Is Cable TV Obsolete? Examining the Future of Television: IPTV

“New technology combined with proper marketing could make IPTV a true contender in the oligopoly that is the Canadian cable industry.”

By Tony Ge, Online Staff Writer

Telus has been a recent addition in the ranks of TV providers in Canada. Its entrance into the industry has been making the big players, namely Bell and Rogers, quite uneasy.  Their worries are well-founded because Telus unveiled a new cutting-edge way of providing TV to the public: through the internet.

That’s right.  The internet has finally cracked the door to Canadian living rooms.

The technology is called IPTV or Internet Protocol Television, and it provides quite a few perks that are not offered by the traditional analogue and digital cable television.  The concept is similar to that of VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol); the service is delivered through the internet using a special protocol which is separate from your normal internet usage. By using the internet, IPTV allows much more flexibility and interactivity.

How is IPTV better in terms of features and specs?

First, IPTV uses a set-top box – an Xbox 360 will do fine – which acts as a hub for as many as 6 TVs in a household.  The implication is that you can access recorded content from anywhere in the house or simultaneously at 6 locations.  You can also record 3 shows on 3 TVs concurrently. Of course, pause, play and rewind features come standard.

Second, thanks to the fibre optic cables used for IPTV, access to shows are lightning fast.  You also have access to a search engine on your TV, which can be used to find a show, an actor, or even a sport.  This makes channel surfing and TV guides utterly obsolete.  In the event that you do wish to channel surf however, you can change channels a lot faster on IPTV compared to digital cable.

Third, IPTV integrates video-on-demand and rental services, much like Netflix.

Fourth, IPTV allows you to quench all of your social networking needs in the comfort of your couch.  Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, you name it.

Currently, there are less than 300, 000 subscribers of IPTV in Canada. However, Telus is aggressively promoting the service by offering a free home PVR and an Xbox360 to all new subscribers.  Indeed, new technology combined with proper marketing could make IPTV a true contender in the oligopoly that is the Canadian cable industry. Perhaps the added competition would give consumers more leverage with these telecom giants.

By Tony Ge, Online Staff Writer

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