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UK Firm Combines IPTV & Freeview Channels

CompleteTV, a UK-based company which delivers managed IPTV technology for personalized and interactive viewing experiences, has announced a partnership with Simply Global TV to provide a unique hybrid IPTV and Freeview service which is independent of their customer's Internet service provider (ISP).

CompleteTV will supply its Set Top Media Center (STMC) to Simply Global TV for its new service, which launches this month. The STMC integrates IPTV channels with broadcast Freeview (DVB-T) channels into a single customer experience, with support for recording and pausing live TV.

John Donovan, Managing Director, Simply Global TV said "The STMC is a world-leading platform in its flexibility and the guys from CompleteTV really understand our business goals of addressing the widest audience with the most diverse content from around the world."

CompleteTV and Simply Global TV, a digital entertainment producer, aggregator and distributor, believe that they have addressed the biggest challenge in making integrated digital TV a success --merging IPTV channels over the public Internet with Freeview channels into a single customer Electronic Program Guide (EPG).

The service combines mainstream IPTV content with specialist programming focussed on specific ethnic communities. Philip Smith, Chief Marketing Officer, CompleteTV said "The work we have done with Simply Global TV addresses our combined vision of a seamless TV experience -- combining IPTV over the public Internet with Freeview broadcast services. IPTV over the open public Internet truly is the future, and the work we have done on advanced buffering and integrated services demonstrates the potential of such services."

Donovan concluded "The Simply Global TV service addresses everything the user needs -- a simple interface, mainstream content, recording capabilities, and specialist programming unavailable anywhere else."

As I have reported previously, I believe that we are just beginning to witness the launch of new over-the-top video delivery services that will cause industry analysts to reconsider their prior forecast for telco IPTV proprietary network services -- that so far merely attempt to duplicate the "closed access" offerings of the legacy pay-TV providers.

The safe bet -- following in the footsteps of cable and satellite TV service business models -- will no doubt prove to be the short-sighted strategic blunder that will haunt the telcos going forward. Eventually, the disruption of the legacy market will cause a reluctant change in direction.

I therefore predict that we should anticipate numerous IPTV service re-launches as the telcos attempt to differentiate their "me too" offerings -- to counter the growing unconventional over-the-top video delivery innovations. A-la-carte offerings would make a real difference.

However, some telcos may still use covert QoS tactics, in an attempt to cripple these competitor services, which will further fuel a call for broadband "net neutrality" mandates and new "open access" policies. The choice -- be willing to compete openly, or be forced to comply.

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