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Undisclosed Markets to Participate in IPTV Trial

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the new-fangled-old-tech dept.

Television 141

prostoalex writes "Associated Press has the story that three communications corporations are doing test trials of IP-based television in undisclosed markets. From the article: "SBC Communications, the dominant local phone company from the Midwest to California, is deploying a full-blown IPTV system that it plans to launch by year-end in at least a few undisclosed markets. Verizon Communications plans to offer some interactive IP-based features on top of a conventional digital cable service... BellSouth has expressed doubt about whether a cable rollout makes financial sense, the company sees enough potential to trial IPTV technology in undisclosed markets." Currently about 1 mln Europeans get their television via phone line."

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With Frosted! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11663420)

Steamed limes are the future!

here in New Zealand (1)

Fraew (10491) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663433)

..i'll just be glad when we start to get HDTV signals

Microsoft TV (5, Insightful)

IO ERROR (128968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663438)

The three Bells are using technology from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), a coup for the software maker after a decade of frustrated attempts to extend its software's dominance from the personal computer to cable television.

Many bemoan that dominance in the PC world, but the choice of Microsoft might mean greater ease in the effort to meld TV with the Internet.

"If you're going to be implementing some new capability that requires software, they're the go-to company," regardless of whether they have the best technology, said Leigh. "Who's going to fire you if you choose Microsoft? If you choose Digital Data Wack, and it doesn't work, then you're going to get fired."

It's sorely disappointing to continue to see this attitude. Many of us "bemoan" Microsoft because their software doesn't work, exactly what this analyst claims they're trying to avoid. Do you get fired if you choose Microsoft and it doesn't work? What's wrong with this picture?

Re:Microsoft TV (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11663465)

what are you talking about?

the drag and drop GDI exploit funbar uses works just fine.

Re:Microsoft TV (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11663473)

Do you get fired if you choose Microsoft and it doesn't work?

No. Because it's Microsoft. If you choose Microsoft and it doesn't work, you get to pass on the blame; but nobody in the corporate world blames Microsoft, since Microsoft is seen as unavoidable, almost a force of nature. If you choose Microsoft and it doesn't work, then nobody does anything about this your customers just have to put up with using a product that doesn't work.

In other words: No, because if you choose Microsoft and it doesn't work, you get to move the goalposts of what constitutes "working" to whatever crappy point you're at. It's like that old joke, how many Microsoft engineers does it take to change a light bulb? They don't change it, they just define darkness as the new standard.

Re:Microsoft TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11663544)

i use a cable internet connection on my Linux powered computer, and if msft gets influence over my cable provider to the point that my television and computer require microsoft software and OSs, i will cancel my subscription before i spend one stinking dollar on any microsoft product...

Re:Microsoft TV (1)

Suburbanpride (755823) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663553)

Apple has a patent out on an implementation of TV in quicktime. you can read about it here. [macsimumnews.com]

Microsoft proably has the cash to muscle out (or buy out) a lot of start ups in this area, but It wouldn't suprise me to see someone like apple, or maybe someone less consumer oriented like cisco stand up to microsoft and not let them take the market without a fight.

Re:Microsoft TV (1)

michrech (468134) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663716)

It's irrelevant anyway. MS isn't doing this with Quicktime.

Re:Microsoft TV (1)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 9 years ago | (#11665191)

I think the point to the parent was that Apple seems interested in competing in this arena, not that MS was going to use Apple's technolgy.

Re:Microsoft TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11663740)

I'm sorry, but that looks like a User Interface patent to me. I have no idea how he got from a "boomark drawer" to the Cell processor -- must be a Mac user :)

To the main point -- Apple is really a consumer brand company -- they rarely do something unless you can see the shiny Apple logo on it. At least with Microsoft, you can get software X for Price Y and it can just run behind the scenes.

Re:Microsoft TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11664506)

yeah and you don't see the fruity windows logo on everything that comes from Microsoft or that can work with a Microsoft product. Microsoft sticks its branding on as much as Apple, but your forgetting Apple makes products that are inevative (ipod,mac mini,osx, ilife) and work while Microsoft makes inferior costly crap that i end up having to fix, but then again Microsoft keeps me in a job

Necessary for telco survival (4, Interesting)

vijayiyer (728590) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663439)

This is why Verizon is rolling out fiber to the home (http://www.verizon.net/fios/). They're afraid of the cable companies with their one stop shop for phone, TV, and internet, and the telcos need to do the same to avoid extinction.

Re:Necessary for telco survival (4, Interesting)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663565)

As afraid as the telcos may be, I think that they still have a strong foothold both in the wireless phone world and the fact that there is never enough bandwidth.

With a phone line and broadcast/cable tv, there is never a bandwidth problem. The TV station can send their signals over the air and from that point anyone can recieve as much of their programming as they want. As we start routing everything over IP, we had better hope that new technologies emerge to provide guaranteed connection availability and bandwidth because nobody wants their Desperate Housewives to be laggy.

Exactly. (2, Insightful)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663674)

Exactly. I think that the cable companies are the ones that should be afraid right now. Fiber to the door will blow them away.

Re:Exactly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11663784)

I think anyone who owns a bunch of wires/fibre infrastructure are the ones that should be afraid. Wireless is going to blow them away. (ATSC can easily support 30 medium-def OTA FREE channels, for example)

Hmmm... I don't know.... (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664002)

Even for very high bandwidth needs (which is where subscription multi-media such as TV and Internet are going) in densely populated high usage areas? Wireless is nice, but not for everything.

Re:Necessary for telco survival (1)

zootm (850416) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663687)

All this competition leading to superior services for the end-user is sickening me. How am I supposed to be jaded and skeptical about capitalism when it's working?

Re:Necessary for telco survival (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11663754)

Because telcos have been pretending to test this stuff for 20 years, but have never actually rolled it out? I would remain jaded until you actually can pick your service.

Re:Necessary for telco survival (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11663914)

They're afraid of the cable companies with their one stop shop for phone, TV, and internet, and the telcos need to do the same to avoid extinction.

Here in the UK, cable companies have done phone, TV and the Internet for years (cable first arrived in the early 90s with phone and TV, broadband came in the late 90s). Yet most people still get their phone from BT.

Re:Necessary for telco survival (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663970)

Yes, but how quickly can Verizon deploy its FIOS? I am waiting for them to deploy in my city. I cannot get broadband services. :(

Great (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11663442)

So we'll get the crappy content you get on TV; combined with the poor consistency in quality of service and poor customer support you get from an ISP; combined with the restrictive DRM, poor interoperability, and vendor lock-in you get from Microsoft software (they're providing the tech, look at the article).

It's the worst of all possible worlds. I sure can't wait until they find a way to make it mandatory.

Even worse... (2, Insightful)

Nik13 (837926) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664438)

Add that with the usual rather limited bitrate that IPTV uses, and perhaps licensing issues (seeing how VC1 has 12 companies that popped up saying they're violating their IP, and that VC1 is WM9 based). Add that microsft just singed up a deal with Macrovision (taking some possibilities away from you - and also passing you the licensing fees to pay). And from what I recall, WM Audio isn't such a great codec either. It's probably adequate for boring TV stuff, but still sucks to settle for "less".

The DVB standard is calling for iso mpeg-4 (the AVC kind, with AAC audio) for the next set top boxes. It's also going to be used (or at least the codecs can be used) on upcoming HD DVD solutions (both), and it's starting to get more popular amongst "encoders". But i guess they wouldn't want to use something that's not heavily DRM'ed.

I hope they settle for something else, but I bet microsoft will somwhoe make it attractive to them (and not for their customers) so they can sell thousands of boxes, and have them all forced to stay with them, no matter what's happens next, as changing the existing setup (both on broadcaster side and all customer's boxes) would be expensive and troublesome.

And I'm starting to get a bit worried about everything coming to my house by IP means. I already have a lot of things depending on it, and dozens of ports in use. I wonder where their box would fit on my network, and how it would connect/interact with my router/NAT/firewall, VoIP "adapter" and home lan in general. QoS could become an issue as well.

how can this help p2p IPTV? (2, Insightful)

Cryofan (194126) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663445)

This sounds like client server or multicast....but what we really need is something that can help launch p2p iptv or that can be morphed into p2p iptv.

The problem with this SBC proposal is that the content is still corporate-controlled.

Re:how can this help p2p IPTV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11663471)

You need to get involved with Public Access, and get them on BitTorret & RSS .... just a thought. If we don't do it first, then the corporations will.

Re:how can this help p2p IPTV? (1)

thpr (786837) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663549)

SBC is client/server since they are rolling out fiber to the neighborhood and VDSL to the home. This allows only one or two channels at a time to be transmitted. Verizon is multicast; their fiber directly to the home allows significantly more bandwidth; they will transmit all channels at once and have an STB decode them.

p2p IPTV should actually be helped by Verizon's FTTH solution, since the pricing isn't completely off base [slashdot.org] and you get quite an upload speed (5MB/s upload for $200/mo). Too bad I'm in one of Verizon's backwater communities... I might see fiber in 2010.

More like getting there phone though a TV line! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11663448)

It takes special cabling... So no.

IP? (0, Offtopic)

tepples (727027) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663450)

How is "IP" [gnu.org] television new? I thought all television was copyrighted from the moment of broadcast.

Re:IP? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11663495)

Not funny. Go home.

Re:IP? (0, Redundant)

ginotech (816751) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663812)

yeah, that really wasn't even remotely humorous.

Re:IP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11664014)

the possibilities for some TVoIP (we don't HAVE to use Microsoft's protocol, do we?) can be pretty exciting and lucrative. and because the bandwidth is high enough, it would make high-quality video-calling and conferencing simple and commonplace. not to mention the ability to easily share pictures and home videos, or possibly even digitally broadcast video or audio from your own home.

if someone wants to give me a few million dollars, i can make us rich! as long as the bells and sbc don't monopolize the fiber industry, we should all be pretty excited of what this can bring in the next decade, even if it's terrible for the first few years, most things of this nature are anyway.

Re:IP? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11664082)

Was it intended as humor? I for one thought there were some questions to be asked about how TV over Internet would intersect with copyright, such as whether it would be space-shiftable to mobile devices, excerptable under fair use, etc.

Great. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11663453)

My Daughter will never get off the phone line. Ever.

The truth... (1)

twoes00 (839980) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663455)

Here is what Slashdot really meant...

"Currently about 1 mln Europeans get their television via their neighbor."

If you're in Western Canada (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11663468)

TELUS has been trialing IP based TV in Edmonton. It will launch soon in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.

Re:If you're in Western Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11663897)

Yeah - And it sucks ASS. It has plenty of frame dropout, artifacting and just plain loss of signal because of the tremendous bandwidth it requires because they're multicasting all the channels simultaneously.

But it'll all work perfectly by the time they go live in May, because they're imposing draconian 10Gb traffic caps on their ADSL subscribers to recoup that bandwidth instead of actually upgrading to provide more throughput.. so there'll be enough available for TV by then, right? ..RIGHT?!

Still behind the times. (4, Interesting)

PxM (855264) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663476)

Wake me onces TV companies begin to distribute shows (either paid or free w/ commercials) over something like BitTorrent. If they release an "offical" video file onto the web and then attack anyone who distributes a version without commercials, then there won't be that big of a problem with P2P sites since everyone who watches the show will also see the commercials. The only people who would object would be cable TV providers since they no longer have a purpose. This would also get around any FCC problems.

To make sure people watch the commercials, you can use a custom player/P2P app that disable fast forwarding during commercials the first time it is downloaded or some other method to make sure they watch X seconds commercials for every Y minutes of the show.
Free iPod? Try a free Mac Mini [freeminimacs.com]
Or a free Nintendo DS [freegamingsystems.com]
Wired article as proof [wired.com]

Re:Still behind the times. (1)

flewp (458359) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663507)

And a week after that custom player/P2P app is released, there will be hacks and alternatives.

embedded commercials to support p2p IPTV? (1)

Cryofan (194126) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663557)

I agree-- a p2p system to distribute tv is the way to go. And it can happen to much of America if low cost municipal WIFI takes off. That in and off itself would be sufficient to get enough data across, and the added competition would precipitate a sharp drop in broadband prices.

As for supporting production, how about embedded ads in the video? product placement?

Re:Still behind the times. (1)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663670)

Mod him up! Except for the silly thing about custom players. Give me standard MPEG-4. You have no more certainty people will skip the commercials than you had with people muting, or leaving the room for water/pee during the standard broadcast.

And, the distribution costs are so negligible with a bit torrent type system! Think about what it costs to run a full broadcast system, versus hosting a torrent.

tv over phone in canada (4, Insightful)

werdnapk (706357) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663493)

Here in Canada, at least in Manitoba, they've had TV over the phone line for a little while now.

Here's [mts.ca] their website.

I don't know first hand what people's experiences have been with it though.

Re:tv over phone in canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11663631)

We have had it for a couple years here in Saskatchewan too... Along with 7+Mb down internet...

Re:tv over phone in canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11663770)

I live in Winnipeg, and we have MTS TV here, as the above poster described.

I don't have the service personally, but know a few people that do. The quality is on par with digital cable, but MTS here provides extremely customizable packages (select whatever channels you want).

It's almost available to everyone who has access to the DSL network (probably around 600,000 people).

Bandwidth? (1)

elh_inny (557966) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663521)

TV is so much crap, I'm done watching it. Actually I haven't been watching TV for the past two years and I guess it's unworthy of the bandwidth. But how much exatcly does it take to send a proper HDTV signal?
I assume that in such network you're only receiving what you're watching instead of all the channels like it is right now?

Re:Bandwidth? (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663554)

TV is so much crap, I'm done watching it. Actually I haven't been watching TV for the past two years

You deserve a medal. Check your local listings of the time and channel of the medal awards cermony.

Re:Bandwidth? (4, Insightful)

UserChrisCanter4 (464072) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663596)

But how much exatcly does it take to send a proper HDTV signal?

Anywhere from 4 to 37mbps. 4 mbps would assume the low end of a DTV (that's SD signal), encoded using the normal MPEG-2 DTV standard. 37mbps is the highest HD feed I know of; it's the bitrate found on the D-Theater D-VHS source tapes. More realistically, a proper HD (720p or 1080i) signal over the airwaves is between 20 and 27 mbps. So we are talking about a decent amount of bandwidth here.

Of course, it's more likely that they're encoding in an MPEG-4 or Windows Media 9 format, given that the use of a set-top box eliminates the need for maintaining the HD standard of MPEG-2 video plus Dolby Digital audio.

Re:Bandwidth? (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664069)

Multicast cuts down on this consideribly (not the real bandwdith...but with many customers). Hopefully this will increase the use of Multicast (I'm not holding my breath). It would be nice to see wide deployment of multicast across the Internet (Internet2 is already fully multicast enabled)

Re:Bandwidth? (1)

Nik13 (837926) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664480)

Typical HD contents here (satellite) is 13mbps (720p 95% of the time, mpeg2 of course). Looks great :) Record it and convert to mpeg4 yourself, makes nice DRM-free HD DVDs (on DVDRs). No need to wait for whatever new expensive format/disc comes out in a year or 3 :) Pretty CPU intensive mind you. OTA seems to have nice high bitrates, wish I could receive some feeds.

Re:Bandwidth? (1)

ein2many (850712) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663606)

For an off-air digital broadcast we get 19.3 Meg of bandwidth. When we air a true HD program we give it a minimum of 14 Meg. A native HDSDI stream is 1.5 gig. Even when it gets mux'ed into a ASI stream its 270 meg.

Re:Bandwidth? (1)

thpr (786837) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663612)

Let me answer it this way: Alcatel designed it's next generation DSL systems (likely the VDSL systems SBC will actually deploy) to handle about 20Mb/home (48 homes equally share 1Gb/s). They figure this allows something on the order of 1 HD, 2 Non-HD, 2 telephone call, and data all traveling on the line without interference (I may be off a tiny bit there, but it's close to what a VP at Alcatel was talking about at Next Generation Networks in September).

Specifically, I think the HDTV comes out to 6-12MB depending on the encoding (they are 30-40MB uncompressed, thus the interest in 802.11n, 802.11j, and lots of other things to allow them to someday be transmitted in a wireless fashion, if they can only solve the latency and interference problems!)

To your other question: In SBC's system, you will only receive the channel you are watching, because the VDSL doesn't have the bandwidth to support all channels at once. In the Verizon system, they will be multicasting, because the fiber gives them the bandwidth to do it.

Re:Bandwidth? (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664145)

But how much exatcly does it take to send a proper HDTV signal?

An ATSC channel is is 19.8 Mb/s, which can be divided into several subchannels. Most of my local broadcasters divide their allocations up into a HDTV channel, and a SDTV auxiliary channel. Usually the the subchannel is used for weather information, though my PBS channel gets into the habit of showing "Ooh what a pretty picture" stuff on its main channel, and regular PBS programming on the subchannel. PAX shows 6 channels of SDTV-- mostly religious crap, I would imagine.

So, 17-18 Mb/s should suffice.

Re:Bandwidth? (1)

ein2many (850712) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664445)

An ATSC channel is 19.39 Mb/s. We broadcast 4 SDI streams during the day (4 Mb/s each) plus 2 channels of AES audio for each and PSIP info for the stream. I normally have only about 250-500 k of headroom. At night, we have our main PBS feed in SDI (4 Mb/s) and about 14 Mb/s of HD. This feed comes from the main PBS down link and its not just pretty pictures.This is a listing of whats on tonight on our PBS station for today: http://www.klrn.org/Programming/dtvschedule.aspx

FCC? (1)

prattboy (804069) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663537)

Would IP-based TV be monitored by the FCC since there are a limited number of IP addresses, much in the same way there are a limited number of standard TV frequencies? If so, I'm not sure I want more FCC controlled media.

Re:FCC? (1)

Fraew (10491) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663574)

reverse DNS lookups on what programs you watch = killer opportunity for content-specific advertising. just what the world needs, another medium to send you porn ads.

Re:FCC? (1)

aldoman (670791) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663971)

They will be using an internal network to deliver the broadcasts (10.x.x.x or 192.168.x.x or your favourite internal IP range).

This will not be public, so they will have no reason to run out of IP addresses. Hell, they could use IPv6 if they wanted :).

mln (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11663546)

Would that be the American million or the European million?

It's about fraggin' time! (1)

teutonic_leech (596265) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663547)

I'm not even sure that this is going to be feasible in the U.S. anytime soon, but in places like Japan where there is access to affordable and real 'broadband' access, IPTV might be able compete with traditional TV right now!

Re:It's about fraggin' time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11664120)

Noo, not quite.

Here in rural Iowa (USA), a small telco is actively rolling out IPTV to its customers. It costs about the same as the local Large Cable Company's extended basic cable service (USD45-50), but the Telco's offering has over 100 digital channels. The downside is that, due to bandwidth limitations, you can only get 2-3 (depending location) simultaneous channels. I'm hoping to be able to MythTV-ize it.

The main obstacle is that, due to town rules, there must be a vote here in this town (every resident must vote) explicitly allowing Telco to provide TV service. It's quite stupid imho.

Been in Ohio for a couple of years now (4, Interesting)

still cynical (17020) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663615)

Champaign Telephone http://www.ctcn.net/tv.htm/ [ctcn.net] has been doing this for a while now. The way it was explained to me, each TV channel is an ATM network. Changing channels on the remote issues commands to drop the current network, and join the new one. Yes, there is a lag when changing channels, but not huge. If you hit the "channel up" button 25 times, it doesn't join then drop 25 channels in a row, it goes directly to the final one selected.

Re:Been in Ohio for a couple of years now (1)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 9 years ago | (#11665038)

How is the delay compared to broadcast HDTV?

My problem with HDTV is that the delay between hitting the button on the remote, and the channel actually playing. it just destroys the channel surfing experience.

different from digital cable how? (1)

lawngnome (573912) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663620)

how is this different from digital cable? it is that cable isnt required? I have some friends that would enjoy this if you can get it over a dsl connection...

TV Over the Phone Line Available in Winnipeg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11663633)

TV over a phone line has been available in Winnipeg, Canada, for a number of years now. It is being offered via our local phone company. You can get both your DSL and your TV through the phone company. The phone company's website [mts.mb.ca] is light on technical details. The equipment was provided by a company called "Next Level Communications" and I believe that it has been bought up by Motorola. See http://broadband.motorola.com/nlc/ [motorola.com]. The actual device is called the "N3 Residential Gateway".

What took them so long? (4, Insightful)

destiny71 (731278) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663648)

I work for the local Telco/ISP, and we rolled this out over 3 years ago.

Runing a Myrio system. Hardware is MainStreets or something like that.

It's ADSL to the house with a modem. From there, the customer can have up to 2 STB, and unlimited PCs with 3M down, 128k up bandwidth for internet.

Each STB requires 3M, so if they have low quality lines, they can only have one box.

The STB is a linux based PC booting from the NIC, with software loaded on a smart card type drive.

We even have a PPV video on demand system. You can choose the movie you want, and it's streamed from our servers to you. You can stop it, rewind, fast forward, etc. for up to 24 hours. Each movie is streamed out individually to each customer.

Re:What took them so long? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11664347)

How many HDTV signals can you run over your 3MBit system? How many subscribers does it support? Right.

The big deal is that they are deploying FTTH or FTTN + VDSL (a massive hardware investment) so that you get enough bandwidth to run HDTV + TV + Internet + VoIP + Media PC + STB + etc. It also scales to millions of subscribers.

Re:What took them so long? (1)

destiny71 (731278) | more than 9 years ago | (#11665301)

FTTH is rolling out this year.

As far as I know, it's OC-3 from the routers to the CEC boxes. From there, the customers copper line from the telco plugs into a port on a card, and then their line to their house plugs into another port with POTS, and ADSL on it.

So bandwidth is only limited by how far from the CEC they are. There's very few places in the county that can't run 2 STB.

Of course, we are fairly small.

Re:What took them so long? (1)

natersoz (239301) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664695)


I worked for Myrio for 4 years. I am the engineer that wrote (and rewrote) the SigmaDesigns MPEG device driver and X Video overlay (among many other components) for the i3 and Fujitsu boxes.

Wave to the company (Hi Ryan, Hi Eddy, Hi Torrey) Torrey also worked for Myrio and started earlier than I did. He did the remote update piece, bootloader, among many other parts.

The coolest thing Torrey did was write a download activeX control that rebooted the original Win98 deployed box into our homegrown Linux. He should write such a virus for Outlook some day.

Its a good company, but after 4 years... eh...

The Myrio solution works, servers, real-time commercially available encoders, STB's from a good range of companies with more in the pipe (see their website www.myrio.com for the whole schpiel).

It will be interesting to see what MSFT has to offer. At the last CES there were no STB's running MSTV.net (or whatever it is). It was all Pentium PC's masquerading as STB's (if you disconnected the STB ethernet cable, the video still played - really new *AWESOME* technology).

It will be an interesting time to watch.

Re:What took them so long? (1)

destiny71 (731278) | more than 9 years ago | (#11665277)

I remember when they were first installing them, they were windows based. Then after awhile, they moved to linux.

We started with the Fujitsu boxes. Now they have a slim blue box (can't remember the brand) and they are testing a tiny black one that's no bigger than most 5 port hubs.

Re:What took them so long? (1)

natersoz (239301) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664736)

More notes on the Myrio system:

"Broadcast stations" (some call it DTV) are sent using multicast IGMPv2. Very simple, very open. Security is done at the network switch - if you don't pay, you don't get the join.

"Video on Demand (VOD) is point-to-point RTSP (also an open standard with an RFC). Interoperability is tested against an array of VOD server vendors, the "big fish" being N-cube.

We're facing this choice right now where I work. (5, Interesting)

McNally (105243) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663654)

I work for a small publicly-owned ISP serving an island in Southeast Alaska [google.com] and we're currently selecting vendors for our own IPTV offering. Many, many small telcos all over the country are in the same initial stages of IPTV projects -- either evaluating or getting ready to make the leap.

Most of the hardware we've been looking at uses MPEG2 encoding but in the near future the standard is likely to be either MPEG4 or some form of WMV. Microsoft has been aggressively pushing its video codecs and they seem to be gaining traction in the marketplace. However, they're not gaining as much acceptance as they otherwise might in the video world because at this point their reputation precedes them.

To a small player like us their previous behavior in other markets is more than a little alarming. A Comcast- or SBC-sized provider presumably might have some amount of leverage with Microsoft but what kind of consideration can you expect when you're a tiny little speck on the map in a place few people even know exists? Choosing a proprietary Microsoft standard over a reasonably open industry standard could leave you at Microsoft's mercy and, well, they're not known for mercy, are they?

Re:We're facing this choice right now where I work (2, Informative)

Cinematique (167333) | more than 9 years ago | (#11665077)

You're probably right. Chances are, we're all going to be seeing HDTV in MPEG-4 part 10 -- also known as H.264 or AVC. It'll be in Blu-Ray, HD DVD, DirecTV, and QuickTime 7... not to mention a whole slew of other applications. I wouldn't be surprised to see cable companies using it... plus the telecos.

It's an amazing codec since it actually allows stellar HD at surprisingly low bitrates.

You're also right that Mircosoft has an uphill battle to fight considering nobody really wants to give them control over what will be the future of video. Microsoft's only playing card seems to be licensing. If they can undercut MPEGLA, companies will chose it over AVC.

But for simplicity's sake... I hope Microsoft loses. They have just as much a right as any other organization at submitting a standard... but what's better about WMV? If the current incarnation is any indication, it'll be Windows-centric and will leave everyone outside of the platform left virtually stranded. In the grand scheme of things, Microsoft will use it as leverage for future Windows purchases... great for them.. but what about everyone else?

Calgary (1)

hillbilly1980 (137340) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663690)

Here in Calgary, Alberta....Canada.

Shaw Communications(the cable company) just launched VOIP. Its a blow to TELUS(the phone company) which is going to launch IPTV someday.

Their IPTV solution apperently sucks beyond belief, and they can't get it to work very effectively. They were doing trials in the regional offices more then a year ago now, and it couldn't get it working in half of them.

Which indicates they had the basic infastructure in place that long ago, and they have had over a year to work on the problems and to roll out fiber to the reginal neighbourhoods.

But even with a partly working system a year ago they are still not ready to start a mass home trial within the deveopment teams.

Bye bye TELUS

Yargle-Yargle-Yargle-AAAAGH! (1)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663695)

SBC and Microsoft working together to send us our TeeVee signal?

Why do I envision a mutant version of WebTV?


I would swallow carpet tacks than accept service from this flatulent combine of corporations...

I'm guessing it'll fail (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663722)

It'd be really hard to create a successful service without disclosing to consumers exactly where the service is available.

Bandwidth (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663791)

I can't see that the current internet infrastructure can support anything like the kind of bandwidth needed for this.
Millions/Billions of simultaneous full res video streams will surely bring everything to a crawl.

Re:Bandwidth (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663932)

I didn't gather whether these are point-to-point transmissions, or broadcasts of some kind. Hopefully point-to-point.

But is that so infeasable? I don't think so. I download episodes of "Lost" because they look better than on my (analog) cable TV - yet the stream is under 1 megabit per second. Could today's infrastructure handle that for everybody? Certainly not, but the Internet will never grow unless applications push it. And 1 megabit for everybody isn't so hard to imagine. A lot of us are paying Comcast over $1000 per year for this stuff, that means they have the resources to do something cool if competition requires it.

Re:Bandwidth (1)

yabos (719499) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664224)

It's not going over the internet. It's all on their local network over VDSL. VDSL provides enough bandwidth for the TV.

So what are their plans for the DISH? (1)

CrAlt (3208) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663927)

So I wonder what thier long term plans are for that deal they setup not to long ago with EchoStar(DISHNetwork)?

What about... (1)

SeventyBang (858415) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663930)

...the possibilities we were told about when it came to sending communications over electrical lines? (or is that to remain local (@home) only?)

you mean tvtorrents.com? (1)

enigmatichmachine (214829) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663974)

becuase i check there every week to get the last weeks episodes of my favorite shows. sure, i'm a week behind, but its not as if mind numbing television is time sensitive.

Fri:st stop (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11664086)

tteth iYnto when

Available in Canada (1)

dstone (191334) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664117)

Manitoba Telecom Systems have been serving digital television over DSL lines for a while (in Winnipeg only right now, but if a "small" operator like MTS can make it work in a small city like Winnipeg, that's probably good news for the rest of us.)

MTS TV [www.mts.ca], and FAQ [www.mts.ca].

tv ip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11664147)

the possibilities for some TVoIP (we don't HAVE to use Microsoft's protocol, do we?) can be pretty exciting and lucrative. and because the bandwidth is high enough, it would make high-quality video-calling and conferencing simple and commonplace. not to mention the ability to easily share pictures and home videos, or possibly even digitally broadcast video or audio from your own home.

if someone wants to give me a few million dollars, i can make us rich! as long as the bells and sbc don't monopolize the fiber industry, we should all be pretty excited of what this can bring in the next decade, even if it's terrible for the first few years, most things of this nature are anyway.

Local Telco's are already into VoIP and IPTV (2, Interesting)

Jpauls104 (650945) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664249)

Allendale Communications [altelco.net] in Allendale, Michigan is already providing IPTV. Pannaway [pannaway.com] is providing the 'triple play' solution with voice, data, and tv at the local telco.

I think it's good that local telco's are adapting so quickly to stay in the race. With the lines already there for use, it makes it easy to dominate the local area. Personally, I would like to see more competition, instead of one massive provider ruling the IPTV market --not that companies like microsoft are bad for anyone... [sorry, low blow]

Hallelujah (1)

Darthmalt (775250) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664472)

One word COMPETITION!! now maybe comcast will have to lower prices in order to compete. Right now they have you locked in to cable for your TV and Internet because if you drop internet TV price goes up too much to make it worth it. Landlord wont allow A Satellite dish and my room mate wouldnt survive without ESPN.

VoIP international? (2, Interesting)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664666)

Will Americans who come over to Australia for 12months as exchange students be able to still watch their shows thanks to VoIP? How about us aussies? We often don't get American shows, will we be able to sign up for American VoIP and get it while in Australia?

More places where it's rolled out already ... (1)

gordguide (307383) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664770)

Like other places in Canada, it's been available in Saskatchewan for quite a while now. Most communities had it rolled out in 2002.

$C 45.00/month
$C 5.00 discount per month if bundled with either a long distance package or DSL, $C 10.00 if both
135 TV channels (some at additional cost to basic package)
45 streaming Audio channels (commercial free); included in basic
33 streaming commercial Radio channels, included in basic
Video-on-Demand movies, included in basic

I'd link to it, but only the home page is regular HTTP; as soon as you click on a link you're on a secure connection with lots of javaScript; works best with IE. Sasktel dot com if you're interested in checking it out.

On a related note, they're rolling out WiMax right now (30 Km range); been running for 2 years in small test communities and a full-scale rollout will be up (final test) in Kamloops BC this year.

Kamloops is a good place to test; it's in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. They plan to roll out wide-scale WiMax in 12-18 months in urban areas of BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Undisclosed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11664789)

Indianapolis is one of the "undisclosed" markets.

We've had this for a year now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11664907)

Here in central PA, our small phone company [decommunications.com] has been offering TV over DSL for about a year (both in Lewisburg and State College).
The phone company has also teamed up with a local college to allow their TV content to be streamed to set top boxes in the college dorms.
Bucknell University chose this plan because it allowed them to offer cable tv without the added cost of refitting all of the dorms with CATV cable.
During the pilot, the college also tested a PC based TV option, but the client wasn't quite ready for primetime.
One exciting aspect of this technology is that in the future, the university might be able to shop around for the best TV Service provider.

OpenTV, OpenStereo? (1)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 9 years ago | (#11665201)

I just wish all this wasn't tied to such limited technologies. I'm waiting for a TV that has an open interface for changing channels, so that anything plugged into its control port can do any operation on it. IR is unreliable, but look what has been done with universal remote controls. TiVo tries to use "IR blasters" to change TV channels, but it's unreliable. I would like to see some sort of open hardware communications standard emerge in TV's and stereos, so that anything (eg my computer) can connect to the unit's serial control port and do anything it wants to with it, reliably.

Getting TV over phone lines 5 years ago in Phoenix (1)

Optic7 (688717) | more than 9 years ago | (#11665240)

With USWest. Basically it was DSL. They called it VDSL or something similar. Worked exactly like digital cable, nothing special about it.

Infinite channels (1)

mpesce (146930) | more than 9 years ago | (#11665543)

One of the things that both programmers (TV programmers, that is) and consumers usually fail to "get" about IPTV is that it takes us completely away from the channel model of programming. A channel is a set of programs - just like a DJ's set is a selection of tracks. There's nothing intrinsic about the programming - it exists because TV spectrum is limited, so programmers pick the programs that they feel will get them the highest ratings in the market.

But when you move to IPTV, where you can send a highly individualized, per-program stream to each user's STB, why do you need a channel? Can't the customer just directly select the programs they're interested in - from a very, very, very long list of available programs - and watch those? Why do you need a TV programmer at that point?

Of course, there are all sorts of licensing and copyright issues which need to be observed in that situation (so that everyone involved gets to make some money) but that's just a legal nicety.

The idea of having "channels" as anything besides a convienence when we move to IPTV is ludicrous. I mean, we don't have channels on the web, do we?
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