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IPTV picture quality is top consumer concern: study

BANGALORE: Picture quality is the top concern for prospective IPTV customers, according to an independent research study conducted by research firm InsightExpress on behalf of the US-based SupportSoft, Inc., a provider of real-time service management software.

The 2005 study polled European Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) customers in six countries about their perceptions in receiving TV service from their telephone company. The number one concern expressed by respondents was "poor picture quality."

A separate study conducted in the United States reinforces the European finding, with poor picture quality identified by nearly 39 per cent of American Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) subscribers surveyed as their top concern, should they receive IPTV services from their telephone company versus their local cable or satellite company.

Perspective provided by Informa, a leading U.K.-based telecommunications research firm, underlines the importance in resolving consumer quality concerns among digital service providers in deploying the "triple play" of IP-based video, voice and high speed data services.

Informa's Adam Thomas observes in a recent report that, "The priority for IPTV is to provide the basic service quality - in terms of picture and sound - that viewers have come to expect from other platforms. Only once this is established should IPTV operators try more sophisticated offerings. The driving force behind IPTV is the telecom sector's need to move away from 'plain old telephony services', an area in which it is becoming progressively more difficult to turn a profit."

Bundling IPTV with other services as part of the triple play can contribute to unique installation and customer service problems that undermine profitability.

"The first 60 days are critical in establishing a positive consumer experience with IPTV. Service installation is especially complicated due to home wiring issues. As a consequence, ensuring the high picture quality to which TV viewers are accustomed can be difficult," says James Morehead, senior director of product management at SupportSoft.

"SupportSoft Digital 360? solutions can help service providers 'see through walls' to help create a reliable IPTV connection, provide consistent picture quality, ensure a strong video signal, deliver fast service response, provide dependable network access, and avoid interference with other services in the home. With IPTV projected to grow tenfold to nearly 30 million subscribers by 2010, service providers need service automation solutions that can address all of these issues to scale quickly and profitably to meet rising demand," Morehead adds.

A new white paper from SupportSoft entitled, "IPTV: The Clear Picture," outlines the challenges specific to IPTV delivery, along with solutions for optimizing IPTV installation, utilization and ongoing customer service.

SupportSoft's Digital 360 degree product vision for triple play service delivery enables service providers to have one view of both the network "last mile" and the customer premises, and one integrated set of IP-based service automation software tools to diagnose, resolve and manage subscribers' triple play issues.

SupportSoft will be demonstrating its Digital 360 degree line of products, which help service providers accelerate the deployment of IPTV and ensure its quality, this week at Broadband World Forum in Madrid, Spain.

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