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Profiling IPTV (Part IV): The Outlook on Indian Markets. A Billion Dollar Opportunity

Posted in New Technologies, Value added services and applications by Manas Ganguly on March 5, 2010

Outlook

Wireless IPTV: Wireless IPTV also called ‘Quadruple Play’ is going to be a revolution in India. Launch of 3G and WiMax technology will bring about a huge change in the Indian market.

User generated content: IPTV is much ahead of DTH when it comes to user generated content. Exclusivity of content and differentiation will be key requirements for IPTV to be successful has gone beyond DTH potential to go beyond DTH when it comes to brining user interactivity believes that wireless IPTV is going to be a revolution in India. Launch of 3G and WiMax technology will bring about a huge change in the Indian market.
Interactivity: IPTV is all about interactivity, services from a cable or satellite operator are ‘pushed’ into your home. The user has limited choice and has to keep on surfing channels for variety. Cable TV is a one-way communication where as IPTV provides for a two-way communication. Users have complete control over the content they wishes to view. Content providers and operators will have to come up with more innovative interactive services to capture the imagination of Indian consumers.

Competitive environment: IPTV is not just restricted to telecom operators, globally leading cable operators have also aggressively marketed IPTV services to reach out to new customers. Cable operators can leverage their existing cable network infrastructure, existing customer base and customer reach to offer comprehensive and high quality services at affordable prices.

Recommendations

Indian operators providing IPTV services have not aggressively pushed and promoted IPTV like the way they have promoted DTH. The marketing efforts have been lacking to a great extent. Though BSNL has tried to some extent, the efforts are more of an evaluation strategy rather than a marketing strategy. A more focused marketing strategy would yield better results for these companies. Long term success will depend on Operators collaborating with content developers, content providers and VAS providers to offer unique customized customer centric content. Exclusive content, such as any sporting event exclusive rights, is another area where global operators have been able to push IPTV.
IPTV operators should leverage flexibility of IP platform to extend services to mobile platforms and develop effective approach for content acquisition. Operators need to build advanced services and offer more options for bundling with other services to improve value proposition. Web based and mobile video delivery by working on IPTV into a cross platform strategy could be a significant leverage available.

The Indian market could be the next billion dollar opportunity for the equipment providers for Global and Indian IPTV equipment providers. The need is to have innovation and technology to produce low cost customized set top boxes that can cater to Indian masses. Equipment makers will have to draw inspiration from mobile devices manufacturers like Nokia and to some extent healthcare device makers like GE who have learned the art of building low cost and quality products targeted at Indian consumers.

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Profiling IPTV (Part III): Technology Challenges and Pricing in India

Posted in New Technologies, Value added services and applications by Manas Ganguly on February 28, 2010

Technology Challenges: SDTV versus HDTV

Not all the available set-top boxes in India are scalable from standard definition to high definition technology. Most of the IPTV or DTH set-top boxes are just meant for SDTV. Customer has the choice to choose HD compatible set-top box and pay much more for it. In addition he needs to have high definition LCD, plasma TV, etc.


Validation from agencies globally that IPTV has a 4X-5X growth in the next 3-4 years.

Also one of the reasons why not many players are aggressively looking to promote IPTV services is because currently in India, TV program producers are not making programs in HD TV format.

The price drop in HDTV in India expected, as DishTV, Reliance BIG TV and Tata Sky satellite TV channel providers are having plan to start HDTV channels.

Experts say the push to HD TV has been prompted by the government’s decision that the 2010 Commonwealth Games will be broadcast only in high-definition. As a result, Doordarshan is also expected to launch HDTV on an experimental basis, has stated it will produce content for the Commonwealth in this format.

Sun Direct (DTH) is the only player either in DTH or IPTV or digital cable areas who is providing ‘Sun Direct HD’ which provides high definition broadcast service on the DTH platform in India. It provides two HD channel in India, both are movie channel and regional languages (Tamil and Telugu).

Technology Challenges: Network and Bandwidth

Challenges like robustness and scalability of IPTV technology. Choice of middleware platforms and video server architectures, changes in bandwidth requirements and availability and interoperability among enabling technology products are the key challenges to effectively delivering high-quality video services. The market is in its infancy and the more established commercial rollouts attracting limited take up. Growth of over-the-top (OTT) video consumption poses a particular challenge to the growth of IPTV, which shares many functional attributes with Internet video-such as time shifting, interactivity and on-demand program scheduling-but which currently still relies primarily on a subscription based revenue model.

Basic deployment challenges are classified as network issues like bandwidth drop offs that have a direct effect on video quality due to copper usage , operational issues like frequently updating routing tables, bandwidth issues and network management concerns and in home issues like wiring, interference, additional CPE requirements ,post installation requirement and multi-room DVR and HDTV requirement.

Pricing in India

Indian market is extremely sensitive to price and to succeed stakeholders will have to carefully price their services to win in a competitive environment. Currently, IPTV packages are aggressively priced. In fact some of the packages are at par with prices of DTH packages. However, cost of set top boxes are extremely high and needs to come down drastically to attract more subscribers. This can be the potential make or break for success of IPTV in the Indian market. The Indian market offers a great opportunity for set top box manufacturers for a long term growth. These manufacturers can look at innovative design models with low cost manufacturing capabilities to support mass demand from the Indian market. Companies would have to draw inspiration from mobile/handset manufacturers like Nokia, LG, Samsung, etc, who churned out low cost customized devices targeted at the Indian market. Globally companies are trying to integrate HDTV with a built-in set top box which acts as a multi compatible device that can support cable, DTH, and IPTV. The next wave of development in highly competitive markets like India and China might bring global innovation for IPTV.

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