Removing the myth
IPTV is no longer the “mythical technology” reserved solely
for the telcos. At least that’s what panelists were extolling
at CED‘s recent Cable
TV and Broadband Expopanel discussion on the
subject. Executives from Microsoft TV, RealNetworks Inc. and
Scientific-Atlanta Inc. were out to prove that IP video isn’t
just for the phone guys anymore. It’s being deployed by Time
Warner Cable in San Diego, and its future isn’t just via TV,
but over phones, PCs, watches and anything with a viewing
screen. And that’s where the value of IP video really is,
But first, some IPTV myths must be dispelled, said Carla
Stratfold, senior vice president at Real Networks. They are,
she says: unlimited bandwidth, an advantage for newcomers
because of the raw, new technology, and that IPTV is a competitive
replacement for cable.
Maybe not a replacement, but definitely a competitor. Telco
TV is expected to reach 32 million worldwide households by
2009, according to Research and Markets. SBC, Bell South,
SureWest and Verizon are serious players, with Qwest and others
in various stages of video entry. They’ll provide plenty of
competition. And that’s no myth.
—Craig Kuhl, IP Capsule
Editor, and CED Magazine Contributing Editor
Amino’s excellent adventure
is taking its IPTV software and consumer premise business to
Portugal. Novis, a Portuguese telecommunications company, chose
Amino for a residential service to be branded Clix Smartv. Novis
expects to test it this month in Lisbon and Porto using Amino’s
AmiNET 110 set-top box.
It’s another clear indication of the surging IPTV and broadband
video business worldwide. ABI
Research recently reported the broadband video market
exploding into a $16 billion business by 2010. Microsoft,
Sony and Apple are penetrating deeper into the space, says
Mike Wolf, ABI’s principal analyst of broadband, digital home
and media. Look for them to bite off a bigger piece of the
“digital home” market too.
V-Factor gets to the core QoSmetrics
and its V-Factor technology can now be integrated directly
into a customer’s set-top box. It will allow a “Quality of
Experience” measurement of IPTV performance right in a user’s
home, the company says.
“In order to solve last mile issues related to assuring performance
of IPTV, it’s ideal to have an agent that can perform right
from a user’s home,” said company Chairman Yves Cognet. Moving
the IPTV measurement technology into the user’s STB instead
of at the network’s core is, well, the core issue. Prime customers
for V-Factor? STB manufacturers and IPTV and triple play carriers.
Brix enhances its algorithm Brix Networks
is beefing up its IP video quality algorithm via the company’s
Video Quality Index (VQI). It incorporates the impact of network
transmission quality and quantifies the effects of latency,
packet loss, jitter, packet discards, buffering and re-buffering
events on video service, and generates an IP video quality
“score.” It’s another indication of the emerging technologies
that are addressing crucial performance issues with IPTV.
And of course, it adds yet another acronym, QoE, or Quality
of Experience to the expanding list.
SureWest signs Cuban SureWest
Communications, which recently joined the ranks of
HDTV providers, has hooked up with Mark Cuban’s HDNet.
The agreement will provide the independent telecommunications
company with HDNet movies and entertainment, all in 1080i
high-definition format, with a wide screen 16×9 aspect ratio.
And maybe a few Dallas Mavericks games thrown in? Cuban owns
the NBA’s Mavericks. SureWest is preparing for its trial of
HDTV over its IP-based FTTP (fiber-to-the-premise) network.
If successful, it will be the first in the U.S. At deadline,
Surewest also secured carriage of TNT HD.
VoIP numbers up, transformation
The latest figures from
Research and Markets have VoIP reaching 3.9 million
subscribers this year. But even more telling is the research
firm’s comment: "VoIP is beginning to radically transform
the world of telecommunications." Heady stuff. More competition
will drive costs down and increase the breadth of features,
it adds. There are some caveats, however. Customer education
and acceptance, service quality, loss of connectivity and
E911 limitations are lingering issues that must addressed,
And the key players? AT&T CallVantage, BroadVoice, BroadVox,
Charter Communications, Net2Phone, Packet8, Qwest, Time Warner
Net2Phone, Telemar take
has been chosen by Brazil’s largest telecommunications provider,
Telemar, to provide its residential VoIP service throughout
the country. Net2Phone will provide the platform services
that allow Telemar to deliver full-featured, SIP-based broadband
telephony to its residents nationwide. And there are a lot
of them. Telemar reaches 93 million people with 17 million
fixed lines and 731,000 broadband subscribers.
CMA dials in more VoIP
Capping off an apparently busy deal session for Net2Phone, CMA
Communications (CMA), a cable TV operator with 130,000
homes passed, is expanding its VoIP agreement with the company
to include four additional markets in Texas and Nevada. CMA’s
VoIP service will now be available to 50,000 customers in
five markets, the company says.
A side note on CMA: It originally partnered with Net2Phone
to provide VoIP service to Belle Chasse, La. Following Hurricane
Katrina, the two companies have provided free VoIP calling
to Belle Chasse residents impacted by the storm.
Dell’Oro: Carrier IP telephony
VoIP can now fall under the heading of a technology that’s
lifting all boats. The worldwide IP telephony carrier market
grew 19 percent in the third quarter of 2005 to $686 million,
with media gateway sales leading the way with a 23 percent
gain. Mix in the softswitch market and the space grew 60 percent
over last year. So who’s benefiting? The
Dell’Oro Group says Siemens
had the biggest slice of that $686 million pie, followed by Nortel
Networks, Huawei, Cisco
Systems and Ericsson.
“VoIP equipment sales have accelerated over the past six
months as more service providers implement packet voice to
expand and modernize their core trunking networks,” the group
VoX and BriteRain go to
Communications, a wholesale and retail provider of
VoIP services and wholly owned subsidiary of eLEC Communications
Corp., and BriteRain,
will market VoX’s VoIP services through a distribution network
of more than 150,000 independent agents. The agreement will
allow BriteRain, a provider of voice, data and integrated
communications services, to quickly expand its VoIP offerings,
the company says.
VoIP peering deadline nears
December 14 is the deadline for information to CableLabs
for several areas, including architecture(s) for VoIP peering
services, the set of Internet specifications and standards
that can enable a scalable platform for interconnecting voice
and other real-time communication services, and the associated
operations and management requirements to develop a production-grade
Comcast enlists Cisco, Nortel
for IP network plans
Fueling plans for a converged national IP backbone, Comcast
Corp. said it plans to form an Open Transport Initiative
(OTI), with the goal of building compatibility among equipment
from multiple vendors that power the MSO’s network.
The first vendors enlisted for the OTI project are Cisco
Systems Corp. and Nortel
Networks. Aiming to improve the interoperability between
optical and IP network layers, the initial phase of OTI will
focus on identifying and defining a set of common interfaces,
which, in turn, will be used to integrate and manage Nortel’s
DWDM (dense wavelength division multiplexing) and Cisco’s
Comcast said it will leverage the network to deliver new
services, including video-on-demand, "to any IP location."
The agreement also looks to extend the Internet Engineering
Task Force (IETF) generalized multi-protocol label switching
(GMPLS) signaling and routing standard with extensions for
the photonic domain. That will address elements such as service
activation and restoration, said the companies, which plan
to promote adoption of these defined interfaces through standards
bodies "as appropriate."
Comcast said these open interfaces will help vendors operate
on the same transport infrastructure, and make it simpler
to combine optical and IP technologies on the same network.
its CRS-1 platform can scale to 92 terabits per second.
Further, the effort will "establish an intelligent,
high bandwidth ‘service on demand’ network capable of delivering
any service, over any path—optical or copper—with
complete operational simplicity," added Philippe Morin,
Nortel’s general manager, optical networks.
On the equipment side, Comcast has already selected Nortel’s
Common Photonic Layer (CPL) and Optical Multiservice Edge
(OME) 6500 platforms, which support ROADM (reconfigurable
optical add drop multiplexing), a technology that enables
operators to reallocate optical bandwidth as needed on the
Cisco, meanwhile, will supply its CRS-1 Carrier Routing
System, serving as the backbone for routing, multicast, and
IPv6 support. Cisco said the CRS-1 can scale to 92 terabits
WiMax and cell service?
Who needs ’em
Some are questioning the need for WiMax, since, according
Research; WiMax and cellular platforms “appear to
meet many of the same demands."
"Providers will use WiMax to offload part of the data
traffic. At the same time, WiMax is becoming a stepping-stone
to 4G mobile services,” argues Senior Analyst Phillip Solis.
He suggests that performance claims of 75 Mbps at distances
up to 30 miles have tempered the initial hype of WiMax. Now
it’s back to reality.
Can you say $927 billion? That’s the projected cost savings
and output benefits from an accelerated broadband deployment.
And, an additional $532 billion to $847 billion in economic
benefits can be achieved as well, according to a leading U.S.
economist. Lower medical costs, lower costs of institutionalized
living, and additional output generated by more seniors and
individuals with disabilities in the labor force are the areas
he believes will be positively affected by broadband’s acceleration.
Staggering, almost unreal numbers, to be sure, but the report
has some credentials. It was assembled for the New
Millennium Research Council by Robert Litan of the
Kauffman Foundation and senior fellow in the economic studies
program at the Brookings Institute.
Company: Tut Systems Inc. Category: Content processing and distribution products
for IP and next-generation data and video services over broadband
networks Headquarters: Lake Oswego, Ore. URL:www.tutsys.com CEO: Salvatore D’Auria
Claim to Fame: Tut’s Astria content processor platform
is designed to deliver high-end digital TV services over any
access network. Tut Systems provides IPTV products to more
than 150 service providers in North America, Europe and Asia.
Recent news of note: Tut recently delivered its first commercial
deployment of an all-IP digital headend by A traditional
cable TV operator–Citizens Cable Communications, in Mammoth,