Thursday, March 08, 2012

Are Cablecos Just ISPs Now ?

It's going to be a busy old time for new devices towards the end of this year with the launch of Liberty Global's Horizon Box, the first offerings from YouView and a slated launch for Sony's OTT offering.

But just as this is happening, Tivo has announced that it's gone tablet on us.

With so many devices and services coming from so many directions, it begs the question: is a cableco just an ISP ?

Certainly that's what Virgin are acting like - they offloaded their TV channels and have been making a virtue of their high speed network above all else - television seems peripheral to their service (and with the dreadful Tivo box as their key offering, who can blame them ?).

Perhaps the key piece in all of this is TV Catchup - the service that already allows you to watch Freeview channels on mobile devices. The legality of this service has been referred to the European Court of Justice for guidance, and if a positive ruling comes back, then there's little to stop anyone launching a service, effectively opening up the TV market in the UK.  However, there will be undoubted restrictions on this around areas such as branding, recording and catch up and on demand.

And, since this will be a European ruling, the judgement will mean a fundamental change to the overall industry in Europe, and perhaps beyond.