Convergence Media

IPTV Headed To India

Updated: math corrected 

Microsoft and Reliance Communications, India’s second largest teleco, are launching a high definition internet-protocol TV service in India, according to AFP. The service is scheduled to debut in 30 cities in early 2008.

Why India? Perhaps, because (AFP reports) India “produces the most films worldwide annually.”

IPTV enables consumers to “watch TV” via a highspeed connection to the internet instead of a cable or satellite tether. Theoretically, this makes TV content more portable, as it could be accessed by a computer or a smartphone.

Traditional TV adoption in India is not as widespread as in the US, with only about 71 million 7-in-10 homes having sets. Only about 0.5 percent 1 percent of households  are expected to be IPTV subscribers by 2011. (1 million subscribers projected; n=192,000,000 HH, 1.1 billion people)

Under this deal, Microsoft would license its ‘Microsoft Mediaroom’ IPTV software platform to enable RCom to deliver feature rich content and deliver ‘interactive entertainment’ to customers. The service is expected to be launched in March 2008, initially in Mumbai and Delhi, which are high average monthly revenue per user (ARPU) circles for mobile services. RCom would look to leverage on the huge IP-based NGN network that it has built for providing this service. (source)

Currently, about 61% of those in India with TVs have some sort of pay-to-view service (cable, satellite). Reliance has more than a passing interest in IPTV: it “owns and operates the world’s largest Internet connectivity infrastructure, 165,000 kilometres (102,000 miles) of fibre-optic cable that spans India, the US and Europe.”

In the US, Microsoft partnered with Comcast in the Seattle market to test its cable software, Microsoft TV Foundation Edition. However, that seems to have been a bust; no other cable company signed on. In contrast, this June Microsoft said “18 service providers [had] signed up for its IPTV technology, and 10 of them [had] deployed it commercially.”

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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