Intellectual property rights issue regarding converting broadcasts into content for IPTV which has been under discussion will be resolved in the near future in the best interest of all the parties concerned said R N Prabhakar member Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). He was speaking at the inaugural session of IPTV India 2009, 4th International Conference.”The recommendations for converged networks that would provide consumers access for different type of sernote address vices on a single network will be announced soon and the spectrum for 3G, IPTV and other services . would be settled very soon.” he further added. The one day seminar was organized by New Delhi-based BE Exposition Pvt. Ltd.
Combining video and interactivity, IPTV’s “power is expected to be phenomenal” in areas like education and healthcare for the public. The primary health centres could link up to medical expertise far away through IPTV and thereby make the PHCs in villages more effective in bringing medical care to the rural areas. Not only broadcast programmes but video programmes, documentaries on education and healthcare and other graphic information could enrich rural productivity. There was also the advantage that IPTV bypasses computer literacy and thus more relevant to Indian environment where PC penetration was very low.
“Service providers in India have realized the importance of shifting from voice-centric model to an IP centric model in which, video and other content rich interactive services play an important role. IPTV in India is all set to unleash the potential of fundamentally transforming the experience of watching television by bring in two-way interactivity, storage of content and greater control over the television experience,” said Mr Shashidharan, Managing Director, BE Exposition Pvt. Ltd at the inaugural session discussing “Strategic Challenges & Opportunities for the introduction of IPTV in India”
While giving his key note address, Vijay Yadav, Managing Director, India & South Asia, UTStarcom said,” While IPTV will be one of the most important factors driving broadband in India, IPTV in itself will bring about a paradigm shift in the usage of television. From being just an entertainment device it will transfer into a information dissemination device and then to a productivity tool for the masses. With IPTV, the country is expected to the talked about digital divide by make available not just the entertainment content but also providing broadcast content with educative qualities”.
According to Mr. Prabhakar, the other issue which has been hampering the growth of IPTV in India is the encryption issue, which is being resolved as it required security clearances. On the technological front, accessing IPTV facilities do not require broadband connectivity, the service can also be delivered over ADSL access on telephone wire.
IPTV would also help reduce dependence on information via Internet as information on video could be reached out to the masses. Mr. Yadav saw IPTV reversing the high bandwidth requirement of Internet as IPTV service providers have a repository of content . Video browser would now be available for TV. This would open up many new business opportunities with new technologies due to the time shift advantage of IPTV—that is capacity to view programmes according to the requirement of the customer. Many such new developments were on the anvil with IPTV, Mr. Yadav whose company is a technology leader in IPTV explained.
In his address L. V. Sharma, Former Engineer-in-chief , Prasar Bharati Corporation said that PTV’s challenge “is in competitiveness with other media like DTH and cable. “As a matter of fact, IPTV service providers should take up aggressive marketing and consumer education to promote the rapid spread of the service,” added Mr Sharma. While Puneet Garg, Vice-President (Technical), Bharti Airtel said that the biggest challenge was not to monetize the interactive content that IPTV offered. “from push model, IPTV creates a pull model for consumers which is a paradigm change.”
Listing the problems in adopting IPTV, Internet Service Providers Association of India president Rajesh Chharia called for more content in local languages. He also felt that customers were not willing to invest in set top boxes especially in rural markets. With several different modes of service, convergent service was the need of the hour. The insistence that ISPs need to have a capital base of Rs 100 crores to provide IPTV service was restricting the service to only four or five players leaving out the ISPs at district and regional levels. Broadcasters were putting restrictions on the number of channels the IPTV service providers could give to consumers, due to unsolved IPR issues.
IPTV service would lead to development of a “strategic eco system “covering other areas like m-commerce and e-commerce, more content development and aggregation of data. These exciting possibilities were under discussion with different ministries to enable IPTV to take off said Mr. Prithipal Singh, vice-president, IPTV India Forum. He also expected that Commonwealth Games to be made available on mobile TV for which guidelines would be shortly available. Experts at the conference described IPTV as a “new age television experience in India” that could spread to 700 million people, a base far in excess of even mobile phone, as Mr. Yadav put it.