IPTV/VoD: Get up to speed

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  • Screens and menus in IPTV system are generally created in HTML, CSS and Javascript, just like normal web pages. The software on an IP set-top is usually an advanced web browser.
  • Almost anything that can be done on a website on the internet with HTML and application servers can be done on an IP set-top box. Services are private intranet "websites" hosted on a normal web server but specifically formatted for a TV screen.
  • Using internet technology means any part of an IPTV system can talk to any other system that speaks internet, like Voice over IP (VoIP), POP3/IMAP email, instant messaging, text messaging, picture messaging and more.
  • The revenues from video on-demand alone cannot support an IPTV service. Research shows viewers in the UK watch less than eight VoD movies a year and they are not perceived to hold as much value as a rented DVD.
  • The most popular VoD services on UK IPTV networks are free TV "Catch Up", music video playlisting and cult TV programmes from the 1980s. Usage and behaviour (eg. peak time viewing) is the same as any other platform.
  • VoD services compete primarily with internet piracy, PVR recording and normal live TV broadcast.
  • Almost all IPTV and VoD services are targeted at "early adopter" young males, totally ignoring women or people older than 50. TV is a social and sharing experience that does not take well to being made into a PC activity.
  • Like all forms of TV, IPTV is about content and entertainment, not technology. Viewers follow content and it must be "pushed" to them as with all types of media. There is no use having the world's best technology if there is nothing on TV. Viewers do not care where content comes from or how it is delivered.
  • On-Demand is not a revolution. It is the way we do everything anyway, and have done for centuries. We buy food when we feel like it, on-demand. Its appeal is due to it being a very natural and familiar way of doing things.
  • Ninety per cent of content in the world is non-PPV (pay-per-view) that viewers will not pay to watch. It must be supported by advertising. The UK is not a pay-TV market.
  • The "Long Tail" is a concept coined in a Wired magazine article describing the shape of a sales reporting graph for online stores like Amazon, iTunes and Rhapsody where sales of niche or back-catalogue items make more money and general sales volume than premium products.
  • Cameron's Law states that the amount of content made available on a digital platform must be directly proportional to the ease of navigation, and subsequent consumption, of it.
  • The "Long Tail Problem" or "Digitisation Problem" refers to how expensive ingest, digitisation and management of digital content is, and that because it is difficult to sell directly, there is no business case to do it in the first place.
  • The "Ivory Tower Complex" is a term that has come to describe the resistance shown by larger movie studios and TV production companies to distribute their content nonexclusively.
  • The "One per cent Rule" is a concept derived from usage behaviour analysis of user-generated content (UGC) and social networking websites where one per cent of the audience will actively create and submit content, nine per cent will moderate it editorially, and the rest are happy simply to passively consume it.
  • 3D video games that usually run on games consoles can be played disc-less across an IPTV network, with the pictures sent as MPEG video as a normal TV picture would be.
  • The "Million Channel EPG" is an industry term to describe how the TV channels a consumer can watch are effectively unlimited and not restricted by satellite geography or street cabling.
  • Convergence messes up the intellectual property system that content producers use because it relies on platforms being different from one another and rights allocated by country.
  • IPTV has not been officially consistently defined in a legal sense for rights clearance in the content industry, and does not fit into either the accepted "TV" or "New Media" category.
  • The sheer mass of unlimited digital content being made available means that wholesaling, intermediation, filtering and aggregation are emerging as viable and essential business models for digital media content.
  • Large volumes of content means that communities and "organic" community features such as filtering, recommendation, popularity, categorisation and niche/vertical "channels" are natural and essential for helping viewers buy and consume it.
  • The uncertain legal status of IPTV has led to the publication of the deeply unpopular TV Without Frontiers Directive and its extension, the Audiovisual Media Services (AMS) Directive, which attempt to force linear TV broadcast regulation on new media services.

© Digital TX Ltd

Digital TX Limited is a London-based provider of technology and consultancy solutions for interactive digital television and broadband media. Alexander Cameron can be reached at alex.cameron@digitaltx.tv.

As well as co-ordinating the birth of the IPTV Consortium (IPTVC), Alex is now offering a great value one-day workshop course on IPTV and Video On-Demand (VoD) specifically for web and media professionals.. The very popular 1-day IPTV/VoD workshop (www.iptvworkshop.co.uk) that aims to save delegates up to 12 months of research time by telling them everything they need to know about IPTV in a single day. It can help you get up to speed on the latest technologies, content deals, operators and applications across the world, and offer immense value in identifying both new opportunities and threats for your business and personal career. If you would like more information, call Alex on 07986 373177 or email iptvworkshop@digitaltx.tv. Readers who quote The Register as their source will receive a 10 per cent discount on the course fees.

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