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IDIOT BOX, on the mobile
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#1
<img style="float:left; margin: 0px 10px 0px 0px;" src="http://static.indianexpress.com/m-images/Sun%20Aug%2001%202010,%2014:37%20hrs/M_Id_165451_technology.jpg" />IPTV is about to log into your handset, it’s time to pause and rewind
Once the stuff of fantasies, video on phone has now become a technology which even kids are familiar with. Of late, Indian consumers have grown used to streaming television content over GPRS/EDGE, thanks to services like Samsung’s Corby TV. However, a full-fledged television service with interactive facilities like video-on-demand, as well as fast-forward and rewind, and without the buffering synonymous with mobile video, are still beyond Indian consumers, especially since 3G services are not yet off the block.

But not for much longer. UTStarcom is now planning to take Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) beyond the television set, to other screens sizes like laptops and mobile phones. While the technology and capability are already there, it’s now up to the service providers to decide whether they want to take the plunge.

But that won’t be a tough decision to make. With the much-delayed spectrum allocation process finally over, there is expected to be a boom in the demand for value-added services on the mobile ecosystem. In fact, recent studies have shown that the volume of video traffic passing through mobile networks will grow 151 per cent till 2013.

“We need between 40-60 kbps speed to run IPTV on mobile. This capability is already there, even without 3G. Once 3G is launched, viewers can expect a seamless viewing experience,” says Himanshu Sahu, director (sales engineering) of UTStarcom’s IPTV & VAS division.

Mobile IPTV will also usher in a whole new segment of viewers. “While you get the entire bouquet of channels on TV, the users will tend to limit services on the laptop to channels they want to watch while at work, maybe news and business channels,” says Sahu.

However, mobile television will be a more personal experience due to the size of the screen, he explains, adding that users are likely to use mobile IPTV for about 8 to 10 minutes at a time. “We like to call it snacking. They will log in to watch a news bulletin, maybe highlights of a cricket match, but not the full thing. It will help promote programmes and woo the users to watch it on a bigger screen,” Sahu says.

But that does not mean you won’t be able to watch a full movie if you want to. In fact, you will even be able to fast-forward, rewind and pause the content.

During a demo we noticed that there was hardly any time lag between the content provided on a television, laptop and mobile through the same test network. Plus, users will be able to access video-on-demand like the regular IPTV services. “They will be able to search for a movie, or some other programme of their choice and watch it on their mobile. In the case of paid content, they will even be able to save it for future use,” Sahu adds.

However, you will need a video capable smart phone to activate the service. But as the content is not saved on to your handset, storage won’t be a problem. “All the storage is done at the head-end so you won't be eating up the memory of your handset,” Sahu adds. The service will come as an application on the mobile and will give you the various channel options available.

The service will focus on the “matured” phone user who will be willing to pay for premium content. “Once the service becomes available there will be a lot of professional online content also available. And people will pay for quality content,” explains Sahu, adding that the pricing models will depend on the service providers.

Source: Indian Express

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