Soon your phone lines will enable you to choose the movies that you want to watch on your TV. You can pause, fast forward and rewind live and recorded content stored on a remotely located server by the service provider.
Leading telecom players in the country, including Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Reliance Infocomm, are making big plans to roll out the latest in broadband technology — IP-TV (Internet protocol television).
While Reliance has already announced a tie-up with Microsoft to test and launch the service, state-owned BSNL plans to launch the service by the year-end.
"We are looking at IPTV and plan to conduct pilot programme. We are ready to invest as much as required on IPTV. BSNL hopes to launch the service within this year," said Mr S.K. Sinha, Chairman and Managing Director.
IPTV allows operators to deliver content to their subscribers using telephone lines through IP technology. So far this technology was being used to deliver voice over Internet telephony. The services on IPTV include video-on-demand and digital video recording. IPTV uses a two-way digital broadcast signal, sent through a switched telephone or cable network by way of a broadband connection, and a set-top box programmed with software that can handle viewer requests to access many available media sources. The viewer's TV connects to a set-top box that decodes the IP video and converts it into standard television signals. The consumer can access different media by using the television remote to send control commands.
TV over telephone line is slated to be the next big application for telecom service providers. Even mobile operators are looking at technologies like the FLO (forward link only) to broadcast live TV on cellular phones. However, these technologies may prove to be disruptive for existing TV broadcasting companies and cable service providers and may raise regulatory issues.
IPTV is an emerging technology. It is predicted that by 2008, 20 million homes worldwide will subscribe to IPTV services. Yankee Group analysts say phone companies are pushing for this because their income from traditional services like phone and Internet are now under squeeze owing to competition.