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Atria Cable gets into IPTV business
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<img style="float:left; margin:0px 10px 0px 0px;" src="http://www.cable-quest.in/interview/nov_09.jpg" />Lured by the ever growing opportunities in the IPTV market in India, yet another player-ACT Television Pvt. Ltd. (ACT) forayed into the market. Based out of Bengaluru, the company has launched its IPTV service in February this year. And now taking-up the challenge to spread the IPTV market, the company is now bringing the Digital Cable, IPTV, data and other broadband services through cable to customer's place in other towns of Karnataka as well as in other states like Andhra Pradesh in South & Madhya Pradesh in Central India.

<img style="float:right; margin:0px 0px 0px 10px;" src="http://www.cable-quest.in/interview/nov_09_2.jpg" />The company was set-up by Sunder Raju as an MSO in 2000 with the aim to become the most admired in-home entertainment, education & interactive service provider and thus create radical socio-economic transformation in the country.

The main technology behind IPTV is 'Internet Protocol'. This technology implies the use of an underlying networking infrastructure that supports broadcast videos using multicasting techniques. This enables in transmitting data (broadcast channels, video streams) from service provider's Headend to the Set Top Box at the customer's end.

Cable Services

IPTV being truly interactive, that allows two way communication and data transfer, is the future of Entertainment. ACT Interactive TV, therefore, allows its users to make their televisions work at their will And some of its unique features are:
  • Ability to view TV at your convenience - Viewers do not have to miss a single second of their favorite shows. They can simply pause live TV and attend to the doorbell, or take phone calls, etc. and then can come back and resume their show from where they left.
  • It also allows subscribers to record one show while watching another. Not only this, subscribers can set multiple recordings of shows that are scheduled to come at a future time/date. This feature, therefore, allows subscribers to record shows while they are away and then watch them later at their convenience. Recordings are possible on local storage devices / hard disks which subscribers have at their disposal. In case they do not have a storage device, ACT Interactive TV gives subscribers the facility to record their favorite shows using the ACT Network!
  • Last but not the least, ACT's network servers archive popular television shows for select channels, long after they have been broadcast. These can be accessed by the subscribers, on request, for a specified time period. Therefore, now with the help of this exciting feature, subscribers will never have to worry about missing any episode of their favourite shows.
Internet on TV

A vast amount of information / entertainment available on Internet remains inaccessible to most of the Indians either due to lack of computer knowledge or because they do not own a computer at home which makes it difficult for them to access the net even if they know basic computer/internet applications.

ACT Interactive TV has managed to solve this problem in a fantastic way by enabling complete Web Browsing on Television. With the help of a compact and non-alphanumeric remote control, customers can key in any desired website's name in the soft search keypad available on TV and can access any website in a matter of seconds. Not only this, ACT Interactive TV gives complete access to Youtube on television. Therefore, viewers can now watch any and every Youtube video on the big screens of their TVs instead of on PCs.

ACT Interactive also offers Internet Videos that have been categorized, keeping in mind popular themes across various genres and catering to all age groups. Each category has links to hundreds of online videos which on being selected start playing immediately. Some of the many categories are 'Cookery', 'Sports', 'Travel', 'Movie' and 'Music Videos' etc.

True Video on Demand (VOD)

Customers can choose from ACT Interactive TV's extensive library of Kannada, Tamil and, Hindi films, and view them instantly, at the click of a button. Customers can also pause, rewind and forward these videos at their convenience. This makes VOD 'True VOD', on ACT Interactive TV. Soon Telugu and World movies shall also be added to the library.

Value Added Services

ACT Interactive TV offers IRCTC on TV which enables the customers to check the PNR status of their train tickets on their TV sets itself. Not only this, customers also get access to daily Panchang on their TV sets and can play various entertaining and informative games which cater to all age groups. Apart from this, ACT Interactive TV has the potential to offer various other services based on consumer demands in the future.

The Regulatory aspects.

As far as Govt. regulations are concerned, the basic need for IPTV is to increase broadband penetration. However, the guidelines for IPTV given by the Govt are by and large acceptable to the players and the sector and the framework provided is satisfactory and workable.

Content Protection in the new scenario.

IPTV Content is encrypted using widely accepted DRM/CAS principles. There are not many IPTV players in the Indian market. A few other players that are offering this service, have also just launched and all the players are still in an-going process of developing their product & exploring the new technology. IPTV is still at a nascent stage. Therefore, spreading awareness about the technology and making consumers aware of the unique features are the most important things for all the players.

Some of the various unique features offered by ACT Interactive TV are 'Internet on TV', 'True Video on Demand', and various 'Value Added Services'. These outstanding features keep ACT Interactive TV much ahead of the other players in the IPTV race.

<img style="float:left; margin:0px 10px 0px 0px;" src="http://www.cable-quest.in/interview/nov_09_3.jpg" />High infrastructure cost is a big hurdle in speedy implementation of IPTV. It uses 'Internet Protocol', to send and receive data. Therefore, in order to ensure that consumers do not experience any packet loss or delays on their TV sets, it is essential to build and provide complete network, right from a strong Headend to an error-free last-mile connectivity. This implies a huge cost to service providers. And since IPTV is still in its nascent stages, the return on investment is currently small.

IPTV requires a higher bandwidth in comparison to DTH and other wireless services. That is why considering the scenario of current Indian market, low broadband penetration is one of IPTV's biggest challenges.

IPTV has a huge potential in the times ahead as this is the way the entertainment & VAS industry is destined to go. It is currently in its nascent stages and not many are aware of the fantastic features that this technology offers. However, The day is not far when IPTV will grow by leaps and bound

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