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Video services

IPTV Forum: Three-Screen Fever

LONDON -- IPTV World Forum 2010 -- Three-screen delivery is hardly a new concept in the IPTV world, but there are signs, at last, that implementing a converged, intelligent content platform for delivery to mobile devices, PCs, and TV sets could be feasible, and not just a wish-list entry.

With that goal in mind, Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Nokia Networks both unveiled their latest three-screen propositions here in London today, though they weren't alone: Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), a long-time advocate of the triple-screen approach, was pushing its End-to-Endless TV proposition, while ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) was also highlighting its Triple-Screen Convergence offering.

AlcaLu's offering is an in-depth set of capabilities that covers a wide set of capabilities, which, together, offer the possibility of seamless, managed multi-screen content delivery. (See IPTV Forum: AlcaLu Ups Its Multimedia Game.)

NSN, meanwhile, announced a software platform that boasted some similar attributes: the delivery of "live, recorded or video-on-demand TV to mobile phone, Internet-connected computer, satellite or digital terrestrial television screen"; and an "open platform" that enables additional apps development using a Java-based toolkit.

NSN says it has overcome the challenges of supporting multiple devices and network environments by developing a "control point based on the DVB-IPTV and Open IPTV Forum's Baseline Managed Profile specifications."

Like AlcaLu, NSN is offering the new capabilities independently and also as part of a broader set of IPTV capabilities, including middleware and professional services. It would be fair to say that NSN is decidedly stronger in the professional services market than in IPTV, where it has limited impact following its (Siemens Communications') acquisition of middleware specialist Myrio some years ago.

Elsewhere at the London show, there was little that was new or startling, with the main themes on the show floor being the management and integration of over-the-top (OTT) content into existing video delivery systems, and continued emphasis on the development of capabilities that support existing IPTV services, such as personalized content, targeted advertising, and recommendation engines.

Notable on the show floor were Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE, which had a more prominent presence than in previous years following a degree of success, and a few years of experience in, the Chinese market: Their increasing visibility in any market is usually a sign that the traditional systems suppliers, such as AlcaLu and NSN, are likely to come under increasing competitive pressure (particularly on price) when looking to win new business.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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