After many false starts, there may now finally be some signs that 2007 will mark the beginning of an IPTV boom. While some people think of IPTV as any video delivered over the Internet—and one day it may surely become that—what is officially known as IPTV today actually has very little to do with the Internet. Although the acronym stands for Internet Protocol Television, other than sharing the same underlying technology, the telephone companies that want to provide IPTV plan on delivering video over their own private networks rather than the public Internet. Proponents say that IPTV will combine the image quality of broadcast television with the two-way connectedness of things like YouTube and BitTorrent. And the number of subscribers could go up from 2.4 million worldwide today to nearly 20 million two years from now.
Besides the telcos, Microsoft (MSFT) also has high hopes for IPTV since it provides the underlying software to 16 telecom companies around the world who are either deploying or testing IPTV services. These include AT&T in the U.S., British Telecom and Singapore Telecom. Microsoft TV CTO Peter Barrett predicts, "I think there is big ramp next year. Not just with AT&T." He came by my office a few weeks ago and explained what all the hubbub is about. Let's go to the video (I suggest waiting for it to download first before watching):
Here is the longer 8-minute version for all those IPTV gluttons out there: