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IBM aims to kick some life back into the sputtering market for IPTV by making it easier for European ISPs - desperate as they are to differentiate themselves from their rivals - to buy and build Internet video services.

The company claims that service providers are keen to add TV, but don't have time or expertise to do it themselves. In particular, the desire to offer triple-play services presents them with significant technical challenges, because they lack the technical and implementation skills to integrate video delivery into their existing networks.

So to fill the gap, IBM is offering to build their IPTV infrastructures for them. Its Converged Communications for IPTV service is based on IBM and Cisco gear, including video systems from Cisco subsidiary Scientific Atlanta, plus IBM consultancy and services to pull it all together.

The aim is to provide a one-stop-shop for service providers, as well as helping them optimise network usage and differentiate their IPTV service from those of their competitors, IBM said. It will even help them buy into IPTV through its IBM Global Financing arm.

One of its first IPTV customers is Danish ISP, Dansk Bredbånd, which called for assistance from both IBM and Cisco, and claimed that its TV service is already winning it new customers.

"IBM and Cisco worked with us to implement a full IPTV solution," said Birger Hauge, Dansk Bredbånd's CIO. "Without their support, we would have had to procure, install and configure numerous architectural components to build the converged network, which would have been complex and time-consuming."

"IBM's ability to manage the transformation to IPTV is an essential ingredient for those providers who don't have this technology and business consulting expertise in-house," added Cisco veep Geraint Anderson.

Standard elements of the IBM IPTV package include IBM BladeCenter and xSeries servers, WebSphere, Tivoli and Lotus software, Linux, and Cisco's IP Next-Generation Network (IP NGN) technology.®

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