What's In A Name ?

I'm just off to the first of two conferences where I'm speaking this week, both, ironically enough, on the same subject, IPTV v. TV on IP. The first is in Munich today and the second in London on Thursday.

Personally, I think this is something of a spurious distinction, since IPTV is a subset of TV over IP - it's another service that you can run using technologies such as those offered by Narrowstep.

But it's worth examining the relative strengths and weaknesses of these currently competing technologies.

The advantages of IPTV include:

•Relationship with subscriber is more direct and committed
•Quality of service should be better
•Delivers to TV not PC
•Fewer compatibility/platform issues
•Easier rights situation
•Higher potential charges
•Improved security

Whilst the advantages of TV on IP are:

•Global audience
•Low cost of delivery
•Lower marketing costs using internet
•No installation required
•Delivery to multiple devices
•Less support required
•Simpler technology
•Support for user generated content
•Support for downloads
•Easier ad models
•Wider range of revenue models

But, the major issue is the sheer cost and investment required to launch an IPTV service in a market that will quickly recede as devices such as mobile and IP enabled plasma screens become standard.

It's a game where only major incumbents such as telcos can afford to play, although I think there is potential in the short term for niche services delivered to mini set top boxes, such as those offered by Amino.