Which markets are you finding more traction for IPTV these days?
IPTV is picking up in Asia and Eastern Europe. It is not doing so well Western Europe and North America. The only major player in North America is AT&T.
Within Asia what has been your experience in markets such as India, Japan and China?
China and Japan are 2 different markets. In Japan it is all about HD. In China we see 50-100 channels kind of set up and that is nearly all SD. We do not see HD in China yet. Another aspect about China is that some of the operators are not using middleware. Subscribers go up and down the channels on the remote control. Some of the deployments I have there are live TV channels. There is little conditional access and in most cases no video-on-demand. I am not aware of any installation in China that uses VOD.
Moving over to India there was a lot of noise recently from players like BSNL, MTNL and Bharti Airtel.
BSNLâ€™s IPTV will be based on our solution. In fact all but Reliance are using our solution. Bharti has not started the service yet. In India the lowest number of channels you start with is 150. But it is mostly SD.
What will be the single biggest trend during 2008 in IPTV?
The main trend we are likely to see is the popularity of Internet TV. This is a major competition for IPTV providers going forward. Internet TV is especially gaining popularity in the US. If you log into the websites of content owners such as Fox you see good quality videos that you can download.
I guess over the top service providers would be another trend. Right?
Yes everyone is talking about it. But I have not seen it happening yet.
One observation is that in the UK and France and in several other countries you have subscribers using IPTV services as secondary TV services. What implications does this have for IPTV industry going forward?
I know a bit about Free in France and all their customers use IPTV service. I donâ€™t know much about the UK market. We have a customer in Ireland offering a bundle and all their customers also have the IPTV services.
Which is exactly what my questions is about. In the bundle they have IPTV available. But at the same time they have service from someone like SKY. So IPTV gets relegated to a secondary TV service.
That might probably apply just to the UK market where sky has a dominant position.
Why did IPTV not grow as expected in 2007? Which factors are keeping it from growing fast?
Unless we see reduction in set-top box prices we are not going to see mass adoption. That is probably the most important factor.
What about the integration issues?
We are well integrated with companies like UTStarcom, Huawei and ZTE. So we have not run into those kinds of issues.