Internet Protocol television (IPTV) is delivered over broadband i.e. over video signals received from the internet via the set-top box and is a newly growing TV platform which may disrupt the traditional TV businesses globally as it promises lower costs for operators and users alike and the direct proof for this comes from the Asia-Pacific IPTV market revenues which are expected to cross $3 billion by 2013; a substantial increase from the $353.4 million revenue in 2006.Using IPTV, videos can be live streamed more efficiently to houses than the traditional broadcast TV coaxial cables.
The leveraging in flexibility and scalability in IPTV is accomplished by total transformation of television experience by giving access to superior quality, personalized and interactive content that is otherwise missing in ordinary broadcast TV.
Anil Ambani led Reliance Communications is believed to have tied up with Microsoft for technological collaborations for the Reliance IPTV which is currently available only in few parts of the country like Mumbai and New Delhi and is looking for various metros to expand and promises viewers the best TV viewing experience ever. Every aspect of the Reliance IPTV interface (service) is thoughtfully and simplistically designed to make customers viewing experience enjoyable. However, Reliance Communications is not the first company to launch this service in the country; the other companies being MTNL which has already launched its IPTV and BSNL is about to launch it soon. Moreover, certain industry insiders believe that competition in this segment is going to tremendously increase because by the time Reliance launches its IPTV services, Tata and Bharti Airtel would have already entered the IPTV market.
Features and services
- The Reliance IPTV is a high definition TV with a multi-function remote and a transparent interface. The live TV feature enables users to change channels instantly, pause and play, use alternate audio, use mini-guide and navigate from anywhere.
- The program guide offers users a dual guide view – grid and lifestyle, picture in picture (PIP), reordering of the channels, recording of current / in play program, scheduling recording for future live TV program and view the TV guide from the IPTV website / mobile which is in addition to the normal program guide available on other DTH services.
- The Pay-per-view (PPV) feature has lots to offer which includes recording a PPV event, automatic detection of event availability as well as displaying PPV advertisements while viewing upcoming PPV events. It displays notifications using text, graphics and videos; all the three combined.
- Reliance IPTV supports both RDP(remote desktop protocol) and browser based applications offering the highest quality graphics and bi-directional interaction including PIN protection.
- Users can manage parental controls, home media sharing, search, language and channel settings including account subscription and billing. Reliance IPTV offers On-demand TV video services, interactive TV and a personal TV all combined into one whose salient features have already been described above.
- This IPTV comes with a set top box with/without an 80-100 GB hard drive. The one without hard drive can be used for real time video viewing on demand, home media sharing, instant channel change, HD with HDMI and DVD like functions for video viewing on demand. These features are all available in the one with the hard drive but this one has digital video recording as well as up-to 50 hours of live TV and HD content recording.
- Last but not the least, a wireless keyboard can be connected to this IPTV and Reliance also plans to rope in the additional features of online shopping, e-learning and e-banking on the IPTV. All the features mentioned above are in addition to those available on regular DTH services.
The pricing of the Reliance IPTV is very flexible with the top end package offering free subscription for 3 months for Rs 1490, 6 months for Rs 2490, 9 months for Rs 3990 and Rs 4990 for 12 months free subscription.
Package prices will range from Rs 100-175 and Rs 30 per package in the regional packages category. Reliance hopes to make the IPTV available in 1 lakh outlets in over 6500 towns in India by the end of 2011.
How well it fares in the Indian market? Well, that is a question many people are asking!