If you read a fair amount about new media and specifically web video distribution, you will come across two terms that seem nearly synonymous – IPTV and Internet TV. I believe there is little confusion about what is Internet or Web TV. It is one of my passions and a common topic on Connected. Examples of Internet TV include Hulu, Sling, Revision3 and TheWb. What is IPTV though?
Internet Protocol Television or IPTV is the telecomm industry’s answer to cable companies encroachment on home phone service. IPTV is a closed system for providing content similar to cable or satellite. In the U.S., examples of IPTV include AT&Ts U-verse and Verizon’s FiOS networks. It has the potential to provide a more efficient content distribution than cable and allows for a more engaging user experience with widgets and other interactive features. I had the opportunity to subscribe to U-verse and can say without question it is a higher quality product than anything Comcast or Time Warner offers up.
One of the best explanations I found defining the difference between IPTV and Internet TV was in a presentationby Jeremy Allaire, founder and president of Brightcove. Surprisingly, it was given on March 10, 2005. What amazed me is how accurately he predicts and works through the challenges facing Internet TV including cable contracts, bandwidth throttling, content ownership, profit cannibalization and bandwidth costs. It is arguable to suggest Allaire is a visionary for this emerging market and at worst a pioneer who has lead Brightcove to become a dominant player in Internet TV.