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Showing posts from June, 2005

Federal Excise Tax Fiasco, Revisited

The Spanish-American War may have ended over a century ago, but anyone in the U.S. with a telephone line is paying a 3 percent luxury tax created to fund the conflict in 1898 -- That's a situation that a number of Republican senators would like to change. This week, they introduced a bill to repeal the Spanish-American War levy. "Common sense dictates that repeal of the telephone excise tax is long overdue," said Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. "Communication is not a luxury. It has become part of the basic fabric of our social and economic life." Other sponsors of the Senate legislation include Republicans Mike Crapo of Idaho and Gordon Smith of Oregon. A related bill is pending in the House of Representatives. The obscure telecommunications tax took center stage in January when a congressional committee suggested the tax could be extended to include "all data communications services" including broadband, dial-up, fiber, cable modems, cellular and DSL (dig

Buzz Builds Around MPEG-4 AVCs

Enthusiasm is still building around the nascent MPEG-4 AVC market, but the use of advanced video decoders does not mean that MPEG-2-only decoders will disappear from the market soon, reports In-Stat. In fact, MPEG-2 unit shipments are expected to experience growth until 2009, though declining ASPs for MPEG-2 solutions will cause revenues to decline, the high-tech market research firm says. "Buzz is really all there is to MPEG-4 AVC currently," says Michelle Abraham, In-Stat analyst. "We expect the market will be small in 2005, as many decoder IC suppliers have been conducting interoperability testing with encoder suppliers. We expect widespread availability of MPEG-4 AVC decoder ICs beginning in 2006." The worldwide MPEG Video IC market revenues for 2004 were US$ 3.8 billion. MPEG-4 Video ICs will appear in more and more mobile handsets as mobile video delivery systems based on standards like DVB-H and DMB are deployed around the world. In the MPEG-2 consumer encode

France Telecom Launches NExT

Today Didier Lombard, France Telecom's Chairman and CEO, presented the Group's programme for 2006 - 2008 to employees, the financial community and the press. NExT (New Experience in Telecom services) will give customers access to a universe of services that are both high value and simple. The programme will also enable the Group to pursue its transformation as an integrated operator, supported by its renewed model for profitable growth. In 2006, France Telecom will roll out a single portal to provide its clients a simpler interface and a "unified customer experience" when accessing the Group's services. This portal, adapted to each client, can be accessed using a variety of terminals, not only computers. The single portal will act as a simple and practical interface with all the services of the France Telecom Group. As part of its transformation plan, France Telecom announced a 25 percent increase in employee training efforts and a reinforced staff incentive progr

Google Launches Video Search Service

Google has launched a new video search service, which lets users search closed-captioned texts and view indexed video on a Google-branded video viewer. The service includes video provided by CNN, PBS, Unicef, Greenpeace and CNET Networks, among others. For now, the service is free to use and does not display advertisements, although Google aims to eventually offer hosting of independently produced video and allow producers to charge viewers, taking a cut for itself. Google Video is only available in English, and the video viewer works only with Internet Explorer versions 5 and higher and Firefox for Windows. There are no advertisements on the site yet. The service is another step in the search giant's expansion into more comprehensive media services. Google has confirmed it is working on a payment system but says it will not be a direct competitor to eBay's PayPal online payment system. However, there is ample speculation that the payment system will enable more broad-based vid

BT to Trial Microsoft IPTV Software

Microsoft announced that U.K. telecommunications giant BT will use its Microsoft TV IPTV software to deliver TV over broadband to its subscribers. BT will trial Microsoft's IPTV software in early 2006, with plans to launch a commercial service next summer for its 20 million consumer and business customers. The announcement comes a week after Australia's largest telecommunications provider, Telstra, decided not to advance its lab trials with Microsoft IPTV software into its customers' homes. Microsoft is also testing its IPTV software in the U.S. with providers including SBC, which recently signed a ten-year, $400 million deal to use the software. The IPTV service will include customizable channel lineups, video-on-demand, digital video recording, interactive program guides, event notifications and content protection features. Microsoft will also resell the IPTV platform through Alcatel.

Networked SOHO Worker Segmentation

According to The Diffusion Group, new research suggests that those classified as "home office workers" are neither homogenous nor early adopters as once believed. TDG's latest report reveals that while home business owners are more likely than others to subscribe to broadband and own a home network, they are not necessarily more likely to own or be interested in purchasing new media devices or services that do not have any obvious business application. Nearly one-third of self-employed home office workers own home networks, compared to 20 percent of other households. However, they are 19 percent less likely to be using wireless networking technology. "Home office workers include home business owners of many different types as well as full- and part-time telecommuters," says TDG. "In order to understand these consumers properly, it's important to make the right distinctions about the different subgroups included under the home office worker umbrella. By

u-Korea: Anytime, Anywhere, Any Device

Striving to keep its IT lead, Seoul appears anxious to create a nation of gadget freaks -- In today�s South Korea, everyone from government agencies to telecommmunications carriers to equipment vendors is chanting in unison what may well be the new national mantra: �anytime, anywhere, and on any device.� The word ubiquitous has become just that. Creating a �u-Korea� is the goal in Seoul�s aggressive push to stay in the global vanguard of information and communications technology. Behind this government-led drive is a deep-seated fear that South Korea�s IT boom will slow as the country nears saturation. Already, South Korea counts 35 million mobile subscribers out of a total population of only 47 million. Broadband penetration is the highest in the world, with 12 million high-speed Internet subscribers. �Korea has entered into a mature period characterized by slow growth,� said Yong-Kyung Lee, president and CEO of telecom operator KT, in a keynote address delivered at the u-Korea Vision

DVR Market Research Debate

DVR view: Fast forward or slo-mo? -- Industry observers and research firms say that digital video recorders are popular in the U.S., but there�s little they agree on beyond that, such as how quickly DVRs will reach critical mass and what effect the commercial-skipping gadgets will have on the TV advertising industry. Case in point: Research and consulting firm Accenture predicted late last week that DVRs will reach into 40 percent of U.S. homes by 2009, up from 8 percent today. Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, meanwhile, says in its latest five-year forecast that only 23.6 percent of U.S. households will boast DVRs in 2009. Accenture says up to 50 percent of all commercials are skipped in homes with DVRs, while PwC, citing a CBS study, says that 64 percent of DVR viewers skip all commercials, and 26 percent skip most of them. Accenture says that ad skipping will result in a slower-growing TV ad industry, while PwC�s �Global Entertainment and Media Outlook: 2005-2009� report conc

European Youth Avoids TV, Radio for Web

European youth are spending less time watching TV and listening to the radio in favor of surfing the Internet, according to a survey of 15-24 year-olds across Europe conducted by the European Interactive Advertising Association (EIAA). Of those surveyed, 46 percent said they watch less TV as a result of using the Internet; 34 percent said they talk on the phone less; 33 percent said they read fewer newspapers; and 22 percent said they don't listen to the radio as much. In terms of overall media consumption, European youth still spend the most time watching TV (31%), compared with radio (27%), the Internet (24%) and newspapers (10%). Almost half of the young people surveyed said they were prepared to pay for music online (47%), while 25 percent said they would pay for online gaming. "The 15-24 age group is the holy grail for most advertisers and the EIAA research conclusively demonstrates the extent to which the internet now represents an essential media for this audience, incr

U.S. Leading Fixed-Mobile Convergence

According to the latest Strategy Analytics report, "Cellular Beats Convergence in In-Building Voice Battleground," the U.S. market will lead adoption of fixed mobile convergence (FMC), as the rest of the world sees FMC play second fiddle to cellular-only substitution. Seven percent of voice telephony users will use a FMC product in the U.S. by 2010, compared with only two percent outside the U.S. "North America will buck the global trend, where cellular based solutions rather than converged fixed-mobile voice services will dominate. Advanced penetration of WiFi networks, a robust cellphone replacement market, spotty in-building cellular coverage and a dynamic broadband and cable industry will combine to keep cellular-only users at bay in the U.S.," comments David Kerr, Vice President, Strategy Analytics' Global Wireless Practice. "Players like Time Warner, Comcast and Cox have most to gain in terms of revenue opportunities, with early FMC moves by BellSouth

Mobile Services & Music Industry Future

The value of mobile music services is set to double in the five years to 2010, by which time they will exceed $11 billion, according to Informa Telecoms & Media. Although the majority of revenue will still come from ringtones, the forecast growth in the ring-back tone and full track download sectors confirms the concept of the mobile phone as a credible music device. A large sector of both the mobile and the music industries have galvanised around mobile music and for the last year have been helping to progress this sector. Handset manufacturers are devoting significant energy into creating sophisticated music devices and operators have been busy rolling out advanced music download services. According to Simon Dyson, co-author of the report, �the growth of mobile music has been astounding, from a cottage industry making basic monophonic ringtones in 1998 to a multi-billion dollar global business on which the music industry is staking much of its future.� All of this activity might

ATIS Launches IPTV Standards Forum

ATIS announced the formation of the IPTV Interoperability Forum (IIF) to develop ATIS standards and related technical and operations activities that enable the interoperability, interconnection and implementation of IPTV systems and services, including video on demand and interactive TV services. �IPTV will enable consumers to use television as never before,� said Bill Smith, CTO of BellSouth and chairman of ATIS. �Video on demand and interactive services are among the exciting �killer apps� that IPTV will make possible. The ATIS IIF will provide the neutral ground for carriers, service providers, application developers, content providers and equipment manufacturers to work together and make the wide-scale deployment of standardized IPTV a reality.� The ATIS Board of Directors launched the IIF at its quarterly meeting Thursday on the recommendation of the ATIS IPTV Exploratory Group (IEG), which was formed in April to examine the technical issues surrounding the successful wide-scale d

Asia Clearly Leading Global IPTV

"Over the past year or so we've seen the media and telecommunications industries experiencing a transformation of seismic proportions resulting in a hothouse of opportunities within the space where technology and communication converge. IPTV has emerged as the most revolutionary service proposition that is not only changing the industry, but also the way we consume entertainment. It is thus not surprising that the commercialisation of IPTV in Asia, Europe and the United States is already well underway. Operators in many countries have either started IPTV services or indicated their intentions to roll out a service -- and sooner, rather than later. What may be surprising to many people is the fact that Asia is leading the IPTV revolution and is the fastest growing market for IPTV with subscribers set to double in the next 12 months (Source: Gartner, March 2005), followed by Europe and the U.S. as a distant third."

Consumers Ponder Interactive TV Services

A survey of American viewers suggests that interactive television could be a driver for digital cable services. A third of basic cable subscribers reported an interest in switching to digital cable if one or more interactive features described to them were available. Local services were seen as most important, with 42 percent of those surveyed saying that they would be very or somewhat interested in such services, rising to 50 percent of those already have digital cable and 59 percent for those that had a cable modem, while 80 percent of those that expressed an interest in switching to digital. On-screen caller identification to display the name and number of the person calling was of interest to 38 percent of respondents. Playing games was of interest to 35 percent of those questioned, while 33 percent were interested in choosing camera angles, and just 29 percent expressed an interest in voting or getting background information on characters in a program. The telephone survey of 1,00

China Broadband: 5+ Million More Users

Pacific Epoch report -- "China added 5.33 million new broadband Internet users from January to May 2005, according to statistics released by Ministry of Information Industry (MII) on Tuesday. At the end of May, China had 30.18 million broadband Internet users. From January to May, revenues from China's telecommunications industry totaled 232.81 billion Yuan, up 10.9 percent year on year. China gained 44.78 million telephone users from January to May to reach 692 million total users. The number of fixed line users increased by 21 million to reach 330 million users and the number of mobile phone users increased by 23.73 million to reach 360 million users. From January to May, 114.78 billion SMS messages were sent in China, up 36.9 percent from the same period in 2004."

Smart Home Market Potential

According to In-Stat, "the premise behind the smart home is to use networking technology to integrate appliances, devices and services within the home in an effort to control and monitor the entire living space from a remote location as well as within the home. In addition, smart homes are intended to offer homeowners a convenient and secure living space by equipping homes with smart IT functions such as energy consumption tracking, heating, cooling and lighting control, and alarm systems. While the smart home seems to be a valuable and convenient concept in theory, there has yet to be widespread consumer demand for products found in a smart home. This is because consumers have high expectations for both performance and ease of use. In addition, expectations for price are disproportionately low. However, several factors such as pervasive Internet access, home network growth and the acceleration of broadband access to many homes are driving consumer awareness of smart homes and sma

Global Media Industry Revenue Forecast

The global entertainment and media industry is projected to grow at a 7.3 percent compound annual growth rate, from $1.3 trillion last year to $1.8 trillion in 2009, spurred by improved economic conditions, an advertising upswing, and increased focus on online distribution of music, films, books and video games, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. Fueled by broadband adoption, the Internet sector for entertainment and media is expected to grow at a 17 percent CAGR, reaching $289 billion in 2009, while online advertising will grow at a 16 percent CAGR to $32 billion the same year. New spending streams on broadband and wireless distribution platforms will grow revenues for those sectors from $11.4 billion in 2004 to nearly $73 billion by 2009. "The entertainment and media industry continues to display an extraordinary ability to reinvent itself and create new revenue streams through innovative offerings that barely existed as recently as 2000," said PwC's Wayne Jackson. &q

Mobile Infrastructure Spending Forecast

Mobile carrier capital expenditures (CAPEX) on infrastructure will enter a progressive decline beginning in 2006 that will see infrastructure investments decrease from 47 percent of total operator CAPEX to 33 percent by 2009. While infrastructure spending will remain the largest slice of the CAPEX pie, Pyramid Research�s new report examines how vendors must adapt their business models to address the evolving mobile operator expenditure patterns to capture new, non-infrastructure investment opportunities. Report author Ozgur Aytar states, �The rapid growth of non-infrastructure spending is due to the combined effect of factors ranging from demand for additional capacity to convergence and network evolution towards next-generation networks (NGNs).� Operator investments are shifting from coverage-based radio network deployments towards advancements in the core network, new applications, and network professional services. Increasing network complexity and the fierce competitive market are

Time to Rethink U.S. TelcoTV

The Diffusion Group (TDG) believes that the standardization of MPEG and the availability of ASIC-based low cost/high volume MPEG4 systems and set top boxes will ultimately prevail in the world of PayTV. WM9 may make some sense for content distribution to the PC. However, with media giants such as News Corp entering the broadband fray, we may soon see MPEG4-H264 become widely used on the Net for IPTV distribution. Microsoft has been fighting the video battle on many fronts, arguably too many �- from video codec format to encoder systems; from VOD servers to Digital Rights Management; from PayTV middleware platform to Windows Media 9 play list & trick play modes and signaling controls. It seems that Microsoft is doing its best to own a piece of every stage of the video experience �- far too many for other media giants like News Corp to be comfortable. Moreover, in a system like a TelcoTV platform �- where the integration of stable, coherent, and well-defined system components is cri

Broadband: A Bright Spot In Lagging Telecom

Consumer service revenues for telecom providers in the U.S. are expected to deteriorate over the next several years, falling to $106.7 billion in 2009 as decreasing revenues for voice services and dial-up outweigh revenue increases for both cable TV and broadband services, reports In-Stat. Broadband, however, will be a significant revenue growth generator, with market penetration growing from 28.6 percent of the population in 2004 to nearly 50 percent by the end of 2009. "The migration from dial-up to broadband is good news for service providers, as the monthly fees for broadband will remain substantially higher than for dial-up," says Amy Cravens, In-Stat analyst. "With $13.7 billion in broadband revenues in 2004 versus $10.9 billion in dial-up revenues, broadband has already outpaced dial-up as a revenue-generating opportunity." Total consumer spending on communication services, including local voice, long distance, cable TV, dial-up, and broadband was $114.8 bill

World Broadband Lines Pass 164m

According to Point Topic, " World broadband lines reached 164m as of 31 March 2005, an increase of 52m lines since March 2004 last year - with 28m lines added in the last 6 months alone. The USA is still the world's largest broadband country with 36.5m lines, and China remains in second place with 28.3m lines. The UK is leading growth in the 'G7 Rankings' achieving a 16.5 percent increase in lines since end-2004, and adding over 1m lines in the process. France was the only other G7 country passing 10 percent growth in the quarter - achieving 13.5 percent growth and adding an equally impressive 913,000 lines in the quarter. 'Top 10' growth is dominated by Eastern Europe and a mixture of Latin American and Asia Pacific countries. Turkey led the rankings overall, achieving 37 percent growth in the quarter, adding 179,000 lines. Poland led the Eastern European countries, achieving 24 percent growth and becoming the first Eastern European country to pass 1m lines. A

Global DSL Penetration Ranking

The latest global market assessment, from Point Topic. (Total DSL subscribers) 1 China 19,497,000 2 USA 15,106,294 3 Japan 13,887,000 4 Germany 7,450,000 5 France 7,184,000 6 South Korea 6,729,406 7 UK 4,987,450 8 Italy 4,935,000 9 Taiwan 3,200,000 10 Spain 2,884,807 11 Canada 2,807,911 12 Brazil 2,092,500 13 Netherlands 2,032,500 14 Australia 1,351,000 15 Belgium 1,112,350 The perspective is very different when you rank based upon country size. (DSL/100 phone lines) 1 South Korea 28.9 2 Taiwan 24.4 3 Israel 22.9 4 Finland 22.2 5 Belgium 21.7 6 France 21.1 7 Hong Kong 21.1 8 Netherlands 20.3 9 Norway 19.6 10 Japan 19.5 11 Denmark 18.3 12 Italy 18.0 13 Switzerland 16.5 14 Singapore 15.5 15 Spain 15.4 16 Sweden 14.3 17 UK 14.2 18 Canada 14.1 19 Germany 13.9 20 Austria 13.0

Digital Audio Player Market Forecast

The exploding market for both hard disk drive and Flash-based portable audio players is expected to reach over 104 million units by 2009, up from 27.8 million units in 2004, reports In-Stat. Drivers for this booming market include falling prices, the availability of legitimate subscription and pay-per-download online music sites, smaller hard disk drives, and increasing Flash memory capacities. In-Stat also reports revenue for both HDD and Flash-based MP3 players reached approximately $4.5 billion, a remarkable increase of almost 200 percent over 2003. Apple is the leader in worldwide portable audio players with 30.2 percent of the combined HDD and Flash-based portable audio player market. Other leading vendors include Rio, iRiver and Creative. In-Stat expects that 1GB capacity or greater Flash MP3 players will represent just over 20 percent of all Flash-based MP3 player shipments worldwide by the end of this year. Consumer survey data shows that the percentage of US respondents owning

Laptops & Home Networks Change Behavior

According to 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."

Decline in DVD Player Revenues Projected

Global DVD player revenues will fall for the first time ever this year, according to Strategy Analytics. Retail revenues in 2005 will fall by 1 percent to $19.8 billion, after peaking at $20.1 billion in 2004. Higher value DVD recorders are beginning to replace players, but this trend will not prevent a continued fall in overall revenues. "The global transition from play-only DVD players to DVD Recorders is well under way," says Peter King, Director of the Strategy Analytics Connected Home service. "High prices and product complexity have held back demand for DVD Recorders, but these factors are now diminishing." Worldwide sales of DVD recorders rose to 8.9 million units in 2004, generating $4.8 billion in retail revenues. DVD recorder sales will continue to grow rapidly, overtaking play-only devices in 2008 and reaching annual sales of 90.9 million units in 2010. The US market is trailing both Europe and Japan in adoption of DVD recorders, in part reflecting faster

Sky Plans Broadband TV Service

Sky is expected to announce plans for a broadband television service that will allow subscribers to download a selection of movies and sports packages over the internet -- "UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB is apparently planning to offer the service to subscribers of its top-tier packages from the autumn. Industry observers have been expecting a move from Sky to exploit the growing potential of broadband to support its satellite subscription service. An announcement is expected later this week, according to a report in the Sunday Telegraph. Initially the service will require a broadband connection and a computer, but it opens the possibility of Sky offering broadband services and potentially a proposition that is more integrated with its Sky+ personal video recorder at some point in the future. While satellite broadcasting offers significant bandwidth to deliver hundreds of television channels, it is unable to offer true video-on-demand (VOD) services that can be provided with cable

Mobile Advertising Revenue Forecast

Strategy Analytics concludes that, "although momentum is building, many barriers remain before the muscle of mobile advertising and marketing can be fully flexed." SMS based mobile marketing activity has been dominated by companies within the FMCG sector, like Cadburys and McDonalds to date. Yet, as the availability of mobile multimedia content grows we expect greater participation from large advertising brands in the entertainment industry and those that have products targeted at the Young, Active and Fun, consumer segments, such as Nike. "Although there is growing interest in wireless from parts of the marketing community, take up will be tempered by weak consumer response rates, skepticism about the effectiveness of mobile advertising vis-�-vis traditional channels, (like TV and direct mail), and carriers' reluctance to compromise their position as the premium content delivery channel." "Advertising over wireless is more complex than TV, radio, and the I

Commercial Strength Beats Technology

Nokia Networks, Microsoft Elata and Motricity Are Best Positioned Vendors -- Strategy Analytics released, "Mobile Content Delivery Platforms: Search for Value-Add and Scale as Solutions Commoditize." This report concludes that network operators are now more concerned with the commercial aspects of content provisioning as the majority of the technical problems have been solved and little functional differentiation exists between the competing platforms. As the content market matures, the number of content retailers will proliferate, making it a growing target segment for platform vendors. However, Philip Taylor, a Director in the Strategy Analytics Global Wireless Practice, notes, "Increasingly, purchase decisions will be made by operators on the basis of a variety of commercial factors including the business objective of the operator, the compatibility of the delivery platform with existing administration systems, the financial stability of the platform vendor and the st

DVD Recorder Market to Grow 87%

The DVD recorder market doubled in size in 2004, to 9.4 million, and is projected to grow another 87 percent this year, according to a report from Research and Markets. Worldwide DVD recorder shipments are expected to grow to 67.7 million in 2009. The data does not include DVD recorder drives installed in PCs. The firm noted that digital TV tuners will be federally-mandated standard equipment in U.S. DVD recorders in July 2007, and are being added to DVD recorders in increasing numbers in Japan. "In 2004, Japan DVD player shipments declined, while DVD recorders grew by over 100%," the report said.

Motorola Home Digital Media Strategy

"Motorola has outlined a unified hardware and software strategy that will enable digital cable customers to move and share digital media throughout their homes. Motorola�s software strategy for whole-home media takes advantage of the Ucentric Digital Home Platform, a software suite that enables digital media to be shared by any connected device in the home. Because of the growing momentum for the open cable applications platform (OCAP), Motorola plans to offer extensions for OCAP that will enable operators to tap into the robust networking capabilities of the Motorola Ucentric platform by Summer 2006. This will enable cable operators to take advantage of features such as the sharing of tuners and storage across the network from within their own custom OCAP applications. Motorola�s hardware strategy begins with the introduction of the DCT3412, an all-digital, dual-tuner, high-definition digital video recorder. Motorola also plans to offer other all-digital set-tops designed for

BSkyB Opens iTV Portal to All Users

Sky, the UK satellite broadcaster, is to launch a new interactive TV portal based on standard web technologies that will potentially allow anyone to have a presence on interactive television -- "BSkyB says the new interactive television portal will enable existing web publishers to reach a potential audience of around 20 million users through their television sets. The new initiative will complement the entertainment, gaming and communications services available on the existing Sky Active portal. With around 10 million viewers accessing existing interactive services on Sky each month, the aim is to broaden the range of services available on the platform and to stimulate further innovation in the interactive TV arena. The portal will launch later this year with the aim of attracting a range of online providers, including established commercial services, not-for-profit organisations and even individuals. Services will be accessed using conventional web addresses or via listings on t

Digital TV Subsidy to Speed Transition

Senator John McCain has introduced a new version of his Save Lives Act, which would provide federal funds to subsidize the purchase of new digital TV receivers by poorer Americans, so that broadcasters can switch to digital broadcasting and free analog spectrum. McCain was joined by 9/11 Commission chairman Thomas Kean, whose Commission's report called for an "expedited and increased assignment of radio spectrum for public safety purposes." McCain and Kean criticized broadcasters for dragging their feet on the matter. "Why they would choose not to act in the public interest is something they will have to answer for," McCain said. The new bill would force broadcasters to return analog spectrum to the government by the end of 2008, while also providing $463 million for 9.3 million U.S. households to purchase digital receivers; a previous version of the bill had called for $1 billion. Current law states that broadcasters don't have to switch to digital until 85

Movie Downloading Awareness Grows

Ipsos-Insight reveals that more Americans are now aware of Internet-based movie acquisition methods than last year, with the vast number of households already having the technological capability to download movies from their homes. Their study reports strong home theater ownership, while a growing number of consumers own vehicle-based DVD players. In late 2004, findings revealed that nearly one-half (47 percent) of Americans aged 12 and older were aware of the ability to download a full-length motion picture off of the Internet. While actual downloading activity remains steady, awareness increased to 53 percent in the first quarter of 2005, suggesting a growing consumer orientation toward alternative movie acquisition methods. Younger males continue to be lead users with older segments demonstrating greater awareness than before. Most of those who have downloaded a movie online have not paid for it, a trend that mirrors the early stages of music downloading. More than ninety percent of

Telcos Sacrifice Margins For Market Share

Lower Prices and Bundling Will Bring Broadband to 78 Million US Homes by 2010 -- After years of dominating the US market, cable operator's share of broadband Internet customers will decline steadily over the next five years, according to Strategy Analytics. Their report notes that although cable remains the leading broadband platform in the US, its share of the total base of broadband users fell from 62 to 59 percent in 2004. By the end of 2005, Strategy Analytics predicts that cable's share will slip to 57 percent, while share for telcos offering DSL and fiber services will grow from 39 to 41 percent. The combination of falling prices and multi-service bundles combining TV, telephony and high-speed Internet services will drive overall adoption of broadband sharply upward over the next five years. By 2010, the report predicts that nearly 78 million US customers will use some type of broadband service. Cable operators will account for about half of that total, while telcos will

Major Hurdles for Telco IPTV

As telecom operators push hard to roll out Internet Protocol (IP) television services worldwide, they face major roadblocks in the shape of licensing and franchising issues, according to new studies from ABI Research. On one side, content providers worry about the security of IP networks, which are certainly not immune to hacking. These concerns affect the license arrangements they must reach with telcos wishing to distribute their intellectual property. From another quarter, cable operators -- justifiably fearing Telco IPTV encroachment on their traditional turf -- are lobbying governments fiercely to ensure that the telcos pay the same sort of franchise fees and go through the same degree of legal bureaucracy that they do. According to ABI principal analyst, Michael Arden, "In the US, this means thousands and thousands of individual contracts. Overseas, with lower cable penetration and less stringent government regulations, it is often a smaller problem." A partial solution

BT Launches Fusion Service Trial

British Telecom (BT), will introduce a device and service that it hopes will bridge the gap between fixed and mobile services. The new service is initially being trialled with 400 users and will be rolled out commercially in September. BT Fusion is the culmination of years of technical development and market research that was previously known as Project Bluephone. The new wireless handsets will connect to BT�s traditional fixed line network when users are in their homes but will automatically log on to a mobile network when subscribers leave the home environment. BT moved out of mobile telephony in 2001 when it spun off what used to be called mmO2 into a separate, independent business. Significantly, for the telco�s return to the mobile arena, it is partnering with Vodafone rather than with its offspring, O2. BT hopes the service will create �1 billion of additional revenue. It's part of the carrier�s long-term strategy to stem the loss of fixed line customers that are churning awa

Digital Video Headends & Distribution Hubs

The various categories of Digital Video Headends, and their Gigabit Ethernet components, are on a fast growth track and are expected to surge past $2.6 billion by 2009, reports In-Stat. Compared with indicators from other telecom segments, this segment's projected Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 32.3 percent through 2009 is astounding. The report found that Gigabit Ethernet provides fully converged IP networks that are capable of delivering multiple services beyond the "triple play" of video, voice, and high-speed data. Cable TV and IPTV (also known as TelcoTV) services need to extend their brands beyond consumers' TV sets, and new GigE networks create the kind of flexible infrastructure that permits Content to become portable. High Definition TV (HDTV) and On Demand services are complicating bandwidth issues for Cable TV and IPTV services, creating demand for IP video equipment. Emerging opportunities in Europe and Asia will spur growth forward.

Ericsson and Napster Enter Partnership

Napster and Ericsson announced today a global partnership to offer the first complete, fully integrated digital music service available for mobile operators. The service will carry the universally known Napster brand and combine elements of Napster�s popular PC offering and Ericsson�s personalized music service, currently utilized by more mobile operators than any other in the world. The Napster and Ericsson business model accommodates mobile operator participation in all revenue streams. The service is scheduled to go live in Europe over the next 12 months and will initially be offered to operators in select markets in Europe, Asia, Latin America and North America. The new service will support coordinated wireless and PC downloading of digital music in both subscription and a la carte models, and phone-based initiation will ensure convenient and easy music library access for both mobile and PC usage. The service scales to current handset models and networks but can also accommodate ne

Home Office Drives PC Demand

IDC report says rise of home offices means a growing PC market for U.S. households -- The portable computer market may be growing faster than the market for desktops, in part because of the rising number of home offices in the United States, according to a report by IDC. The number of home offices in the U.S. will grow from 33.1 million at the end of 2004 to 37.7 million by 2009, meaning an increase of customers likely to purchase advanced, portable, or multiple PCs, analyst Merle Sandler said on Monday. IDC defines home offices as those used by telecommuters or employees working after-hours as well as income-generating offices. Household PC penetration is near 90 percent. Within those households, at the end of 2004 portable computers were at 43.4 percent and growing. At the end of 2003, that number was 42 percent. �Households with home offices are less likely to let the kids near the computers, because of the important information in them. So they�re more likely to buy computers for s

North American MVNO Outlook

Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) are poised to capture more market share from U.S. wireless service providers in coming months, but the long-term success of many MVNOs is far from assured, says Heavy Reading. The number of MVNOs in the U.S. will expand rapidly in the next 12 months. As of early 2005, there were 22 operators registered to offer MVNO service in the U.S. That number is likely to grow significantly as retailers such as Wal-Mart launch MVNO offerings that tie their established brands to wireless service. MVNO success will hinge on the ability to market effectively to niche audiences. North American MVNOs are specifically targeting consumers with poor credit, users of international long distance, and young people. Key niche markets -- covering demographics previously considered undesirable by wireless carriers due to their low credit characteristics and exotic usage profiles -- are going to attract a lot of attention this year. MVNOs' principal weakness is that t

Forecast Demand for Media Adapters

Although still in the early-adopter stage, the overall market size for media adapters will be limited, reports In-Stat. In a best-case scenario, we see worldwide standalone media adapter shipments growing by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 76 percent from 2004 through 2009, the high-tech market research firm says. "Vendors are convinced there will be an ongoing market for adapters as long as analog home entertainment equipment is sold and used. On the other hand, consumer electronics vendors are planning to integrate media adapter technology directly into consumer electronics devices, eliminating the need for a bridge between a PC or media center and a device." The iPod has been a significant factor in the emergence of the market for media adapters, with Apple at the forefront. In order to drive the market for Media Center Extenders, Media Center Edition 2005 (MCE) PC's need to become more available worldwide. The number of PC manufacturers offering MCE PCs is in

T-Mobile USA Reports 450,000 Wi-Fi Users

According to TelecomTV, "T-Mobile USA this morning published the first user statistics for its Wi-Fi fast Internet access service. It shows that 450,000 people paid to use the service over the past three months. The fact that T-Mobile USA, hitherto extremely coy about publishing Wi-Fi user statistics, has now made its last quarter�s figures available is evidence that the carrier believes the technology is being taken up by enough users for to be regarded as a real service with a real potential to make real money. Previously the operator had refused to provide any guidance as to the number of users of its system and services and even now will not give comparative figures that show the difference between the number of users last year and this, leading to inevitable speculation that a twelve months ago its user base consisted of two men and an educated dachshund called Ferdy."

IPTV Video Headend Forecast

According to MRG, the shift from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 encoding and headend purchases is expected to begin in volume in the 2007 to 2008, meaning prolonged life for MPEG2 in IP TV systems. Moreover, the rise of IPTV content subscribers will drive an equally rapid installed based of IPTV video headends. Broadband service providers in the U.S., Asia, and Europe have announced or plan to announce deployments of IPTV-based content services, opening up opportunities for all video headend suppliers. One key forecast is that IPTV subscriber revenue will grow from about $400 million in 2004 to over $6 billion in 2008, meaning a substantial investment in content and infrastructure is fast approaching. Whether for SBC, Verizon, or BellSouth in the U.S., China Telecom in Asia, or France Telecom or Telefonica in Europe, IPTV video headend suppliers must help service providers compete in increasingly competitive markets. "IPTV vendors, in addition to offering unique and innovative services, have to

Microsoft IPTV Strategy in Tatters

According to The Register, "Beneath the covers, Microsoft�s TV strategy appears to be in tatters. Fastweb can manage it in Italy, Homechoice can manage it in the UK, Maligne and Free have managed it in France, Telefonica in Spain and Bell Canada have also launched IPTV services, while Telenor has managed it across the face of Scandinavia and Ella communications and about 10 other smaller operators in Norway and even Telecom Iceland have all managed to launch IPTV services with open standard components. But Swisscom, the one company that Microsoft managed to convince to go with its proprietary vision, is delayed. The reason, market insiders tell us, is that the software is deliberately proprietary, does not use a standard Java browser, handshakes with billing and admin servers using proprietary .NET extensions and technology wise looks nothing like any other IPTV installation. Instead it is overly complicated and impenetrable to the competition, an attempt to engineer an interface

Microsoft Plans Music Subscription Service

Microsoft is planning to introduce a subscription-based digital music service, to compete both with rival Apple's dominant song store and other subscription models from Yahoo and RealNetworks, CNET News.com reported, citing sources familiar with the plans. "We think that the subscription model is very interesting," MSN lead product manager Christine Andrews told News.com. "It is something that we will continue to look into." Microsoft is reportedly asking record labels for the rights to offer prospective subscribers to its service a Microsoft-formatted version of any song they purchase from the iTunes Store, so they can be played on devices other than an iPod. The company is also planning introductory pricing for the subscription service in line with Yahoo's offering; at $6.99 per month, the current pricing of Yahoo's service undercuts competing services from Napster and ReaNetworks, which charge $15 a month.

Global DSL Lines Reach 107 Million

Point Topic's first-quarter analysis of the worldwide DSL market shows the number of lines increased by 10.5 percent to 107.3 million in Q1 2005. Over 37 million DSL lines were added since March 2004 last year, taking growth to 54 percent for the 12 months ending 31 March 2005. There were just over 10.1m lines added in the first quarter of 2005 alone - second only to the 10.4m added in the fourth quarter of 2004. These results show DSL is continuing to enjoy good momentum in 2005. The analysis also shows changes in traditional patterns, with growth in high penetration countries such as South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan slowing, whilst emerging markets such as Turkey, Thailand and Poland are showing growth of 24 percent or more. Incumbent operators are beginning to lose market share to unbundlers in countries where unbundling is well established. For example, the number of wholesale lines provided by France Telecom fell by 19,000, and that by KPN (Netherlands) fell by 22,000 as comp

TelcoTV: News from Supercomm

Unfortunately although much of the news has been positive for the TelcoTV market, there have also been negative announcements, such as Swisscom's postponement of their commercial deployment named Bluewin. Microsoft announced that Motorola will integrate Microsoft's IPTV platform into its IP set top boxes. Scientific-Atlanta is also showing the Microsoft TV IPTV platform in their booth. Network access equipment providers continue to partner with IPTV middleware vendors. We have Microsoft and Alcatel, Siemens and Myrio, and now Lucent has a strategic alliance with Orca. In other middleware news, Myrio announced its Myrio Interactive Creator, which will enable the service provider to truly customize their user interface by designing the layout and appearance of the content. Amino, the second largest supplier of IP set top boxes based on 2004 unit market share, announced a standard definition IP set top box capable of decoding MPEG-4 AVC. UK competitor Pace announced an IP set top

Growth in Wireless Subscriber Base Resumes

Worldwide, wireless subscriber growth is experiencing robust expansion after several years of slower growth due to the economic downturn of the last few years, reports In-Stat. By 2009, the worldwide wireless market will grow to more than 2.3 billion subscribers. There will be no relief from the ongoing battles for airlink supremacy over the next several years. "GSM's steady growth through 2007 will turn negative as operators move subscribers to third-generation (3G) WCDMA," says David Chamberlain, In-Stat Senior Analyst. "While the second-generation GSM system (including GPRS & EDGE) will remain the dominant airlink throughout the forecast period, CDMA airlink standards (CDMA & WCDMA) will soon encroach on GSM's numbers. By 2009, WCDMA networks will be providing service for over 40 percent of the world's CDMA users." However, those inroads are much less dramatic when classifying WCDMA as an evolution of the GSM system. The total number of new su

Consumer Electronics Bright Spot for 1394

The consumer electronics (CE) market is a bright spot for 1394, a high-speed serial bus specification, also called Firewire or i.Link, that is battling with competing technologies in several markets, reports In-Stat. 1394a has increasing penetration in digital television, set top box, and portable digital audio player markets. The CE segment is forecast to be roughly equal to the PC segment in 2005 unit shipments, and will move well past it in 2006. The prospects for the technology in the computer market will be mixed. "PCs will be driven by the notebook category," says Brian O'Rourke, In-Stat analyst. "1394 will also grow in consumer desktops, but remain nearly non-existent in commercial desktops. Overall, PC peripheral growth will be negative, as high-speed USB dominates the segment." Report highlights include: The 1394c specification is close to completion. It is an attempt to jump-start 1394 as a networking technology, where it has had trouble gaining accep

iTunes More Popular Than Free Services

In a sign that legal digital music services are finally gaining ground on file-sharing, Apple's iTunes Music Store tied with peer-to-peer service LimeWire as the second most-popular digital music service in March 2005, according to a report from New York-based market research firm NPD Group. The top service in March was file-sharing service WinMX, which was accessed by 2.1 million households; both iTunes and LimeWire were used by 1.7 million households. Also in the top 10 were file-sharing networks Kazaa and iMesh, and legal services Napster and Rhapsody. NPD said a total of 4 percent of Internet-enabled U.S. households used a paid music download store during March. "One of the music industry's questions has been when will paid download stores compete head-to-head with free P2P download services," said NPD Group's Russ Crupnick. "That question has now been answered. iTunes is more popular than nearly any P2P service, and two other paid digital music offerings

Europe Overtakes the Americas in Broadband

According to a Telecompaper research study, at the end of Q1 2005 there were 158 million broadband subscribers with tens of thousands more signing-up for service everyday. �World Broadband Q1-2005� shows that the Asia-Pacific is the world�s biggest broadband arena with more than 61 million subscribers and a 39 percent share of the global broadband market. For the first time, Europe has overtaken the Americas to become the world�s second-largest broadband market, with 47.95 million subscribers and a 30 percent market share. The Americas have dropped back to third place with 47.53 million subscribers. In fourth place is Middle east/Africa with just 1.59 million subscribers. Globally, Q1 2005 saw 13 million new subscribers signing-on for broadband services, six million of them from Europe. However, the Middle East/Africa market is actually the fastest growing sector, putting on 17.7 percent in the quarter. Regarding individual countries, South Korea, with 11.85 million subscribers (equati

stimTV Offers Personalized Programming

Launching later this year, stimTV is a broadband channel that offers a unique personalized viewing experience -- Viewers will see a random flow of brief clips, initially from music videos, and can select when they want to see more, steering the service to adapt to their choices. NPOWR Digital Media in California is setting up deals with music labels for music clips, performance videos and interviews. Cinema, shopping and lifestyle channels are planned in the future. There will also be opportunities to buy associated items. The company, founded in 2001, says it is �poised to become a leader in the next-generation technology that fulfils the long-awaited promise of a convergence between the television and the internet�. They seem serious. They have patented technology of �A system for the automated generation of media� that enables the customization of programming from a database of stored media. The system includes the ability to verify that viewers have �mindfully watched their offerin

Caribbean Mobile Subscribers to Reach 14.7M

A new study by Informa Telecoms and Media is projecting a more than 45 percent increase in mobile subscribers in the Caribbean between 2004 and 2009. The report shows a steady growth in this market predicating from 10.1 million by end of 2004 to 14.7 million by 2009. The study provides a comprehensive view of how the mobile revolution is reaching out to over 40 million inhabitants of the 31 political entities that make up the insular and mainland Caribbean. It shows how successive waves of market opening and investment are transforming the region�s communications landscape, one historically marked by insularity and a limited and costly telephone communications framework. Vibrant competition is emerging where government-sanctioned monopolies reigned just a few years ago. Penetration has climbed precipitously, even surpassing 100 percent on more affluent islands. In just a decade, mobile telephony has exploded from serving less than one-half of one percent of the region�s population to n

Content Owners Impede Digital Media Growth

According to the latest research from the Strategy Analytics Connected Home service, technology providers are now overcoming many of the hurdles in the race to develop tomorrow's digital home, where consumers will be able to easily transfer their digital music and video files between the home PC, the home theater and portable media devices. Their report identifies one significant remaining obstacle: major content owners such as Disney, Fox and Warner are still not convinced that digital rights management (DRM) solutions are meeting their needs. Connected home proponents such as Intel, Sony and Philips must give high priority to solving DRM interoperability challenges if they are to maximize the revenue potential from this 144 million connected device market opportunity. According to the report, wider adoption of media-sharing devices will be delayed as long as content owners disagree between themselves on how they wish to benefit from DRM technologies. Technology providers, in tur

Telecoms Tussle Over Taxes

It's not just U.S. consumers who want a lighter tax burden on phone services, but the telecommunications companies that serve them as well. A recent study by the Telecommunications Tax Task Force of the Council on State Taxation (COST) says that telecom companies have to file thousands more tax returns than other businesses. No wonder telecom companies are fed up. The gory details: The average number of tax returns each telecommunication company has to file per year is a staggering 47,921, compared to 7,501 returns for a general business. New York saddles telecom companies with more returns than any other state: 5,632. How is this possible? Start with New York State's 406 jurisdictions requiring monthly local utility tax returns. Telecoms face 6,683 more taxing jurisdictions nationwide than general businesses -- there is such a thing as a mosquito abatement jurisdiction. The average state and local effective tax rate on telecom services -- some of which is paid directly by cust

TiVoToGo Gets Off the Ground

The team of TiVo, Microsoft and Intel -- with a little help from American Airlines -- said Tuesday that products have begun shipping that will make mobile television a much simpler task. TiVo, the company that made digital video recording common for millions of Americans, said that its TiVoToGo feature is available for the first time on Windows Mobile-based Portable Media Centers powered by Intel. The technology upgrade for users of TiVo Series2 -- which account for about 600,000 of TiVo's more than 3 million subscribers -- will allow for easy transferring of saved TV shows from a TiVo box to Windows XP PC, then to compatible portable devices made by Dell Computer, Hewlett-Packard, Audiovox, Samsung and others. Transferring a half-hour TV show to a PDA, PocketPC or Smartphone via ethernet or wireless connection takes up to 45 minutes, said Matt Wisk, senior vp and chief marketing officer for TiVo. TiVo's efforts at encouraging its subscribers to take their favorite TV shows wit

G-Rated Movies More Profitable

Family-friendly movies are more profitable than R-rated films, according to a new study. In a follow-up to a 10-year study commissioned by the nonprofit Dove Foundation in 1999 -- which found that between 1988-97 the average G-rated film made eight times the profit of an R-rated picture -- an extension of that study found that trend continuing and expanding. The new, expanded study examines the revenue and negative costs for 3,000 MPAA-rated theatrical films released between Jan. 1, 1989, and Dec. 31, 2003, using the 200 most widely distributed films each year based on the number of theaters. The 15-year study throws more fuel onto the fire of the long-running debate over sex and violence in entertainment -- and whether it sells. To encourage the production and distribution of more wholesome family entertainment, the Dove Foundation commissioned the study to examine the profitability of movies broken down by their MPAA ratings to compare family-friendly movies vs. R-rated films. "

Verizon Launches "Richer. Deeper. Broader."

Verizon kicked off a new corporate advertising campaign around the theme "Richer. Deeper. Broader." In the mass market, the new Verizon campaign will rotate six television commercials and more than six print executions. The TV ads will be seen on national cable networks, and the print insertions will appear in a series of weekly and monthly magazines. The campaign will run through the end of the year. "Our new corporate advertising campaign signals that there's a new spirit at Verizon," said Jerri DeVard, Verizon senior vice president for Brand Management and Marketing Communications. "The transformation that's going on in homes and living rooms is being driven by a whole new set of broadband Verizon services that bring information, communications and entertainment that is relevant to you - our customer. The experience is unsurpassed. When people think broadband, we want them to think Verizon."

Notebook PC Sales Surpass Desktops

U.S. Notebook PC Sales Surpass Desktop PC Sales in May -- For the first time in U.S. history, retail sales of notebook computers surpassed those of desktops in May, according to research firm Current Analysis. Notebook sales grew from 45.9 percent of the total PC retail market in May 2004 to 53.3 percent of last month. "The past few months have seen an increase in the number of retail notebook players, with lesser-known value players Acer and Medion gaining shelf space at major retailers such as Best Buy, Circuit City and CompUSA," said analyst Sam Bhavnani. "In addition, notebook pricing has dropped considerably." Prices, in fact, have fallen an average of 17 percent over the past year. The firm said that notebooks nearly topped desktops in August 2004, on the strength of intense back�to-school advertising by Toshiba.

EU Roaming Revenue Growth Boosted

The establishment of new roaming alliances and the collective power of large operator groups is changing the face of roaming with a greater emphasis on home network control and preferential partner selection. "The forthcoming European summer period is likely to see increased communications from operators to its roamer base on how to select the appropriate partner with a focus on the accompanying roaming tariff applicable with the preferential partner selection" states Mich�le Scanlon, telecoms consultant and author of Global Mobile Roaming, a new strategic report published by Informa Telecoms & Media. Recent tariff developments such as the Vodafone Passport plan are aimed at transparency of pricing and lower costs when roaming within the operator group. Other groups and alliances are expected to announce new tariff initiatives, especially in Europe that continues to dominate the global roaming market, and is subject to an ongoing European Commission investigation into roa

Low-Cost MVNOs Shake Up Prepaid

Low-cost MVNOs, shaking up a stagnant European prepaid market, are threatening to grab as much as 15 to 20 percent of the available market share over the next five years, according to Strategy Analytics. Operators are finally waking up to this unpleasant truth, and are reacting by launching their own low-cost offers, like "Simyo," from E-Plus, which launched last week in Germany. However, the threat from no-frills players still looms large over the entire mobile industry. Although prepaid users now account for 60 percent of mobile users in Western Europe, these prepaid users are now being targeted by low-cost MVNOs offering significantly lower call rates. "Even though prepaid was the engine that accelerated mobile growth in Europe," said Sara Harris, Senior Industry Analyst at Strategy Analytics, "the majority of prepaid offers today are not only expensive, but they ignore customer demands for drastically lower-cost pricing. Thus, low-cost MVNOs have been able

U.S. Seniors Create Broadband Demand

Despite a relatively small increase in the overall online population over the next five years, the number of U.S. consumers with broadband is expected to grow from slightly under half of households to about 78 percent by the end of 2010, according to a new report from JupiterResearch. "With a clearer value proposition and increasingly reasonable prices, the question people ask themselves is shifting from why would I get broadband? to why wouldn't I get broadband?" said Joe Laszlo, research director. The firm said that the U.S. broadband market will remain a closely contested race between cable modem and phone line-based DSL services, with other technologies relegated to relatively minor roles. Cable, however, is expected to remain the leading residential broadband technology in the U.S. Two key predictions: The Internet gets a little grayer. Online seniors will grow the fastest of any age group, doubling from nearly 10 million in 2004 to just over 20 million by 2010. Nea

3G Won`t Take Off This Year

According to TelecomTV, 3G is unlikely to take off this year even if prices fall below the $200 mark � a price point championed and cited by Qualcomm and others as the tipping point for popular uptake of the technology. This is the stark warning from Ron Garriques, the president of mobile devices at Motorola. Mr. Garriques says, "People continue to say if you could only hit a certain price point things could take off and fly. But I say low prices alone are not enough to make the market take off in the second half of this year." Mr. Garriques said 3G handsets must become simpler and lighter before mass acceptance will kick in. "I believe that size, weight, battery life, compelling applications and design are just as important as price points," he said, suggesting most subscribers are actually already very satisfied with 2G and 2.5G services. Motorola intends to sell a 3G version of its slim RAZR handset in the fourth quarter this year.

Broadband CPE Shipments up 23%

According to In-Stat, shipments for broadband customer premise equipment (CPE) increased 23 percent in 1Q05 from the same quarter in 2004. Revenue was up by 20 percent from 2004. CPE products include modems, routers, and residential gateways. Increasing Voice over IP (VoIP) deployments by cable operators in North America contributed to shipment and revenue growth for cable modems. Embedded Multimedia Terminal Adapters, (E-MTAs) comprised more than 20 percent of cable modem shipments in 1Q05. Shipments of standalone DSL modems increased only slightly as more DSL service providers moved to residential gateway equipment. As service providers move to triple-play business models, where voice, video and data applications are delivered over a single access subscription, broadband equipment vendors and their suppliers are adding increased functionality to their products. In-Stat began tracking VoIP-enabled equipment in 1Q05.

Verizon Sees Convergence Driving Market

"The overall communications market is expanding due to convergence," said Ivan Seidenberg, Verizon's CEO, speaking at a conference in New York earlier this week. This expansion will not be just a linear function of combining voice, data and video into a single offering, said Seidenberg, but a much broader expansion of telecom spending. Verizon estimates the overall U.S. telecom services market will grow from $440 million in 2004 to $570 million in 2009. Almost all the growth is projected to come from home entertainment or communication services, wireless services, and enterprise service. To capitalize on this opportunity, Verizon is pursuing a long-term strategy of building its FiOS consumer brand, upgrading its wireless network for 3G, and acquiring MCI. Seidenberg said key differentiators for the upcoming FiOS TV service will include 175 all-digital video and music channels, competitive pricing, more HD channels (over 20) than cable competitors, at least 1,800 VOD title

EU Broadband Lines Increases by 70%

Brussels -- According to the European Commission, the number of broadband lines in the EU increased by 70 percent year-on-year to more than 40 million lines, according to the latest government figures. On average, more than 45,000 broadband lines were connected every day in the EU in 2004, a remarkable increase compared to the average of 29,000 lines per day recorded in 2003. EU Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding warned that many member states' performances have been patchy despite the fact that Europe's overall performance has been very strong. The Netherlands and Denmark lead the pack with penetration rates of 19 percent and 18 percent, respectively, but a second group of member states averages out at about 8 percent, while a third group has been unable to push its average rate above 6 percent, Reding said.

IPTV and the Future of Telecom

The push to offer next-generation video services over IP-based networks is coming from all types of network operators, including not only incumbent telcos but also their cable competitors, according to a major new study by Heavy Reading. Key findings include the following: Competition, specifically in North America, is the primary driver for the buildout of IPTV networks and the delivery of IP video services. Although smaller North American IOCs are already delivering IPTV in some markets, it's the RBOCs' plans for IPTV that are creating the largest opportunities for vendors. These plans are being formulated primarily because of competitive pressure from the cable/MSOs, which are successfully eating away at the RBOCs' voice subscriber base with multiservice offerings of their own. Cable/MSOs are not standing still in terms of enhanced entertainment service offerings and network-architecture evolution plans. Although all eyes are on the RBOCs, cable/MSOs are also quietly p

Global Impact of the 2005 CES

145,868 Industry Professionals Attend 2005 CES, Setting New Show Record -- With more than 22,000 international attendees and 40,000 senior level executives from 110 countries, the 2005 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) drew a record 145,868 industry professionals, January 6-9, 2005, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 2005 International CES was the largest in the show's 39-year history in terms of overall attendance, international attendance and exhibitor square footage. The record-breaking attendance for 2005 showed a nine percent increase from 2004, while attracting 51 percent of Fortune 500 companies. This year 2,500 exhibitors participated utilizing 1.5 million square feet of exhibit space. Leading global companies in the audio, accessories, broadcasting, cable, digital imaging, electronic gaming, emerging technology, home networking, home theater, mobile electronics, video and wireless industries attend the International CES. With more than 1.4 million square feet of exhib

VoIP Awareness And Familiarity

Awareness Up By One-Third, Familiarity Doubles, But Interest Remains Flat, Ipsos-Insight Study Reveals -- Awareness of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) rose dramatically in the past year, with 62 percent of American Internet users now aware that they can use their Internet connection to make telephone calls, up from 41 percent only a year ago, according to a recent study conducted by Ipsos-Insight of more than 1,200 Internet users in the U.S. Most consumers surveyed are aware that they can use their regular phone for VoIP telephony, that they can have multiple lines connected, and that they can use their Internet connection while making phone calls. However, the 33 percent increase in awareness has not yet translated into wide-spread adoption of VoIP. Consumer familiarity with the burgeoning technology grew dramatically over the past year, with 9 percent of respondents indicating that they were �very familiar� with VoIP and 20 percent of respondents stating they were �somewhat famil

Fixed-Mobile Convergence Forecast

Fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) revenues will reach $80 billion in 2009, or 6 percent of total communications spend worldwide, according to a new Pyramid Research report. The report credits converged service revenue growth to value-added services and the migration of digital content from broadcasting networks to new converged networks. Pyramid expects converged services adoption to accelerate only after 2007, as more consumers are migrated to convergent platforms. "Key drivers of FMC include fixed-mobile substitution, industry consolidation, and strong uptake of VoIP services" said Pyramid Research analyst Svetlana Issaeva. End-users in the traditional fixed and Internet access segments will continue to spend less, as competition puts downward pressure on prices and subscribers trickle away to mobile networks. Fixed providers are most keenly aware of these trends as fixed-mobile substitution slowly gains ground. For them, a prompt launch of FMC networks promises to cut CAPE

Mobile Digtial TV Forecast

Your next TV could be a cellphone. According to Strategy Analytics' Connected Home service, more than a quarter of digital TV devices sold worldwide in 2010 will be mobile phones, as handset vendors strive to place a "TV in every pocket." Traditional devices, such as set-top boxes, however, will remain the staple for some years; and demand for these will also increase. The report, 'Digital TV Diversifies: Global Demand Will Shift Away From STBs,' predicts that device manufacturers likely to lead the fixed/mobile DTV convergence opportunity are Samsung, Sony/Sony Ericsson and LG. According to the research, 71 million digital TV devices will be sold globally this year, of which 1.9 million will be DTV phones. By 2010 annual sales of all devices will be 279 million, with mobile devices accounting for 73.5 million. In spite of these growth forecasts, mobile DTV faces usability obstacles and perceptions as well as barriers related to operator network strategies and go

Demand for Home Control Systems

New Research Finds Strong Interest in Low-Cost Home Automation Solutions -- According to new research from The Diffusion Group, more than one-half of U.S. Internet households are to varying degrees interested in purchasing a home control system (HCS) to automate the control of home lighting, room temperature and security systems if the price of the solution is less than $200. Innovations in automation technology, combined with the diffusion of home networks, have helped to bring the cost of home control functionality down to a level where consumers are more likely to be interested in connecting and automating systems in their homes. TDG's research found that although consumer interest in HCS is greatest at prices below $200, higher price levels sustained significant interest. For example, approximately 30 percent of Internet heads-of-household are to varying degrees interested in purchasing a HCS if priced between $200 and $400, and 20 percent are to varying degrees if the price is

WiMAX: Broadband Everywhere

Conventional wisdom says that until the advent of 802.16e mobile WiMAX systems -- still some time in the future -- the wireless broadband standard will be more or less confined to the great outdoors. Some "near-outdoor" systems involving window-mounted receivers may be feasible, but for practical purposes WiMAX is considered an outdoor last-mile replacement technology. However, ABI Research analysts say that there are optional specifications built into the 802.16 standard which can boost the sensitivity of receiving equipment to the extent of making WiMAX PC cards and built-in receivers a practical proposition for laptops, PDAs and other portable devices. Generally these optional specifications have not been implemented by the largest vendors of WiMAX equipment. According to senior analyst Philip Solis, what this means is that "There may be WiMAX PC cards on the market earlier than many observers have expected. These will result from superior chipsets permitting the use

Telcos Lose TV Franchise Waiver Battle

According to the Wall Street Journal, "Two U.S. phone companies lost a major showdown with cable-TV rivals over telecommunications legislation in Texas, setting a precedent that is likely to slow their efforts to roll out television service across the country. SBC and Verizon had lobbied aggressively to win new rules in Texas that would help them accelerate the rollout of TV service to millions of households. State legislators over the weekend failed to act on a bill allowing phone companies to seek statewide -- instead of local -- approval to offer TV programming. The Texas Legislature has ended its session, and phone companies now face the lengthy and expensive process of gaining permission to offer TV from hundreds of individual municipalities. Phone companies are hoping to get similar legislation passed in numerous states, many of which are likely to look at the Texas decision as a model. The phone companies' loss gives cable companies a head start in the race to offer the

SMS Continues To Lead Mobile Messaging

The global messaging market continues to be important to mobile carriers, with the bulk of the revenues continuing to come from Short Message Service (SMS) text messaging, reports In-Stat. The greatest growth in mobile messaging, however, will come from wireless instant messaging, which are driven by corporate users and are expected to increase revenues six-fold between 2007 and 2009. In-Stat's study found also found that Multimedia Message Service (MMS), which delivers pictures, sound clips and video, is expected to show nearly 50 percent compound annual growth rate through 2009. The major barrier to widespread consumer adoption of wireless instant messaging will be development of industry standards. Enhanced Message Service (EMS) has virtually disappeared as a viable technology.