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HD and IPTV: Taking television to the next level

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SINGAPORE: High Definition Television (HDTV) has garnered a great deal of interest from early adopters largely because of the dramatic increase in picture quality, which supports the consumers' demand for ever larger screen sizes. In order to appeal to the wider consumer audience HDTV will need to demonstrate considerable additional value over that of the standard definition incumbent.

On the other hand, Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) offers a foundation for the delivery of such value as it provides the capability to offer truly tailored television services in either a lone viewer or community viewer based environment. The additional resolution afforded by HDTV, enables the compelling visual presentation of the information and controls, which will form a vital part in the translation of HDTV demand from the early adopters to the high value mass market.

ANT Software Ltd (UK) executive vice president sales and marketing Stephen Reeder said, "For most people, TV today still consists of a small number of channels with little or no information about the programming, which is on offer. Over the past 25 years, the introduction of cable, satellite and digital terrestrial television delivery has seen the addition of many more channels, increased programme information, Electronic Programme Guides (EPGs), and most recently, interactive services. Consumer acceptance of the increase in programming has been positive, with some regions, like the UK, experiencing extremely high take up rates."

What HDTV alone can't provide is the transformation of TV from a singular experience where programming is broadcast to the consumer, to a truly tailored service where customers can see what they want, when they want to see it. Here's where IPTV steps in.

What can IPTV deliver that other delivery systems can't?

IPTV offers a one-to-one relationship between the viewer and the content they are viewing. It means that the viewer has the capability to pause, rewind or skip through a programme under their direct control without affecting other viewers in different locations. "The flexibility afforded by this one-to-one relationship extends far beyond the control of broadcast programming. Most basic IPTV systems offer on-demand movies, special interest channels and compelling interactive services ranging from gambling and Karaoke on demand to simple gaming for the children. In other words, customers can watch what they want to watch, when they want to watch it," said Reeder.

On the other hand, HD is important to IPTV because the latter offers immense flexibility and considerable potential customer value. "HD provides a dramatic increase in screen resolution, which in turn provides the potential for more information to be displayed in a clear and easy to understand form," Reeder added.

In conclusion, he said, "HDTV has made an impressive impact amongst the early adopter consumers. Although the value proposition of improved picture quality and the ability to support larger screen sizes is unlikely to be sufficient to ensure mass market success. IPTV and the HTML based technologies associated with it have much to offer in building the value necessary to underpin HDTV mass market adoption. The industry leaders are already putting in place the necessary foundation for a range of products and services, which will enhance the HDTV value proposition and create the required market pull to ensure success."

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