve already seem some of these themes demonstrated at shows & exhibitions in the last 12 months. UGC, Avatars and Social Networking sites on the TV are more than just ideas.

You can read the full story here

Friday, 13 February 2009

Weekly IPTV news roundup

So much is going on in our industry at the moment, I'm having a hard time keeping up.

As is customary for Q1 there’s a wealth of forecast statistics and deployment numbers being circulated in the news. Here’s a brief round-up of stories that I’ve seen in the past few weeks:

IPTV in France
  • 1/3 of all French broadband subscribers now take an IPTV service, according to France's telecoms regulator Arcep.
  • France now has 5.4 million IPTV subscribers and is growing at 39% year on year.
  • France Telecom's Orange TV is the market leader with 1.5m subs or around 27% of the market, with Neuf TV in second place.
Global IPTV
IPTV carriers
  • Estonia's Elion announced that they ended 2008 with 82,500 IPTV and cable subscribers, up from 57,700 the previous year. Elion now estimates it has a 26% share of the cable market but remains in 3rd place after Starman and STV.
Set-top box

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Interview with Tattletech

Last week, I was kindly asked to take part in the Tattletech Hot Seat where we discussed some relevant trends in the IPTV industry including TV widgets, mobile apps and IPTV browser technology. You can read the full interview here.

While you take a few minutes to read the interview, please do check out some of their other stories covering news and opinions from the telecommunications industry and mobile sector.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

On-demand TV competition heats up

There’s been a significant improvement in the quality of on-demand TV services offered by the UK broadcasters and cable and satellite networks. This is partly due to the increased adoption of high-speed broadband and the government’s plans to boost the digital industry.

As the competition heats up for on-demand TV providers to offer the most compelling, on-demand content package at a competitive price, viewers are being given more options to watch on-demand TV through platforms of their choice. To help viewers gain better perspective on what’s out there, I put together slides comparing some of the most popular on-demand TV services in the UK with a little help from my team at ANT.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Breaking news online

There’s an interesting flow chart, originally posted by Michael Surtees on DesignNotes that I thought I’d share.

The chart below illustrates how people used different online tools and platforms to break the Hudson River plane crash news. While looking at it, I was amazed to see how news can be instantly broken to potentially hundreds and thousands of online surfers and viewers, with the use of simple microblogging and live-streaming tools like Twitter.

With mobile and live streaming tools playing an increasingly important role in breaking eye witness stories, it seems to be just a question of time before these are incorporated into a microblogging TV widget running on an IPTV platform.