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Friday, August 19, 2005
Siemens offers interactive TV across the Internet

All that's needed is a DSL connection and a conventional television linked together.

After years and years of harsh attempts by MS to be the first company offering a software only TV over DSL solution and thus be able to dominate the market, recent EU setbacks seem to offer excellent advantages to hardware-only similar solution providers.

Siemens is the first to have prototyped and vastly tested such a solution on a realistic large-scale scenario. Surely, there will be others to follow as soon as they realize Vista might find fierce criticism among EU parliament.

Although there are certain cost-associated advantages for a software-only client-side solution, in the long term the monthly and/or pay-per-view cost is certainly the dominating factor here. Hence, vendors offering client, hardware-only solutions can very well compensate for their disadvantage by offering the client kits for free, at the cost of a somewhat more increased initial investment.

Given the fact that a large scale deployment of Windows Vista systems is more than 3 years away, now there seems to be an excellent opportunity for telcom hardware infrastructure giants like Phillips and Alcatel to also get into the party.

Below you can find some news concerning the Siemens-Belgacom-KPN experience as reported by FCB Redline.

Following several months of successful testing in a thousand Belgian households, network operator Belgacom is pointing the way to the future of television with interactive, digital television via Internet Protocol (IP). All that's needed is a DSL connection and a conventional television linked together by a set-top box that converts digital data into perfect television signals.

Siemens is offering a complete solution for Internet television, providing the network operator with everything from the server technology and user software to data encryption, devices for the reception of satellite data and the set for the consumer ? all from a single source. For viewers, operating the menu and using the set-top boxes is a simple and user-friendly operation.

Belgacom is also offering an exciting and exclusive attraction ? transmission of the Belgian and Italian league soccer games. If a game is missed, the set-top box digitally stores a recording that can be viewed later. Belgacom customers can also enjoy video telephone calls via their television, download their favourite films from the Internet, surf the Web, e-mail and chat.

A Dutch provider, KPN, has also selected Siemens to be its partner in a contract beginning in October 2005. Siemens plans to further minimise the bandwidths needed for transmission by the end of the year, which will ensure reception of live TV broadcasts at 1.8Mbps ? about the same as the average rate of today's DSL standard.

The factors that will make this possible include the new MPEG-4 video data compression, which will dramatically reduce the technical requirements for the consumer while making digital television almost universally available.

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