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Showing posts from May, 2005

Home Networks Transform Behavior

Laptops And Home Networks Transform Behavior -- According to a recent study by Forrester Research, households that own a laptop computer and a home network are on the frontier of online activities. These advanced consumers spend twice as much time online as all dial-up households, are three times more likely than broadband-only households to go online in the living room, and watch an hour and a half less TV per week than the average household. With this group swelling from 4 million to 30 million households in the next five years, the cumulative effect on shopping, media consumption, and services will be dramatic.

ITU Approves VDSL2 Standard

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) officially approved the very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line 2 (VDSL2) standard. The new VDSL2 Recommendation (ITU-T G.993.2) delivers up to 100 Mbps both up and downstream, a ten-fold increase over "plain vanilla" ADSL. Yoichi Maeda, chairman of the ITU Telecommunications Standardization Sector (ITU-T) Study Group responsible for the work, said: "We have leveraged the strengths of ADSL, ADSL2+, and VDSL to achieve the very high performance levels you will see with VDSL2. This new standard is set to become an extremely important feature of the telecommunications landscape, and is a landmark achievement for our members, many of whom are relying on this Recommendation to take their businesses to the next level."

Telcos Different Paths to Video

RBOCs Entering the $50 Billion Multichannel Video Market Follow Different Product Development Strategies to Compete With MSOs -- According to Yankee Group, "Despite public statements to the contrary, we believe MSOs aren�t taking the threat of new competition lightly � and they shouldn�t: We estimate cable will lose subscribers at the rate of 0.5-1 percent per year. This is before the entry of new competition with a two-way network, with more bandwidth and potentially more advanced applications than the MSOs can provide. In the last 4 years, RBOCs have steadily lost residential wireline voice subscribers. Yankee estimates that about 4 percent of US households have dropped their wireline phones. In addition, a growing number of voice minutes are shifting to wireless. We expect traditional wireline voice revenue to decline by approximately 24 percent in the next 4 years. Alternative voice providers, including MSOs, will be important drivers of this revenue erosion. We anticipate tha

U.S. Mobile Number Portability

According to Pyramid Research, mobile number portability (MNP) was first instituted in the U.S. on November 24, 2003 � a date wireless carriers feared most. U.S. mobile operators braced themselves for what they expected to be one of the largest challenges within their industry. Eighteen months after its introduction, number portability has been more of a lumbering elephant and less of a roaring lion. At the onset, the FCC, wireless operators, and many industry analysts expected 30 million subscribers to transfer their wireless number within the first 12 months of MNP�s introduction. Only 7.8 million actually did. The top five national carriers have all added customers during this time, with AT&T/Cingular growing by about 5 percent on the low end, and T-Mobile growing by more than 33 percent on the high end. Overall, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile have been the biggest winners as they have focused on improving network quality and customer service. However, the new Cingular may soon

Market for Ad-Supported Mobile Services

Among males aged 13-34, music is the most appealing wireless multimedia service, followed by mobile TV and video, and multiplayer 3D gaming, according to a 1,000-participant survey conducted by The Management Network Group. The study also found that 40 percent of respondents said they would be receptive to mobile video clips that were free to watch but required them to also view multimedia advertisements, while under 20 percent were interested in mobile video monthly subscription services. Thirty-five percent of respondents reported strong interest in downloading music to their cell phones, while 21 percent were very interested in mobile multiplayer games. "The new generation of consumers is demanding greater choices, a more personalized telecommunications experience and will influence the direction that carriers will need to take as 3G and future mobile technology is delivered to the marketplace," said TMNG chairman and CEO Rich Nespola.

Increasing Demand for PVRs

Demand for Personal Video Recorder (PVR) products increased tremendously during the past year, as unit shipments rose from 4.6 million in 2003 to over 11.4 million in 2004, reports In-Stat. This demand stems from increased consumer awareness about the concept of time-shifting television programming, and both pay-TV service providers and PVR product manufacturers are reaping the benefits. PVR service providers, led by companies like TiVo and EchoStar, also enjoyed a banner year, as total worldwide households subscribing to a PVR service increased from 3.6 million in May 2004, to over 9.2 million in May 2005. North America remains the largest market for PVRs, followed by Japan. In 2004, the two regions accounted for 88 percent of total worldwide PVR product unit shipments. Worldwide PVR product revenues have also risen rapidly, increasing from $2.1 billion in 2003 to over $4.3 billion in 2004. A recent US consumer survey revealed that most PVR users are highly satisfied with their PVR se

Consumers Storing Video Files on PCs

The number of Americans with large video files stored on their PCs rose from 8 percent last year to 13 percent in March 2005, according to a survey conducted by market research firm NPD Group. Of the 13 percent who had a 150MB video file on their computers -- about the size of a half-hour TV show -- each additionally had an average of 15 such files on their PCs. "What will trouble many, especially in the film and video industry, is that some consumer collections include material that is clearly pirated," said NPD analyst Russ Crupnick. "In March, we noted several dozen full-length theatrical films on computers well before their expected DVD release date, including Ocean's Twelve, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Million Dollar Baby, The Aviator, The Ring Two, and Team America World Police." NPD plans to launch an ongoing PC survey of 40,000 panelist volunteers called MovieWatch Digital in the fourth quarter of 2005, which will monitor consum

WiMAX and Fixed Wireless Access Demand

Strategy Analytics predicts a market of more than 20 million WiMAX subscriber terminals and base stations per year in 2009, according to their recent study. The need for inexpensive last mile connections between users and high-speed backbone networks already deployed in the developing world will drive this demand. Although much smaller than the market for cellular terminals and base stations in terms of annual unit shipments, WiMAX will represent a significant opportunity for chip makers. According to Chris Taylor, Director of the Strategy Analytics RF & Wireless Component Service (RFWC), "Our analysis of provisioning costs, business models and demand leads us to conclude that WiMAX for fixed wireless broadband services alone will generate a modest but healthy market for chips and equipment by 2009. Major concerns still remain regarding battery life for mobile WiMAX, undefined mobile specifications, and probable competition with 3G and proposed 4G networks. However, these issu

New Home Networking Standards

The home networking arm of CEA was hard at work, approving two new standards. CEA-851-A defines an IP-enabled network for connecting cluster networks to a whole-home broadband distribution backbone in order to facilitate integrated operation of appliances and networked components. Based on IEEE 1394, this network will accommodate Ethernet as an attached network via a bridge, and directly with the introduction of IEEE 1394c. Called the versatile home network , it provides a flexible and open network architecture and communications protocol specification for digital devices in the home. CEA-2027-A defines a user-to-machine interface method that allows a source of home-network services, such as a cable or terrestrial set-top box, digital VCR or DTV, to utilize the presentation capabilities in a network-attached renderer such as a DTV display or PC. The standard enables user control of networked devices (either local to the user or remote) via another device�s (e.g., DTV or PC) Web browser

IP Multimedia Subsystem Networks

IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) is about to revolutionize the telecom market. According to ABI Research analyst Ian Cox, "Every Tier 1 service provider in fixed and wireless networks will announce SIP-based services running over IMS in the next six to twelve months." IMS began life as a wireless network architecture for adding IP-based services to existing circuit-switched voice. When Session Initiated Protocol (SIP) was introduced, IMS evolved to an open architecture: operators are not locked into a proprietary solution, nor are point solutions needed for each service. Soon fixed network providers began adapting it to IP networks. IMS allows a single device to use both fixed and wireless networks. IMS will allow many new services, including VoIP, to be offered simultaneously over SIP-enabled networks. Vendors can develop applications and equipment knowing they will be fully interoperable. Services can be tried quickly and discarded if unpopular. A single database holds all su

TiVo: Advertiser Pros and Cons

TV Ad Technology Vendor Profile: TiVo -- According to Forrester Research, TiVo's digital video recorders are popular, in part because they allow consumers to skip commercials easily. But even as its users gnaw away at television's traditional business model, TiVo offers advertisers an alternative. Behind its network of consumer devices, TiVo has deployed an advertising system that is based on voluntary viewing of long-form video advertisements. Today, the system has a limited reach of approximately 3 million subscribers and, unlike the vendors of most other ad systems, TiVo sells its own inventory. Both the reach and the sales model for these ads are likely to change in light of TiVo's recently announced deal with Comcast.

The Business Model for Telco TV

Telcos Need More Than TV And Broadband For ROI -- According to Forrester Research, Telcos, faced with a growing list of competitors and rising capital expenses, are looking to TV services to offset shrinking core revenues. But even coupled with voice and broadband Internet services, TV revenues will not recoup the costs of a multi-billion dollar broadband upgrade. Telcos will need to add a myriad of other services like home security, network-based storage, and video surveillance services to make a profit. Telcos core voice and data businesses have taken a beating. The mean monthly spend on local services has stagnated at $29.17 down from $31.70 in 2003. Monthly long distance spending has fallen from $18.33 to $12.75 during the same time. It will get worse, because VoIP promises to drive prices closer to $30 for unlimited local and nationwide long distance.

Triple-Play Revenue Forecast

Voice: The Biggest Slice of the Triple Play -- Increasingly service providers are pursuing a larger share of consumers' wallets and are doing so by selling a bundle of services. Rather than selling their traditional services, voice or cable, providers are crossing over to sell a full set of services including voice, video, and data. This triple play of services is also becoming increasingly attractive to consumers who are interested in the convenience and cost savings that are available through such offerings. According to In-Stat, total consumer spending on communication services, including local voice, long distance, cable TV, dial-up, and broadband was $114.8 billion in 2004. The largest revenue opportunity of this total wallet was voice services, with local and long distance combined accounting for more than 50 percent of revenues. Over time, service revenues are expected to deteriorate, falling to $106.7 billion in 2009. This decline in revenues is a factor of decreasing reve

Mobile Games Forecast at $11.2 Billion by 2010

Total global revenues from mobile games are forecast to increase from $2.6 billion this year to $11.2 billion by 2010, according to Mobile Games , a new strategic research report from Informa Telecoms and Media. Downloads will account for around two-thirds of total global revenues through 2010, but online multiplayer traffic will start to generate significant income for mobile operators, as cellcos launch more multiplayer games and introduce community features that will encourage user uptake. By 2010, online multiplayer games will generate 20.5 percent of total global revenues. "The Asia-Pacific and Europe will continue to dominate the global mobile gaming market in terms of revenues and users," says Pamela Clark-Dickson, co-author of the report. "However the U.S. is set to become the second largest individual market by revenues and users, behind Japan and China respectively, by 2010." Meanwhile the mobile games industry still has work to do to encourage mass-market

Downward Trends in Broadband Pricing

A new report from Point Topic provides an overview of the key trends in DSL and cable modem tariff benchmarks for 18 leading DSL and 16 cable modem operators around the world. The main body of the report analyses fluctuations in DSL prices since March 2000, cable modem prices since June 2003 and makes comparisons between both technologies where possible. Key highlights of this report include: DSL 'entry level' monthly rental prices registered an average 30 percent fall since March 2000, based on a review of monthly rentals offered by a leading set of 18 DSL operators. Monthly rentals for 'entry level' cable modem services fell on average by 21 percent between June 2003 and March 2005, compared to a modest 12 percent fall for DSL operators for the same period. A Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) analysis shows that Europe is becoming cheaper both for DSL and cable modem services than North America, with the Asia Pacific region the cheapest for DSL overall.

Consumer Interest in Mobile Video

According to a Jupiter Research report, "Video on Cell Phones: It's Real in 2005, but a Paying Consumer Audience Isn't," 44 percent of online consumers surveyed are interested in viewing video on their cell phones for free, but only 19 percent indicate they would be willing to pay anything for those services. Wireless carriers in the U.S. have launched mobile video applications demonstrating both the progress and the potential of the technology. The Jupiter report also finds the lack of network coverage, high prices for both handsets and service, and limited access to real time content, however, will dampen consumer interest in the near term. "Although consumer interest in mobile video is strong, the cell phone will remain a voice-centric device in the near term," stated Julie Ask, research director at Jupiter. "Only 4 percent of consumers cited the ability to watch video as a priority feature for them when purchasing their next handset. Carrier subsidi

Networked Broadband Households Forecast

Networked Broadband Households to Top 160 Million & Network-Connected Devices to Approach 1 Billion by 2010 -- According to new research from The Diffusion Group, global home network adoption is expected to grow from 35 million in 2004 to more than 162 million in 2010. This growth will be fueled in large part by broadband service providers who are beginning to push combined modem/networking solutions known as residential gateways (RGWs) into the homes of new broadband subscribers. TDG also forecasts that the number of network-connected devices will grow from 108 million in 2004 to just under 1 billion by 2010, growing from an average of approximately three networked devices per household in 2004 to approximately six devices by 2010. Despite the relatively tepid pace of global network adoption, home network penetration is nonetheless expected to reach millions of homes in Asia, Europe, and North America via service provider push strategies. Such push strategies will help drive sign

Leisure Time Playing Video Games

A recent survey of 13,000 consumers in 13 countries found that more than 20 percent of respondents said they spend up to half of their leisure time playing video games. Conducted by market research firm GMI, the poll found 30 percent of those surveyed in India and 20 percent of respondents in Mexico spend up to half of their leisure time playing games, compared with respondents from the U.S. (24%) and Germany (24%). Eighty percent of all consumers surveyed said they believe people will spend more time playing video games over the next ten years. "Relatively unexploited markets in Latin America and in Asia such as India offer new growth to the videogame industry," said analyst Billy Pidgeon. While 58 percent of consumers overall don't think games are a good form of social activity, this thinking is reversed in India and Mexico, where 4 percent and 64 percent of those surveyed, respectively, play games to socialize -- compared with other nations like the Netherlands and Fra

Mobile Subscriptions Reach 2+ Billion in 2005

According to Informa Telecoms & Media, the number of mobile subscriptions worldwide will reach 2.14 billion by the end of 2005, having already surpassed the 1.8 billion mark. Building on record growth of 354 million in 2004, net additions are again expected to exceed 350 million in 2005. Rapid growth in key developing markets will not be offset by a decline in mature markets to the extent previously expected. Reductions in access fees in expanding markets such as Nigeria and Mexico have had an impact on short-term growth. The Russian mobile market grew by 89 percent in 2004 on the back of four previous years of annual growth in excess of 100 percent, and Russia alone is forecast to account for 43 percent of net additions in Central and Eastern Europe in 2005-2010. The Chinese mobile market, which exceeded the 400-million-subscription mark in March 2005, is forecast to grow by 65 percent by the end of 2010. Indonesia is forecast to exceed 50 million subscriptions in 2007. According

BBC Launches Market Trial of iMP

The BBC announced that it has begun to trial a new program download technology in 5,000 U.K. households that could pave the way to endless TV repeats -- The BBC said it hoped to deliver its interactive Media Player (iMP), or "iTunes for the broadcast industry", by year's end, allowing viewers to download any shows from the previous week. Once up and running, the service, currently in its second stage, will make around 190 hours of TV shows and 310 hours of radio programs available for legal downloading across the U.K., the BBC said. "iMP will allow our audience to access our TV and radio programs on their terms -- anytime, any place, any how," said Ashley Highfield, BBC director of new media and technology. "We'll see what programs appeal in this new world and how people search, sort, snack and savor our content in the broadband world." Increasing numbers of people are using the internet to access audio visual material, but Mr. Highfield has warned

Residential WLAN Vendor Profits at Risk

According to In-Stat, while residential WLAN equipment shipment volumes have increased strongly since Apple first launched its AirPort line of 802.11b-compliant consumer WLAN gear in 2000, prices have eroded sharply over the past several years, and few vendors are making a profit. In-Stat forecasts the SOHO/consumer AP market will rise from approximately 17.6 million units in 2004 to roughly 32.6 million units in 2009. A major story in this market is a key transition from the 802.11g air standard to MIMO-based products. "In-Stat believes that there will be a gradually shrinking price premium for MIMO/802.11n throughout the forecast period," says Sam Lucero, In-Stat analyst. "The benefits of dramatically increased range appear to be resonating with consumers, actually more so than the increased throughput offered, and we believe customers are willing to pay the extra amount for whole-home coverage." Eventually, while 802.11g will remain throughout the forecast period

FTTH: Behind the Numbers

There's good news and bad news about the U.S. fiber growth -- On the good news side, fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) installations have grown 83 percent since last October and fiber now reaches 398 communities in 43 states, according to research released by the Fiber Optic Communities in the United States (FOCUS). On the bad news side, the U.S. is badly lagging the rest of the world in fiber deployment and is, in fact, losing ground. '"There are roughly 213,000 premises wired with fiber today out of 100-some million. It's not a very big percentage," said Max Kipfer, FOCUS' founder and president. "As a country we dropped to 16th in the world in fiber deployments." Europe has over a half million and Japan has 1.2 million fiber-connected premises. Ninety percent of Danish residents have access to 10 megs of data or better and pay only 30 Euros a month for it, he said. "We're a long way away and we're dropping fast," he said. Kipfer blamed sev

Competition Heats Up for DSLAMs

Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexers (DSLAMs) port shipments grew at a solid rate in 2004, but the rate of growth is expected to decline in coming years as the DSL market matures, reports In-Stat. The competition in the DSLAM market is fierce with many large global vendors and small vendors competing for contracts, a trend that will shrink average selling prices over the next several years, the high-tech market research firm says. "Worldwide DSLAM revenues will stay relatively flat, ranging from $3.1 - $3.3 billion over the next several years," says Henry Goldberg, In-Stat analyst. "The market will be highly competitive, with vendors increasing revenues only by taking market share away from other vendors." Alcatel had the leading market share in all regions, except the Asia-Pacific region, in 2004. Huawei had the second-leading worldwide market share, driven by their sales to the booming broadband market in China. IP DSLAMs are growing in popularity, and wil

Music Listening: Radio is Down, Online is Up

While traditional radio remains the most popular means of accessing music, radio listening has declined 4 percent in the last year while listening to music on a computer has increased by 22 percent, according to a survey of 5,000 consumers conducted by NPD Group. The study noted that 194 million people reported listening to the radio in March, while 77.2 million listened on a computer. Online radio listening increased 18 percent to 53.5 million, as did free streaming of online music, which was up 37 percent to 46.1 million consumers. NPD also found that the number of consumers ripping music onto their computers increased 102 percent from a year ago, while transferring music to MP3 players jumped 127 percent and paying to download songs grew 93 percent. "The rise of digital listening and storage for music continues unabated this year," said NPD Group's Russ Crupnick. "Technology companies are providing new tools to consumers in the form of powerful music-enabled PCs a

Success of iTunes May Be Short Lived

Subscription Services Will Replace Downloads as the Dominant Online Music Model -- While online music stores like Apple's iTunes have attracted millions of customers by selling downloads of songs or albums, changing market conditions will make subscription-based music services the dominant model for selling online music in the future. That is the conclusion of "Online Music: Will Napster Be the Next iTunes as Subscriptions Replace Downloads?" a new report from Strategy Analytics. According to this report, the shift toward subscription music services will be driven by a combination of changing consumer expectations as well as pressure from broadband service providers and record companies. In addition to changing consumer needs, the report notes that many broadband service providers prefer to offer a subscription service, such as Real Networks' Rhapsody, which generates steady monthly revenues and helps deter broadband churn. Finally, major record companies are dissatis

U.S. Video Game Console Forecast

The release of next-generation consoles from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo will propel the U.S. market for video game consoles from $8.7 billion in 2004 to $11.7 billion in 2010, according to a report from Jupiter Research. The nearly $4 billion in revenue growth is projected despite an anticipated overall slowing of audience growth for game consoles: the firm predicts 2 percent annualized growth in the installed base for upcoming consoles, compared with the 8 percent annualized growth in installed base experienced by the current generation of consoles. Jupiter also predicted that Microsoft would reap only modest benefits should it launch its Xbox 360 this fall, ahead of its competitors, in contrast to the impressive head start that Sony got with its first-to-market launch of the PlayStation 2. "The market is going to be more evenly split this round -- regardless of when the players launch," said Jupiter senior analyst Jay Horwitz.

Multimedia Mobile Handsets Demand

Early Adopters Not Enthused About Multimedia Handsets -- The cellular phone industry's hype machine has been in high gear over innovative music- and TV-centric devices and services, but a new In-Stat report shows that some early-adopters are lukewarm about them. Fewer than 9 percent of respondents to an In-Stat early-adopter consumer survey were very or extremely interested in buying a cell phone capable of playing MP3 or other music files, and less than 11 percent were very or extremely interested in broadcast TV functionality. Only in the past year or so have smartphones started to build a significant market, after several years of hits and misses. A similar road is likely ahead for multimedia cell phones. Some mobile programming is quite clear: news and weather are winners.

Portable Media Player Market Evolves

ABI Research says that today's portable digital audio and video players needs to become truly portable, in the way that old portable cassette and CD players were -- Vamsi Sistla, director of residential entertainment research said, "Today's so-called portables are still tied by an umbilical cord to the computer and a wired broadband connection. The industry should address these shortcomings." Today the signs are that the industry agreed, and true portability is beginning to arrive. Analyst Joseph Yau, who has just updated their 2004 study, reports that Wi-Fi networking capabilities are starting to appear in portable audio players. "Although such models are still few in number, they will become a flood in 2006," he says. Thomson is even introducing a product line that will interface the player directly with a home hi-fi system, without the need for an intermediary PC and broadband connection. On the video side, EchoStar has just invested $10 million in player

U.S. Satellite Broadcaster Growth Results

EchoStar and DirecTV, the two competing satellite broadcasters in the United States, have both announced increases in their number of subscribers -- EchoStar added around 325,000 new subscribers to its Dish Network in the first quarter of the 2005, bringing its total number of satellite customers to 11.23 million. DirecTV added over half a million subscribers in the United States in the same period, an increase of over 20 percent on the previous year. At the end of March, DirecTV had a total of 14.45 million customers, a 14 percent increase on a year previously. Chase Carey, president and chief executive of DirecTV, said the company is moving quickly to enhance its service, launching three new satellites to allow it to introduce compelling new programming services. At the end of the year the company will also introduce a Home Media Center.

Next Generation Set-Top Boxes

The market for set-top boxes -- the consumer's main point of connection to cable-based services -- is huge, and will remain so for some time. But the shape of the STB's next generation replacement or evolution is already discernable, and it's called the Home (or Broadband) Media Center. The idea, according to ABI Research, is to combine a number of electronic devices in one package. STBs, cable modems, personal video recorders, computer interface, and telephone connection boxes are all likely candidates, and plans even include interfaces for controlling household heating and appliances. ABI is skeptical about some vendors' plans to incorporate CD/DVD players in their home media centers. They won't offer the same functionality or quality as stand-alone units, they won't generate easy profits, and they will be unpopular with entertainment content owners. ABI believes that home media centers may start to replace STBs in the United States around 2008, but that the p

Report on IPTV Content Strategies

MRG is announcing a new installment of its IPTV Tracking Service series, IPTV Content Strategies - May 2005. This report provides a comprehensive analysis of IPTV (IP TV) content deployment strategies in four major global markets. It reveals how international and local content developers, aggregators, and consultants are assisting IPTV service providers in the design and deployment of linear video, video-on-demand (VOD), and interactive services. "IPTV services cannot simply mimic cable or satellite to be successful," states Bob Larribeau, MRG Senior Analyst. "Service providers have to offer different and better choices to succeed against cable or satellite." On the way out is "forced buy-through," which requires consumers to subscribe up to 80 "basic" channels before accessing premium channels; and on the way in is "personalization," where consumers have direct choice over large groupings of linear and VOD channels, rather than paying

European Mobile Penetration to Reach 100%

According to a new forecast issued by market research firm Analysys, mobile phone penetration in Western Europe is expected to exceed 100 percent by 2007 -- The report predicted that penetration would grow from 90 percent this year to 98 percent by 2006 and 100 percent in 2007. Mobile penetration already exceeds 100 percent in several European countries, including Italy, Sweden and the U.K. Analysys said growth stagnated in some markets that have tried to stabilize ARPU (Average Revenue per User) by converting customers from pre-pay to contract, but added that 3G would be a catalyst for growth in Europe, with consumers buying new mobile phones and SIM cards to gain access to new services. "With the advent of 3G, operators have an opportunity to stabilize and potentially even grow voice ARPU by using the efficiency of the technology and offering large bundles of minutes," said analyst Alex Zadvorny.

100 Million Cellular - VoWi-Fi Phones in 2010

According to a new study from ABI Research, annual global sales of dual-mode mobile phones -- which can connect to either a conventional cellular service or a Wi-Fi network -- are likely to exceed 100 million during the final year of this decade. Such dual-mode handsets have been virtually unknown to consumers until now, and have not penetrated the enterprise space to any degree either. But according to ABI, some of the leaders of global telecom -- notably British Telecom and Korea Telecom -- plan to offer dual-mode services by the end of 2005. That could start a very large ball rolling. Though the full spectrum of capabilities won't appear in the first generation of products, when these services are mature you will be able to start a phone call at home (where your phone connects to your residential Wi-Fi network and then to your broadband Voice over IP phone service), continue it in your car (where the phone switches to your cellular provider's network), and wind it up at wor

Advertising Model for Video On-Demand

VOD Advertising Showcases Will Transform TV Advertising, according to Forrester Research -- Networks and cable operators imagine a world where the best programs are available on-demand, supported by advertising. The reality: standards and measurement fall short, and advertisers, while intrigued, aren't ready to commit. But thinking about VOD ads only as 30-second spots is a mistake. VOD will finally succeed when it includes traditional spots, long-form video advertising showcases, and links that join the two. Advertisers should invest in this advertising on-demand format as soon as Comcast and Time Warner Cable make it available � within the next 18 months. Both networks and operators will profit as new advertising dollars come flowing in from direct marketing and Internet budgets. Forrester conducted confidential interviews with 20 advertisers and agencies. They also spoke with seven networks, three cable operators, and several vendors of VOD hardware and software.

Demand for Integrated Telecom Services

While integrated telecom services continue to be futuristic in concept, perceived consumer demand for these services is growing, reports In-Stat -- Over half of the respondents to an In-Stat consumer survey indicated a desire to purchase integrated services. Integrated services will allow providers to actually tie what have been disparate networks together (primarily landline, wireless, and voice) and offer a new class of services. Cell-phone/landline integration continued to have the highest positive response, with 62 percent of respondents indicating an interest in purchasing this service, as compared to 51 percent respondent interest in a 2004 survey. "The meaningful way of tying the pieces of telecom services together has quickly evolved from simply single-bill bundling to talk of integrating the various networks customers use into unified, experience-based service offerings," says Amy Cravens, In-Stat analyst. The survey also revealed that the 18 to 34-age bracket, as w

Consumer Broadband Value-Added Services

Revenue earned by consumer broadband value-added services (BVAS) more than doubled during 2004 -- At the beginning of the year it was running at an annual rate of about $3.3 billion worldwide. By the end of the year the figure was $6.9 billion. This is the first time it has been possible to estimate the growth of this new market, using the data provided by the second edition of Point Topic's report on The Consumer BVAS Market . The BVAS market is vitally important for service providers who need to find ways of increasing the revenue they receive from broadband services. The 2004 results are good news for them from this point of view. Most value-added services delivered over broadband increased in both users and total revenues. Services such as video over broadband, music and voice over IP (VoIP) all grew strongly. The increase in the run-rate of revenues was much steeper than the growth in the number of consumer broadband lines, which grew about 45 percent to 131 million, or in con

SBC's IP Services Petition Denied by FCC

The FCC denied a petition from SBC Communications requesting that Title II common carrier regulations not be applied to IP services -- The petition was denied on procedural grounds rather than as a matter of policy. In February 2004, SBC filed a petition asking the FCC to forbear from applying Title II common carrier regulation to IP Platform Services, which it defined as "those services that enable any customer to send or receive communications in IP format over an IP platform, and the IP platforms on which those services are provided." In this ruling, the FCC reasoned that it would be inappropriate to grant SBC�s petition because it asks the FCC to forbear from enforcing requirements that may not even apply to the facilities and services in question. The FCC has not yet decided the extent to which IP-enabled services are covered by Title II and its implementing rules. Therefore, the FCC cannot forbear from applying rules that have not yet been defined.

China to Top U.S. in Broadband Subscribers

If the competitiveness of nations can be measured by their broadband subscriber rolls, then the United States is on the verge of losing its leadership to China, market researchers at iSuppli Corporation suggest -- China already is rapidly approaching the United States as the country with the largest number of broadband subscribers, according to the El Segundo, California-based firm, and by the end of the year, China is expected to have 34 million subscribers, compared to 39 million in the United States. By the end of 2007, China is expected to have 57 million broadband subscribers, compared to 54 million in the United States, with an even wider lead in the years to follow. As nations jockey for economic advantage, broadband access is emerging as a key competitive differentiator, iSuppli noted. iSuppli estimates that at the end of 2004, the United States ranked 15th worldwide for broadband penetration of Internet homes. If nothing dramatic occurs, iSuppli expects America�s ranking to co

Nielsen to Integrate P2P "Top Swaps"

Nielsen to Integrate "Top Swaps" P2P Download Data from BigChampagne -- Media ratings provider Nielsen Entertainment on Wednesday announced a partnership with Big Champagne, to integrate the company's peer-to-peer file-sharing network monitoring data into Nielsen radio airplay ratings. The addition will place data on top swaps alongside Nielsen's radio airplay data on the company's -- to provide record labels, artists and radio stations with a new source of information on music trends. "The linkage of Nielsen Entertainment's Actionable Entertainment Intelligence in music with Big Champagne's P2P charts is the beginning of a broader new landscape we plan to map, detailing the interrelationship between technology and consumption," said Nielsen Entertainment president and CEO Andrew Wing. Beverly Hills, California-based BigChampagne's data is culled from monitoring P2P networks like Kazaa, and is also syndicated by Entertainment We

Record Year for Digital TV Sales

According to the latest research from the Strategy Analytics Connected Home Devices service, manufacturers sold 49.3 million digital TV receivers worldwide in 2004, a 50 percent increase on the previous year and an all-time record. Revenue growth was even higher, at 70 percent, because of the growing importance of higher value integrated digital TVs. Global demand will continue to soar in 2005 and beyond as new services are launched and the user base expands. New digital terrestrial television and IPTV services will be key drivers of device sales over the next five years. Strategy Analytics predicts that 2005 sales of digital TV receivers (set-top boxes and integrated digital TVs) will grow a further 38 percent to reach 68.2 million units. By 2010 annual sales will have reached 181.3 million units, worth $39.1 billion in retail revenues. Because of the strength of its integrated digital TV market, North America will account for 65 percent of revenues in 2010. Asia-Pacific will account

Picture Quality Drives Digital TV

The move to digital television will be driven by high-definition TV (HDTV) a study has found -- Picture quality is the most important factor in persuading Europeans to ditch their analogue sets, the survey from Jupiter Research finds. It had been assumed that services such as video-on-demand and digital video recorders - that allow users to rewind and pause television programmes - would be the most important factors. But only 10 percent cited these as reasons. Nearly a quarter -- 24 percent -- ranked HDTV as the most important factor in deciding whether to switch to digital television. In terms of existing digital TV penetration, the UK market is the most sophisticated in Europe. Around 60 percent of UK households have already made the switch to digital TV.

Demand for VoWLAN - Cellular Combo Phones

In the last year, interest in phones that combine cellular and VoIP using WLAN technology has grown at a fevered pitch, according to consumer surveys by In-Stat -- A large percentage, 84.6%, of respondents in a new survey were at least somewhat interested in the prospect of using a VoWLAN/Cellular phone, and exactly half of these respondents were very interested or extremely interested in the prospects of such a phone. The survey uncovered the following key points: Better in-building coverage and the prospect of being able to make unlimited local calls while at home had the biggest importance. PBX-type features and the need to only carry one phone at work, home, or elsewhere received very positive responses, but nowhere as high as free local calling at home or better in-building coverage. The survey gives some credence to the ability of cellular carriers to potentially further displace wire-line carriers.

TI Develops SOC for Portable Media Centers

Texas Instruments (TI) is working with Microsoft on future versions of Windows Mobile-based Portable Media Centers. The development is based on a TI system-on-a-chip (SOC), a highly- integrated Digital Media processor targeted specifically for portable applications, capable of supporting QVGA resolution for Windows Media Video 9, as well as up to D1 resolution of other commonly used video formats. TI's Digital Media processor is a multi-core device, embedding a digital signal processor (DSP) and an ARM core. It has an integrated peripheral set, supporting the base Portable Media Center requirements, as well as many of the additional options available to Portable Media Center developers. It features an integrated video encoder, hardware video accelerators and USB host capabilities. "Portable Media Centers have created new opportunities for people to take their entertainment -- video, photos and music -- with them anywhere, anytime," said John Pollard, director of Windows M

124.8 Million Mobile TV Users by 2010

Informa Telecoms and Media predicts that there will be 124.8 million broadcast mobile TV users worldwide by 2010, with an inflection point expected in 2009 as network rollout and device availability allow for the market to reach some level of critical mass. The most advanced networks will be S-DMB and T-DMB services, dominating broadcast TV handset sales worldwide from its strongholds of South Korea and Japan. By 2010, there will be 18.11 million terrestrial DMB subscribers, compared with 15.02 million satellite DMB users worldwide. �Despite its slow start, DVB-H will become the dominant format in 2008, reaching significant levels worldwide reaching 74.03 million users by 2010, equating to almost 60% of all broadcast mobile TV users." In terms of devices, the market is forecast to grow from a total of 0.13 million units in 2005 to 83.5 million by 2010. In comparison with mobile video-capable phones, broadcast handset sales will be outstripped by almost 5-to-1 by 2010.

Comcast Reports Q1 2005 Results

Comcast Cable reported revenue of $5.1 billion for Q1, representing a $453 million or 9.7% increase from the $4.7 billion in the first quarter of 2004. Comcast High-Speed Internet service revenue increased 32.5% to $925 million. Video revenue increased $178 million or 5.6% to $3.4 billion in Q1. Comcast added 414,000 cable modem customers in Q1 giving it a total of 7.4 million subscribers, representing a penetration rate of 18.3% of available homes. Average monthly revenue per subscriber was $42.81 in the first quarter of 2005, a slight increase from the first quarter of 2004. Comcast Cable added 200,000 new digital customers, giving it a total of 8.8 million subscribers. Digital cable penetration reached 41.1% of basic subscribers. Comcast has deployed a combined 1.6 million set-top boxes with DVR and/or HDTV programming capability, an increase of more than 1 million in the past year. More than 428,000 or 25% of these advanced set-top boxes were deployed in Q1, generating an increment

Battle Lines for Control of the Digital Home

Controlling Key Distribution Points in the Digital Home Value Chain will Determine Who Gets Lion's Share of $90 Billion US Broadband Profit Pool -- "The digital home revenue and profit landscape will be determined in large part by which players dominate key "control points" in the digital home, according to The Diffusion Group. several examples of these control points, include: Network access - the physical link to the home; Media access, including protocols and formats - including digital rights management (DRM), asset management, and video standards; Delivery and application platforms - including content delivery, device management, and operations system and support software/middleware; and Unique and defendable IP - including content creation and imaging technologies, as well as operating systems. As convergence technologies work their way deeper into the broadband homes, competing players will have the chance to solidify market position and extract higher profits

High IPR Costs Affecting 3G Market

The mobile industry could spend $80-100 billion on WCDMA-IP-royalty payments up to 2017, sparking fears about the future of second-tier vendors and the level of innovation entering the 3G market. Mounting concern that royalty payments will soon approach 25-30 percent of the vendor's average selling price has prompted operators to approach the GSM Association for support in a bid to limit payments to a single-digit figure. According to Informa Telecoms and Media, "the cost of so-called essential IPRs could skyrocket if leading vendors do not agree to the single-digit cap. The issue is compounded by Nokia-backed research that states Qualcomm �- which has already agreed a royalty rate of between 4.65 and 6 percent with some handset vendors �- does not hold as many essential IPRs as it claims to." If the other main IPR holders �- Nokia, Motorola, and Ericsson -� license their patents at a similar level to Qualcomm, it will lead to a rise in the cost of the basic technologies