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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Keeping your Eye on the IPTV Eco-System

With the IPTV market set to take off, the number of competing ecosystems means that STB (set-top box) developers have to keep their implementation options open.
Interoperability is key in today's market environment. High-performance DSPs provide the programming flexibility that can insure interoperability and versatility in changing IPTV ecosystems.

According to MRG Research, the IPTV industry will continue to grow fairly spectacularly. In its IPTV Global Forecast—2008 to 2012, the research and consulting firm predicted the IPTV subscriber base would increase from 20.4 million in 2008 to 89.1 million in 2012, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 45 percent.
And every one of those subscribers needs at least one STB.

There are multiple players in an IPTV ecosystem. It involves service providers -- BSNL, MTNL and Reliance Communications -- who broadcast the content through their broadband networks. It has system integrators -- Patni Computers, Tech Mahindra, Microsoft and others -- who deploy the technology required for transmitting the content. It also involves middleware players, set-top box companies, security providers and content aggregators among others.

Though IPTV is one step ahead of the existing technologies, it still faces a lot of challenges. These are poor last-mile connectivity, low broadband penetration, unclear and outdated regulatory norms specified for cable TV and regionalisation of content.

Consumer demand for media-rich home entertainment services is driving innovation and new revenue opportunities in the set-top box (STB) industry. Next-generation STBs will integrate video content from multiple signal sources such as broadcast television, premium video-on-demand and Internet-based services, provide value-added capabilities like time-shifting, and allow content to be distributed to a variety of viewing devices including multi-room TV networks, personal computers, portable media players and other mobile devices.

In the evolving IPTV market, DSP-based STBs will be able to adapt to changes quickly and cost-effectively.

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