IP the key to 'triple play' for cable companies, researcher says

April 7, 2005
April 7, 2005 - A new study covering the worldwide CATV market says they're desperately trying to build architecture to compete with telcos.

A new study from ABI Research (www.abiresearch.com) explains that large cable operators, especially in North America, are migrating to install network architecture based on Internet Protocol (IP) to combat the mounting threat from telecommunications companies that offer the "triple play" of voice, data, and video services.

The report, entitled "Worldwide CATV infrastructure market," examines this migration, the new services it will enable, and the new revenue streams that it will bring to cable operators.

According to Michael Arden, ABI's principal analyst of broadband and residential entertainment technologies, a key component is the DOCSIS set-top gateway, which incorporates a broadband modem allowing high-speed delivery of video and other rich content through an IP connection rather than by conventional cable. "That allows for easier and more interactive delivery of certain services," Arden says. "Video-on-demand will be first, but later the architecture will permit additional, interactive services: Voice over IP, wireless, on-demand music channels, network-based personal video recording, HDTV, messaging, gaming, and more."

Using switched-video technology, it also allows the cable company to know which channel a customer is requesting. That means more-efficient use of bandwidth, but will also provide the cable operator with detailed knowledge of users' consumption patterns for marketing and advertising.

Telecom companies already started offering such packages with their broadband and triple-play services, and Arden says the cable companies are desperate to catch up before their rivals gain an irreversible lead.

The shift in network architecture is not proceeding the same way everywhere, the report states. Cable market penetration and size, the age of networks, and broadband alternatives all play roles outside North America.

The study examines various aspects of CATV economics, including subscriber growth, industry revenue sources, industry concentration trends, and competitive pressures.

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