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Profiling IPTV (Part II): Key issues in IPTV implementation in India

Posted in New Technologies, Value added services and applications by Manas Ganguly on February 26, 2010

The IPTV Value Chain

India’s first IPTV deployment was in 2006, when MTNL rolled out its IPTV service in Mumbai followed by BSNL. Other major players like Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications were given the go ahead to launch their IPTV services in the Indian market in February 2008 by Trai. Airtel has launched its service in January 2009, while Reliance has launched their services in Mumbai.

However, India still has a long way to go before IPTV can pick up momentum like wireless communication or DTH services. India has a lot of problems that exists as a barrier for growth of IPTV in India.

Some of the key issues in IPTV implementation in India are:

Physical infrastructure: One of the biggest challenges India faces is the required infrastructure for growth of IPTV. India lacks the required high-speed wiring and copper cables and is still dependent on copper or coaxial cables for deployment of IPTV network. Some parts of the world have successfully shifted to optic fiber for deploying high quality IPTV services.

Broadband penetration: One of the biggest and most important factor for success of IPTV in any country is its infrastructure for broadband services and broadband penetration. India’s broadband penetration is one of the lowest in the world and the success of IPTV is directly dependant on broadband penetration. India’s broadband penetration rate is 2% (rate of Internet penetration of the total households). Although, it is expected to pick up pace in the coming years, advanced technologies like VDSL, WiMax or LTE can save the day for IPTV in India.

Network capability: IPTV requires at least 1.5 Mbps line (with MPEG-4) for basic services at a good QoS and 8 Mbps line (with MPEG-4) for HDTV services. Some part of the broadband networks, especially MTNL and BSNL networks are not ready yet. Most of the major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Chennai, etc, are SDTV compatible this is largely due BSNL and MNTL network and these are the cities where BSNL and MTNL first launched its IPTV in India. Quality of service: India lacks the required infrastructure to support IPTV. Current subscribers have criticized the QoS offered by these companies.

Content readiness and cost: Content is critical for success of IPTV and to compete with DTH and cable operators IPTV service providers will have to provide high quality innovative content. With respect to content there are various costs which are involved and it totally depends on what route does the player take. It can be either fixed fee deal with broadcaster or Ala carte price per channel. Operators will have to offer services that are not being already provided by their competitor including live TV, video on demand (VOD) and digital video recorders (DVRs).

Cost of service for user: The cost of IPTV services offered are quite competitive but the cost of IPTV STBS is still very high. Cost of IPTV STBS will have to fall further, as they are more expensive than traditional DTH or Cable set top boxes

Regulatory framework: Some of the potential regulatory issues identified includes advertising: targeted advertising and advertisement less content delivery to allow next generation business models; time shifted TV: legal framework to support content storage, redistribution and super-distribution (for example, access from multiple devices); privacy: protect privacy of user content (with consideration for lawful intercept); piracy: provide a framework for detection and prosecution. Alternate models: watermarking, crawling, etc ; multimedia communications: triple play, voice, video and data regulations; and content classification: larger scale production.

IPTV ecosystem: IPTV infrastructure is not at par or as required for areas like broadband/transport infrastructure and technology, favorable regulations, customer understanding of product proposition, content readiness and cost, unified standards development and pricing and promotions

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2 Responses

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  1. Aliasgar N said, on February 27, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Broadband is the biggest concern in India. A good broadband connection can get in IPTV, Cellular coverage, triple play services…and much more

  2. Manas Ganguly said, on March 6, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Thanks Ali for writing in. Hope you are doing good. Havent read your Ali’s Den posts for a while.

    You are right in your comment.Broadband is the next for India. Without any mistake, when the government says 9% GDP growth, a part of the assumption is better telecommunications and Broadband is the backbone of a good Telecommunications infrastructure.


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