What about advanced hybrid television services in the U.S.? Skitter.TV and Verismo Networks

by | Oct. 26, 2010

For now, much of the attention about hybrid television services that combine over-the-air programming with IP video-on-demand and streams from other online video sources has been focused on Europe, and rightfully so. In fact, many "IPTV" efforts in Europe are themselves hybrids, among them BT Vision and Telefónica. Between operator-deployed hybrids such as IPTV and retail-based hybrid approaches, we anticipate that Europe will have more than 60 million households receiving hybrid television services by 2015.

But what about the U.S. market? Up until now, hybrids have been a more difficult proposition, as pay-TV has been the norm. In fact, our recently-released Digital Living Forecast Workbook indicates that pay-TV services will reach approximately 87% of all U.S. households by year-end.

However, there are at least two drivers for the consideration of hybrid services:

1. Consumers are getting more fed up with high television prices and may consider ways to either reduce or eliminate their pay-TV services altogether. In fact, our study All Eyes on Video reveals very little satisfaction for the cost of pay-TV services, with the exception of subscribers to AT&T U-verse or Verizon FiOS services. I suppose these folks are still in the honeymoon stage.
2. Second, the hybrid services themselves are becoming more compelling, both in price and features. Take Sezmi for example - for as low as $4.99 a month (and a $149.99 one-time hardware purchase from the local Best Buy), subscribers receive their local channels an HD DVR, and access to VoD. For $19.99, subscribers receive 80 cable TV channels.

I think that hybrid approaches will be something about which we'll be hearing a whole lot more, particularly with events such as TelcoTV November 9-11. We're already seeing some pre-announcements, including Skitter Inc. and and Verismo Networks.

Skitter.TV is a hybrid IPTV/over-the-top video platform enabling telecom service providers and entertainment content companies to encode, configure, deliver and monetize streaming media services. Skitter.TV provides a broadband media experience on computers, televisions, mobile devices and gaming consoles. The end-to-end video and audio solution includes head-end hardware and software for integrated Web video, live (linear) cable network and broadcast TV, digital audio, and video-on-demand content, delivered over IP via DSL, fiber optics or wireless networks. Skitter.TV's end-user software and program guide offer consumers premium-quality high definition (HD) or standard definition (SD) multiscreen entertainment service that combines live TV, over-the-top Web video, on-demand content, digital audio and apps, all in one unified, remote-control-driven environment.

Verismo Networks announced its next-generation high-definition VuNow Internet TV platform that allows Multi System Operators (MSOs), Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Telcos to bring linear channels combined with value-added internet applications over the Internet to their subscribers. By using the internet as a distribution method, service providers can rapidly expand their existing footprint and reach new global markets with minimal investment in their infrastructure.

Tags: Europe, OTT, pay TV

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