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Differing Opinions on Telco TV

In a speech to the Telco TV 2005 conference in San Diego, Jeff Weber, Vice President, Product & Strategy at SBC Operations, highlighted several factors which he said are making Telco TV a workable proposition today.

Among them was efficient use of bandwidth. Thanks to the confluence of a number of maturing technologies, Weber said, bandwidth could now be used efficiently enough to make the Telco TV experience a satisfying one. He particularly cited Windows Media 9, MPEG-4, VDSL2, System-on-a-Chip, and Gigabit Ethernet.

All these critical technologies are examined in the latest release of ABI Research's Telco TV Quarterly Service. The study confirms many of Weber's conclusions, particularly his mention of MPEG-4. According to Michael Arden, ABI Research's principal analyst of broadband and residential entertainment technologies, this latest edition of the service devotes considerable space to MPEG-4, its role in enabling Telco TV, its implications for encoding/transcoding, and -- a new and important topic -- chipsets for the set-top-box.

When will Telco TV complete its transition from a pilot project technology to the commercial mainstream? There, ABI Research differs somewhat from Weber's estimate. "I think SBC's Jeff Weber is overly bullish," comments Arden. "He suggested that Telco TV is ready to go right now, and I don't think that's necessarily the case. There are still some middleware scaling issues and other technology questions to be resolved, so I don't believe we'll see these services offered in bulk in the next six to nine months. But there's no doubt that it is coming."

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