Video services

CommunicAsia: APAC's TV Times

SINGAPORE -- CommunicAsia 2008 -- If anyone still needs convincing that telco TV is hotter than a beef penang with extra chili, then they need look no further than the show floor of this week's CommunicAsia show here in "Singers."

While the event's six halls (plus two more for the BroadCast Asia show) have the usual mix of widgets, midgets, switches, hitches, test tools and dancing fools among its 2,300 exhibits, it doesn't take long to find the whole range of IPTV players, from the head ends and decoders, to optimized video transport platforms, to middleware and DRM, the end user devices (handsets, portable TVs, and set-top boxes), and even the service providers.

Here are Light Reading's telco TV highlights from the equator's cleanest island state.

PCCW offers out-of-the-box IPTV
Hong Kong's PCCW Ltd. (NYSE: PCW; Hong Kong: 0008) is attempting to bottle up its IPTV success and sell the formula, including the technology that underpins its Now TV service, which has more than 900,000 subscribers. (See Top Ten: IPTV Carriers and PCCW Uses Harmonic for HD.)

The operator has launched PCCW MediaCore, an all-inclusive IPTV package for operators looking to introduce telco TV services to their portfolios. PCCW says the package includes technologies, services, business and technical consultancy, marketing support and strategies, and experience. The package, according to the operator, "provides unprecedented capabilities in terms of new service creation with dependence on, or intervention from, vendors and developers."

PCCW notes that the platform is not just "pay TV over a broadband line," but a "platform for the development of a huge range of new and interactive media content and advertising services," such as purchase transactions, banking interfaces, and cinema ticketing.

The Hong Kong carrier says it is set to name its first MediaCore customer any day now.

Far EasTone looks for inspiration
One operator sure to be talking to PCCW is Taiwan's Far EasTone Telecommunications Co. Ltd. , which is keen to engage and learn from other carriers as it embarks on its video services strategy.

The carrier's VP of business development and multimedia services, Roger Chen, says Far EasTone is about to embark on an initial test of IPTV services with a few friendly users, with some receiving the trial service across a DSL line and others over a WiMax connection. (See Taiwan's WiMax and Nortel Wins in Taiwan.)

But to get the lowdown on what it should do in telco TV, and how, Chen wants to engage with "carriers like PCCW and Orange (NYSE: FTE)" rather than vendors, especially as he wants to source a single system that can provision video services over fixed and wireless connections. France Telecom has previously made it known that it's more than happy to get together with other IPTV service provider hopefuls. (See France Telecom: 'More IPTV, Please'.)

M1's fiber dreams
Singapore operator MobileOne Ltd. (M1) (Singapore: MONE), which this week announced some DVB-H mobile TV trials with Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), is looking forward to being part of the island's iN2015 initiative to hook up every home with fiber, a move that will help the 3G service provider break into the fixed services world.

M1's party-loving CEO Neil Montefiore is hopeful that his firm's consortium, Infinity, can win the "NetCo" deal from the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) . The chosen NetCo will build the passive network infrastructure; separately, an "OpCo" will manage and provision the active network for a number of competitive "ServCos," which will all get to use the open infrastructure on a non-discriminatory basis. (See Singapore Shortlists FTTH Firms and Singapore Extends Monster NGN Tender.)

But he's equally excited about becoming part of Singapore's new breed of ServCo as M1 moves from its mobile services base into the fixed line world. There, the planned 1 Gbit/s of access capacity per household will enable a whole raft of services, such as multiple channels of high-definition (HD) TV and online gaming.

Getting down with the Televisionaries
Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) is making a much bigger noise about its IPTV capabilities these days and was pushing its new Televisionary campaign strongly here in Singapore, as well as in Las Vegas at this week's NXTcomm show. (See Ericsson Shows Off IPTV and Ericsson Demos 10-Gig GPON.)

The foundation of Ericsson's telco TV offering is its Tandberg TV business, which has its encoding, video gateway, and video processing platforms deployed at more than 200 customers across the Asia/Pacific region. (See Tandberg Tunes Up Web Portals, Ericsson: Tandberg Is Key to IPTV, and IPTV Drives Ericsson to Redback.)

And it seems that Ericsson, which didn't have any position at all in the IPTV world two years ago, is making an impact on the carrier community. (See Ericsson Brings the IPTV.)

A recent Heavy Reading survey of 120 operators showed that Ericsson was rated second only to Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) as the vendor most capable of supporting carrier multiplatform video strategies, with Alcatel-Lucent in third and Nokia Networks in fourth.

Other CommunicAsia IPTV news includes:

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to TelcoTV 2008, a conference and expo that will examine the convergence of communications and entertainment, and its impact on service providers from across the globe. To be staged in Anaheim, Calif., November 11-13, admission is free for attendees meeting our prequalification criteria. For more information, or to register, click here.

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