back to article Why the world has lost interest in IPTV services

While doing the research for the very first issue of Faultline, one IPTV specialist (who shall remain nameless) told us "you can't send video across the web", and proceeded to lecture us on the finer points of Quality of Service protocols. In a way he was right, but what he was saying lacked vision. The very next day at …


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Sure initially Silverlight will play nice with lots of platforms...

Just like Windows NT ran on Dec Alpha, MIPS, PowerPC and Intel computers, but as soon as Microsoft had achieved dominance in the workstation arena they cut out the other platforms and went back to their own system. Just like when then started late in the browser wars, they made sure they played nice long enough to get the majority of the market then they started enforcing their IE based standards on the web (the old "embrace and extend"). The same will happen with Silverlight.


Slightly flawed premise

Although many of the points in the article are valid, an omission of a key point can lead to a misunderstanding. The reason for Telcos to focus on IPTV, rather than delivery over the Internet of the same content is simple; The content is NOT available for licensing for non-closed networks.

So the Telcos aren't entirely at fault, some of them do know which way the wind is blowing and are trying to resolve the licensing issues for hybrid IPTV - Internet based VOD - MobileTV services.

Anonymous Coward

Oh for the love of god!

Firstly, just because Nokia (who have been famously slow to introduce TV on their mobiles by the way) do one advert, doesn't mean that the world and their dog wants TV mobiles. Isn't this just the WAP fiasco repeating itself, where the industry talked itself into believing that what the public wanted was to endlessly surf the web via WAP on their mobile phones?

Secondly, the video output run through multiple pass encoders is only good enough if the price is right. If you want to price something like that at anything above £12.99 or even *price it at all* then most households, baulking at the poor quality and wanting to watch their television on...well...their television (especially their HDTV which they paid MEGABUCKS for), will tell you to clear off.

Thirdly, it is quite naive to suggest that the problems could be quite easily solved if we just sorted out the network problems! Yes, new infrastructure does have to be put in, but guess what? We've got the most stubborn and monopolistic telecoms company in Europe running the network in the UK. BT is quite simply the very last entity you want running things even when you want to turn your low quality you tube video streaming pipe-dreams into a reality.

The problem is far more in depth my friend that it just cannot simply be solved by creating a flash based peer to peer low quality TV client.


What a great opportunity... tax people over £100 per year for owning a computer, regardless of whether they watch the BBC or not.


P2P not holy grail

I agree to the overview of the story, that WebTV is going to compete with IPTV and traditional cable/satellite. In the Netherlands we call this 'Open Play' as opposite to triple play.

But I disagree on P2P being the solution to bring QoS.

The current issue with Internet capacity is that most web streams are distributed from a central site, or a web-CDN like Akamai or VitalStream. The costs are huge, there is no chain-to-chain QoS guarantee, and the ISP networks are filled up quickly so you can't really scale. From a content owner this is not a ideal situation.

P2P TV aimes to solve this. But in order to offer some kind of reliability, P2P has to generate multiple upstreams for each viewer which are in total over 140% of the actual needed bandwidth for a single viewer if you would stream it from a regular streaming server. Yes, P2P generates MORE traffic per viewer than regular streaming! This means that each ISP has to significantly upgrade their network, which, well, costs millions. On a macro level, costs increase. Costs move from content owners to ISP's. As a result, we see ISP's throttle bandwidth: P2P traffic is filtered and capped, so the actual result is even a lower QoS.

Higher costs for the ISP, lower QoS for the content owner and the viewer... P2P TV is currently the least efficient solution!

Overhere in the Netherlands, we have a lot of experience with On-Network CDN rollout. Instead of using expensive external web CDN's, and instead of upgrading ISP backbones, we use our CDN technology and roll it out in each ISP network. Each ISP CDN is a node in a nationwide CDN. No transit, no traffic costs. Very high QoS. Much cheaper than Akamai, Limelight or Vitalstream, and much more reliable than P2P TV. Extremely scalable! Total cost of ownership per ISP is less than 0,25 euro per subscriber over a period of 3 years. And since we can co-operate with the ISP's we can guarantee HD quality streams in Flash Video, WMV or H.264. Unless the viewer has a crappy WiFi connection of course.

Stef (


Oh dear

Don't these people know that a lot of people can't hope to have IPTV due to poor quality ADSL? I cannot have ADSL Max due to being at the end of the local loop. Can you get HDTV content on a static 2Meg line.......I don't think so.

And I don't live in the Highlands either, I live near Kingston upon Thames. Hardly the back of beyond. So I guess IPTV is only for people who live next door to the exchange.

And just think of all those people using P2P programs. Many ISP's already actively block P2P, so that counts them out too. Wonder what the RIAA will say, with all those illegal downloaders hiding in the swarms of legitimate ones?

And the cherry on the icing on the cake? Don't forget that wonderful term "Unlimited (downloading)" which when used by an ISP actually means restricted to whatever the ISP thinks fit, so expect a very large unexpected bill!



Hmm it has been viable for years

After a popular show has finished someone always encodes it and uploads it to a nttp server, from which (with a small monthly fee) you can download binaries at the speed of your modem.

I have not seen the need for a Digital subscription for years and I get to watch my fav shows as they are released in the USA not having to wait for them to appear in the UK.

Anonymous Coward

VCR anyone?

Well speaking personally I'd want something that can playback on multiple devices more than once possibly several months or years later.

Basically what everyone has been doing with VCRs for twenty years or more.

DVD recorders and PVRs can do the same.

Anyone suggesting that you should be allowed to do this with IPTV (e.g. burn the content to a DVD for playback on any player) is treated as a potential criminal.

Content providers can't get over their love affair with DRM. They want to uninvent the VCR and offer services which are a massive step backwards in terms of convenience.

Can't possibly think why this should be unpopular...


IPTV is a dead-end

I have to write here, I simply believe the concept of

IPTV is just a technical dead-end ...

At best a marketing wank for the couple of hundreds

blokes in London that have loads of bandwidth and

feel frustrating at nothing to occupy it with ...

Why on the nine hells, with all technical limitations

(end of local loop limiting bandwidth (I have 512 Kb myself),

ISPs bottlenecks, ISPs struggling to keep their network up

and running despite P2P) plus users wanting sensible

things (no latency for voIP, web., mail, games etc ...)

would anyone want to clobber his DSL bandwidth with

MB/s of TV/video when all channels are better available by

an one to all media like satellite ???

Even if I had 20MB/s, I woudln't do it, sparing the bandwidth

for better web access/downloading photos of nephew and


I say, get a sat dish, with a motor and enjoy hundreds of

channels !

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