This is a joyous time for both consumers and broadcasters. If you are an IPTV, OTT, or Radio Network Broadcaster, Internet Protocol TV allows you to send content that better targets your key demographic. We’ve come a long way since cable television appealed only to mass markets iptv. In the beginning, the amount of channels available to viewers could be counted on one hand. Now the choices, including online content streaming services, number in the millions.
Not every consumer is the same, yet traditional cable companies seem to be treating them as homogeneous groups because the old formula worked so well. Before the proliferation of the internet, everyone was watching the same thing. A book, for example, could stay on the best-seller list for months. A movie blockbuster could be the most watched for a whole season. Now, in 2016, you’re lucky if a book or movie gets just two weeks in the primetime spotlight. Content is continually being pushed out to meet the needs of the thousands of tribes and niche markets.
As a result, the content has diverged in a multitude of directions. As a consumer, there are millions of channels of information available to you, and you can select the ones you want. IPTV allows you to do this; you are no longer forced to watch entertainment with broad mass appeal and little interest to you.
As a broadcaster, the old formula of appealing to the masses does not work anymore. You’ll typically find in the modern middle-class household that each member of the family is consuming entertainment on their own device. That is, the mother, father, and teen daughter are each watching something different, all at the same time. The mother is not interested in the teen drama of the daughter, nor is the daughter enthralled by the documentary that the father watches. In trying to be all things to all people, traditional broadcasters have failed. “The only alternative then, is to be something important to a few people,” writes Seth Godin, author of Tribes.
Just as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) changed the telecom industry by breaking through to give the people cheap/free telephone calls over the internet, a shiny new technology is going to shake up the television industry round the world. They call it IPTV or Internet Protocol Television.
It is the delivery of Television over the Internet or more precisely Broadband Internet. As Broadband markets around the world grow, television over the Internet is no longer a distant dream but a resounding reality. In India Reliance Communication Ventures is looking to start IPTV services by the end of 2006. Software giant Microsoft and communications major Cisco Systems Inc. have also spoken recently in support of the Reliance venture in India.
We also hear that the STAR Group is working together with Hong Kong based Pacific Century Cyber Works (PCCW) on IPTV. It all seems to fit, in keeping with the long-term strategies of these media companies. Of course for the Indian market which is just about ready to jump on to its latest avatar in Direct To Home (DTH) Television, talking about the next big thing might seem a bit cheeky. But time and technology waits for no one. The Indian Television market is big and vibrant enough to host a variety of simultaneous delivery systems.
The one big obvious benefit of IPTV is that because by nature it’s runs over the active medium of the Internet it makes television truly interactive and two ways. The viewers can now watch what show they want when and so on. Bringing the two mediums together this new technology promises to unlock the true potential of both the Internet and TV.
IPTV can be received on a computer or by using a set-top box connected to a broadband Internet connection. Believe it or not there are about 1200 IPTV channels already operating around the world today. MPEG-4 (H.264) is going to be the most preferred choice of video compression used for broadcasting over the Internet, as against the earlier used MPEG-2 format. You however would at least need a 700kbps connection to get decent quality video even when using the MPEG-4 codec. At the moment not many households in India have that kind of Internet access even in the Metros. Having said that with Broadband prices being slashed every month and speeds being bumped up by ISP’s this bandwidth issue can easily be resolved.