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Television of the Future

Written by Luke Burgess
Posted November 4, 2005

You may already know of Voice over Internet Protocol, also called VoIP.

VoIP sends and receives vocal communication over the internet. The voice data runs over a packet-switched network instead of the traditional circuit-switched lines, which conventional telephones use today.

The difference is that the packet-switched network breaks voice communication down and reassembles it digitally creating a much clearer sound.

Right now VoIP is the latest craze. Every telecommunication company in the world has their hand in the VoIP cookie jar.

But what I want to tell you about today is something new. Something only a select few techno-nerds and computer-geeks are talking about right now.

It's called IPTV, or Internet Protocol Television.

IPTV is very similar to VoIP except that instead of transmitting a voice signal over the internet, IPTV broadcasts video and sound.

IPTV is basically a system where digital television is delivered to subscribing customers over a broadband connection.

And it will reveloutionize the way we watch TV.

Think of watching your favorite television and every program, movie, and advertisement will have hyperlinks for more information. At the same time being able to send and receive email or text messages to friends and family. Pretty cool, huh?

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I Want My IPTV

IPTV is expected to grow at a brisk pace in the coming years as broadband is now available to more than 100 million households worldwide.

Market professionals say that by the year 2007 there will be more than 200 million digital TV homes subscribers with 25% global market penetration.

Worldwide subscribers to cable video on demand services will increase from about 5 million at the end of 2003, to almost 14 million in 2007.

Broadband penetration in the United States and Europe will grow from 25 million in 2002 to 290 million in 2008.

It is predicted in less that 5 years, 72 million homes worldwide will subscribe to IPTV services.

What does this mean?

Quite simply that IPTV is emerging and will available to you in just a few years if not sooner.

For those businesses implementing IPTV it will provide a means of deploying interactive content and meetings unlike anything previously available on such a large scale.

For those businesses implementing IPTV it will provide a means of deploying interactive content and meetings unlike anything previously available on such a large scale.

For the consumer it will provide an interactive experience unlike anything they have known as the technology evolves and becomes wide-spread.

And for the investor it will offer a new technology to exploit.

The cable companies providing both television broadcasting and broadband services will have new competition as the communication companies normally offering only broadband services will now be able to broadcast television and live video.

The level of user interactivity will also increase as IPTV emerges and evolves, blending with technologies associated with internet access.

Many of the world's major telecommunications providers are exploring IPTV as a new revenue opportunity from their existing markets.

Some cable companies, such as Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), are already tinkering with the concept. When residents subscribe to Comcast's digital cable, they are given access to Comcast's on Demand service. On Demand is a virtual library of movies, shows, news, sports, information among other programs customers can watch anytime.

But both the software and hardware required for broadcasting IPTV is still in its infancy.

Some of the hardware developers worth mentioning are Cisco, Amino Communications, Microsoft, Kreatel Communications, and HUMAX.

Cisco is currently pursuing IPTV solutions via enterprise networks for streaming live closed circuit video in the business, government, and educational sectors with its broadcasting hardware and software solutions.

Cisco IPTV enables businesses and organizations to provide live instruction, communications, and seminars directly to employees, partners and students.

Since the Cisco IPTV solution is based on network-efficient multicast technology, businesses and organizations can take advantage of a quality streaming solution that offers total control over bandwidth and network performance.

Microsoft is busy developing a total solution to bring IPTV to the masses via software and hardware technologies for broadcasting and viewing digital video IPTV over broadband internet connections.

Microsoft has already made several deals with some of the communication giants in the United States, Switzerland, and Canada to bring IPTV services to the consumer through it's Microsoft TV IPTV Edition platform.

IPTV is an emerging technology. Like every other technology it will evolve.

In the near future IPTV will be a completely interactive television experience unlike anything we know of today.

- Luke Burgess

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