Video services

SingTel Tunes In to IPTV

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s IPTV platform may have its naysayers, but it continues to be chosen by Tier 1 carriers around the world for their TV-over-broadband rollouts, with Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) (OTC: SGTJY) the latest to buy into the Microsoft vision. (See SingTel Trials IPTV.)

Not for the first time, the engagement comes through Microsoft's partner, Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), which is providing integration support and helping the carrier develop specific applications, such as karaoke-on-demand (a particular Light Reading favorite), and multi-lingual audio support.

The Microsoft system, which includes IPTV middleware and digital rights management (DRM), will be housed on Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) servers, also supplied by Alcatel-Lucent. The newly-formed giant vendor is also delivering and integrating head-end encoding equipment, offline storage gear, and a video network monitoring system from Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT).

For AlcaLu, the IPTV integration deal follows on from its GPON and residential Ethernet access trial with SingTel, announced earlier this year. (See SingTel Picks Alcatel.)

For Microsoft, it's another feather in its IPTV cap, and follows on from the recent spate of commercial service launches based on its IPTV Edition systems. Earlier this year, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and French ISP Club Internet launched telco TV services using the software firm's technology, while Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) and Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) turned on their IPTV services more recently. (See Swisscom Finally Launches IPTV, Microsoft Wins IPTV Deal at DT, Club Internet Unveils IPTV , and AT&T Still Has IPTV 'Jitters'.)

And any day now, BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) will be connecting its first Vision customers and finally taking the leap into broadband video service delivery. (See BT Focuses Its IPTV 'Vision' and Microsoft Powers BT Vision.)

Other European carriers have also signed up to use Microsoft's systems. (See Wind, Telefónica Pick Alcatel, T-Online Hungary Picks Alcatel, TI Develops IPTV With Microsoft, and Alcatel Lands TDC IPTV Deal.)

Questions remain, though, about whether the relationship between Alcatel-Lucent and Microsoft will survive an ongoing legal wrangle and the competition that Microsoft faces from within AlcaLu, which, following the recent merger, has its own Tier-1-ready IPTV platform. (See Analyst: Suit Marks End of Alcatel/Microsoft and Alcatel Preps New Tech Roadmap.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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