Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A Deep Hole

The latest projection from ABI Research indicates that there will be 90 million IPTV homes by 2013 (this is IPTV as opposed to Internet TV, which is already in 550m homes).

This may initially sound impressive, but consider that Sky already has around 10m homes in the UK alone to realise how tiny this number is spread around the globe.

There are notable success stories in France and Italy, and Verizon and AT&T seem to be making inroads in the US, but the threats to this market are extreme from the open internet and from digital terrestrial, as well as cable and satellite.

The UK, Holland and Germany have seen hundereds of millions spent on IPTV services with fewer than half a million subscribers resulting (don't believe the official figures - so you know anyone with BT Vision ?).

Moreover, Virgin Media in the UK has shown that even if you have the customers, you can't necessarily make money from them with a quad play. So much for ARPU...

Now that every screen will have a browser and an ethernet connection built in, you begin to wonder what the point of IPTV is.

As the IPTV Forum in London next week will show, there are literally hundreds of STB manufacturers, and I fail to see the point in any one of them when a browser and a bit of built in processing power in the screen can serve just as well.

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