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Strategies for Successful IPTV Roll Out

As the IPTV market heats up, and as solutions vendors position themselves to leverage market expansion, service operators must evaluate the long-term implications of initial vendor selection. According to TDG's latest report, Evaluating IPTV Vendor Strategies, early vendor decisions will have substantial impact on the scalability and openness of systems well beyond initial deployment. Whether selecting an end-to-end solution that promises to cover all the bases, or using components from multiple vendors, service operators looking to IPTV to complete triple-play offering should think long-term when selecting vendor partners for initial IPTV service deployments.

"A number of recent announcements have served to illustrate the importance of initial vendor selection in rolling out IPTV services in a seamless fashion," said Herv� Utheza, director of IPTV research at The Diffusion Group. "Telstra, Swisscom, and SBC have all delayed their IPTV service rollouts due to technical difficulties with their chosen vendor solutions. In each of these cases, system stability, while making great strides, still has much room for improvement."

"A key reason for these difficulties is the early stage of IPTV system development. Unlike cable or satellite TV solutions, IPTV uses technology that hasn't been in the field for years," said Michael Greeson, president of The Diffusion Group. "In fact, many of the technologies used in today's IPTV solutions are being tested during real-time deployments. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that initial deployments are encountering such difficulties."

"Given the nascent stage of the IPTV market, service operators should select vendor strategies that allow for maximum flexibility," continues Utheza. "Vendors should avoid buying into an end-to-end solution only to find out in two or three years that it doesn't allow for open application program interfaces or that locks the operator into a single vendor for equipment and software. On the other hand, using ten different solutions vendors to patch together an IPTV solution can lead to system fragmentation and lack of interoperability. In either case, service operators must carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of the various approaches to system implementation.

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