The IPTV Future?

The Press has been making a lot of noise about the recent decision to screen one of the England World Cup qualifiers exclusively on the internet. The match is being screened online because of the collapse of Pay to View TV provider, Setanta Sports. The FA needed to look for a way to make up the lost revenue because of Setata’s demise.

At a price point of £4.99 to watch the single match, the price point could however put a lot of users off. This is quite steep for a 90 minute game. The service is being provided by streaming provider, Perform. It claims its service will be able to support up to 1 million subscribers, however it hasn’t been tested that far.

While IPTV provides a good way to get TV content out to users, no mater where they are, there are a few issues that come up with it. The quality is going to vary based on the amount of data (the bandwidth) of the connection available, with the average connection in the UK about 2Mb, this should be enough for most streaming, but at peak times the main pipes ISPs use may get congested.

Not only is there the bandwidth to worry about, but also there is monthly usage limits. Gone are the days of completely unlimited connections, we are now stuck with lower and lower caps while providers fight for the cheapest price / most users. Even if your not on a hard capped package, I would say your connection is “subject to fair use” – i.e. if your provider thinks your using too much, you are!

I can’t see many things being IPTV exclusive, however I can see more and more going online, the BBC for an example allow live streaming of some of their channels already through IPlayer. The increase in web based viewing is going to force internet service providers to rethink how they sell their connections, low caps are going to be frequently met with the increase in streaming and videos online.