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Vendor Strategy Critical for IPTV Providers

In Evaluating IPTV Vendor Strategies, TDG Research found in a survey of more than 100 IPTV vendors in Europe, Asian, and the United States found that careful selection of vendors will be critical service operators as they try to jump into the nascent IPTV (Internet Protocol TV) market. Recent delays in the deployment of IPTV services by SBC, Telstra, Swisscom, and others have largely hinged on technical and inter-operational difficulties, and hilite the fragility of deploying this new technology. “Unlike cable or satellite TV solutions, IPTV uses technology that hasn’t been in the field for years,” said Michael Greeson, president of The Diffusion Group. “In fact, many of the technologies used in today’s IPTV solutions are being tested during real-time deployments. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that initial deployments are encountering such difficulties.”

The report examine the short-term technical landscape of the IPTV marketplace, including how existing and new service providers are managing their systems supply strategies, and offers suggestions for deploying service operators on how to cogently manage vendor technologies and systems integration. Three primary vendor offerings for IPTV deployment are addressed:

  1. Microsoft’s IPTV technologies, promising an end-to-end solution with a wide range of systems components
  2. Specialized vendors which focus on one set of components, which interoperate with other components using well-defined interfaces
  3. Some vendors which offer multiple products which interoperate using component interfaces and APIs, but do not in themselves constitute an end-to-end solution.

The report notes that service operators should be wary of putting all their eggs in one basket, potentially locking themselves into a closed system or a single-vendor environment. Conversely, service providers should be equally wary of solutions assembled from diverse vendors and components, which are more prone to unforeseen problems in interoperability and scalability, and potentially provide more critical failure points once services have been successfully deployed. TDG Research also provides updated metrics on existing IPTV market deployment along with market share data on IPTV STBs (set top boxes), conditional access and digital rights management systems, middleware, and specific chipsets.

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