Cable Tech Types See IPTV, Web Portal Threats

Cable technologists have started recognizing that they have a growing number of emerging broadband and video rivals to worry about these days. At the SCTE's Emerging Technologies conference in Tampa this week, cable engineers publicly expressed concern about telco IPTV, online video portals, portable media players and peer-to-peer services, to name just a few. Instead of focusing on DirecTV and EchoStar, they fretted that new competitors ranging from Verizon and AT&T to Apple and Google could leave them choking in the dust. In particular, cable technology strategists seem worried about the threat posed by such new, "over-the-top" video players as Google, Yahoo! and AOL. At the CES in Las Vegas last week, for instance, Google announced plans to jump into the pay video market with on-demand TV programming from CBS, the NBA and other content suppliers. What galls some cable types is that broadband subscribers would use cable's own fat pipes to tap into this competitive video content. "The competition isn't the telcos," argued Tony Werner, senior vice president and CTO of Liberty Global. "It's Google and Google-lite."
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