Is India ready for IPTV?

By Pavan Kumar Hubli   |   Thursday, 28 May 2009, 12:08 Hrs   |    12 Comments
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Is India ready for IPTV?
Bangalore: Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) is all set to revolutionize the way the television is working now. With IPTV, apart from just watching television, one can use the television as a two way media to interact with the world.

According to experts, IPTV is a complementary way of transmission of entertainment, data and interactive communication. So far in the evolution of television, there has been only one way of communication (Broadcasting), but the IPTV promises an interactive way of viewing television.

But the big question that arises in one's mind is whether India is ready for the IPTV. The answer varied from expert to expert.

"Figures show that IPTV has a great future in India," said Vijay Yadav, Vice President and Managing Director, UTstarcom, an end to end service provider for the IPTV. "Asia recorded the highest number of acceptance for it, compared to the developed countries. Of the 1.27 million connection (in Asia) last year, India and China had a lion share of that," he added.

However Prakash, owner of Bangalore Cable Network said, "IPTV cannot be successful. The cost of installing an IPTV is too much and we don't have a proper infrastructure to support it. The present internet connectivity cannot provide the viewers what a cable is providing," he added.

As of today, installing an IPTV is a costly affair. The viewer needs a special set-top box, modem and broadband connection for receiving, and to make it an interactive TV an extra camera is required. But once installed it can do half of the work an internet connected computer can do. The TV can receive your call, surf videos and search data along with providing digital TV channels.

Experts believe that there are many challenges to install the new internet television. "Making people understand the importance and usage of it is a big challenge to all the service providers," said Yadav. There are other challenges, like building an ecosystem for transmission and penetration of broadband.

But these challenges bring hope that there is a great chance for improvement. "Because of the IPTV, there will be an increase in the broadband connection, IPTV will be accepted more in rural and urban sector, as there is no need to be a computer literate to use this. India doesn't need a $100 computer as we already have a $100 TV." added Yadav.

"Its basic advantage is that it is fast and clear," said Srikanth B, Sales Specialist, Cisco India, which is producing set top box and d-link for the internet TV. "With the passing of time, the speed of the broadband will increase and people can access to the service easily," he added.

IPTV provides services like Video on Demand (VOD), Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) or digital phone and Web access, collectively referred to as Triple Play. Many companies are running pilot projects to provide e-governance and other kind of facilities on IPTV.

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