Video services

Hong Kong: An IPTV Hotbed?

It's a big week for IPTV developments in Asia/Pacific, with Hong Kong operator PCCW Ltd. (NYSE: PCW; Hong Kong: 0008) and Chinese vendor ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) at the heart of the latest developments.

Earlier this week, PCCW announced it had broken through the 500,000 IPTV subscriber mark sooner than expected, and duly celebrated the milestone. And as it puffed out its chest in pride, a senior executive spoke of how the carrier might export its IPTV know-how to help other providers develop their services, according to a report in the South China Morning Post. (See PCCW Plans HDTV Over DSL.)

The carrier's deputy chairman Jack So Chak-kwong told the paper that PCCW was looking to export its IPTV technology, and that it has held discussions with Spanish giant Telefónica SA.

That might seem like an unusual pairing, but the Spanish carrier indirectly holds a stake in PCCW.

How? Telefónica is about to increase its stake in China Netcom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: CN; Hong Kong: 0906) from 5 percent to nearly 10 percent, and Netcom owns a 20 percent stake in PCCW. (See China Netcom Invests in PCCW and Telefónica Boosts Chinese Ties.)

And Telefónica could use some help: It is desperately trying to build up the Spanish subscriber base for Imagenio, its IPTV service, as it faces increasing pressure from cable giant Grupo Auna and aggressive broadband competitors, such as Jazztel plc, T-Online International AG, and Wanadoo SA. (See Eurobites: Access All Areas.)

PCCW could provide technology and business insight to Telefónica, especially in terms of the network stress caused by having as many as half a million customers. The Spanish operator had 123,000 IPTV customers at the end of September. (See Acquisitions Boost Telefónica in Q3.)

The challenges carriers face when deploying IPTV services are mind boggling, and become greater as subscriber numbers ramp up: Check out the upcoming Light Reading Webinar, Managing the Complexity of IPTV Deployments, to find out about some of the key issues.

PCCW is also advising Netcom, as the mainland Chinese carrier conducts its own IPTV trials. And it's not alone in forging ahead with pilot telco TV deployments: China Telecommunications Corp. (NYSE: CHA) is setting up trials in multiple regions using systems from multiple vendors. (See China Expands IPTV Coverage.)

Following news earlier this week that its kit is being used by China Telecom in the Jiangsu and Shannxi provinces, ZTE now says the carrier is deploying its IPTV technology in Guandong for a trial involving 100,000 users. (See ZTE Wins More IPTV Work.)

The services being tried out include: video on demand (VOD); broadcast TV; PVR (personal video recording), which allows the recording of programs onto a hard drive installed in the set top box; and multimedia services such as gaming and music downloads.

The slew of developments come as the region gears up for an IPTV conference in Hong Kong next week, where Broadband Network Systems Ltd. (BNS) and Streaming21 plan to show off their latest gear. (See BNS Shows Off IPTV System and Streaming21 Shows Off IPTV).

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

For more on this topic, check out:

The report, IPTV: Where the Money Is, is available as part of an annual subscription (12 monthly issues) to Light Reading Insider, priced at $1,350. Individual reports are available for $900. For more information, or to subscribe, please visit: www.lightreading.com/insider.

mtrehearne 12/5/2012 | 2:52:58 AM
re: Hong Kong: An IPTV Hotbed? Following news earlier this week that its kit is being used by China Telecom in the Jiangsu and Shannxi provinces, ZTE now says the carrier is deploying its IPTV technology in Guandong for a trial involving 100,000 users. (See ZTE Wins More IPTV Work.)


Anybody know if ZTE oem's Riverstone products for their IPTV solutions?

Riverstone may also be in PCCW's IPTV architecture...


One of the case study slides in this webinar implies that Riverstone is in PCCW's Now Broadband TV network.

Any thoughts?

digits 12/5/2012 | 2:52:56 AM
re: Hong Kong: An IPTV Hotbed? With the underlying technology and inhouse technology development so different on a carrier by carrier basis, what re the main lessons IPTV service providers can learn from each other? Is technology or business model experience the critical factror?
materialgirl 12/5/2012 | 2:52:53 AM
re: Hong Kong: An IPTV Hotbed? These IP-TV guys all have the same business model: monopoly control of users for an expensive, second-rate, copycat, service. Their business model therefore relies on paying good lobbyists.

As to technology, we need to look at streaming media over the Net, whether that involves caches like AKAM, efficient streaming like bit-torrent, or highly effective rendering like Flash or Ajax. As to revenue model, look to intelligent information distribution from GOOG.
whyiswhy 12/5/2012 | 2:52:48 AM
re: Hong Kong: An IPTV Hotbed? All this IP-based stuff is to facilitate better Chinese communist government filtering and spying.

IP and cable TV and phones takes care of the DANGER that Chinese citizens find out and talk about things like voting and civil rights, clean environment and the right to sue polluters in civil court by class action lawsuits. Or about how much the party bosses make while the workers get zip, and independent unions are illegal.

When will otherswise intelligent and energetic people get up off their butts and kick out their overlords? It's the 21st century people, not the 12th.

docwhy 12/5/2012 | 2:52:48 AM
re: Hong Kong: An IPTV Hotbed? didn't read the title....so withdraw part of previous comment except the comments about France
docwhy 12/5/2012 | 2:52:48 AM
re: Hong Kong: An IPTV Hotbed? materialgirl....seems your perspective is a little short of global. After all, the IPTV offer as part of a cheap bundle with free VoIP and 20Mbps at 30 euros a month(see France) is something that has had little to do with lobbyists more to do with comeptition in an unbundled market. Free, for example, ate 17% of the french fixed market in 12 months.

The original question however is a little aristotelian in its 'either/or' phrasing and the answer could well be "none of the above"
sunfanz 12/5/2012 | 2:52:47 AM
re: Hong Kong: An IPTV Hotbed? The success of PCCW's IPTV venture (the biggest IPTV network in the world) is largely becaused of the following,

1. Low cost solution that allow them to gain subscriber momentum when there is NOT MUCH good content.
2. A group of content/media-savvy business person for content acquistion using "gimicks" in the network e.g. network-based content access control.
3. High population density for 6M+ broadband access
4. Low cost STP which is basically a stripped low cost DVD-Player

However, these factors may not apply to all countries.

This model probably not very replicable to China.

In fact, I think this stuff is going to have a dramatic impact on how future of IPTV look like.


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