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Deutsche Telekom fingers Microsoft for IPTV

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Deutsche Telekom (DT) is hooking up with Microsoft as part of plans to roll out broadband TV (IPTV) in Germany later this year. The service is to be carried via a new VDSL (Very High Speed Digital Subscriber Line) network capable of bandwidth up 50 meg and has already been tested by boffins at the giant telco.

The IPTV service is due to go live in ten major German cities - including Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and Munich - from the summer letting viewers access regular TV programmes, video on demand, interactive programming and personal video recording. Punters can also expect a range of special interest channels and pay-TV programmes.

DT is to use Microsoft TV IPTV Edition software platform to offer these services. Microsoft - which is also behind the software for BT's "Vision" IPTV service in the UK - also said it planned joint marketing with DT to help plug IPTV in Germany.

"Today's announcement represents Microsoft's largest IPTV agreement in Europe to date and is a very significant milestone in our long-standing relationship with Deutsche Telekom," said Microsoft chief exec Steve Ballmer, who reckons the tie-up will "help create a revolution in TV entertainment for consumers across Germany".

Despite all the smiles following today's announcement, a recent report by analysts at Frost & Sullivan warned that IPTV might not be able to live up to its hype - in the near future at least. Although experts reckon IPTV is "likely to establish itself as a valid alternative to cable and satellite TV over time" they warn that despite the high expectations, "IPTV may not be an immediate success throughout Europe".

It seems that there are question marks over the appetite for IPTV services among consumers, the content available, and competition from existing TV services such as satellite and cable which could stifle take-up early on. ®

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