IPTV

As the internet takes over more and more of our lives can the traditional TV be spared?

What we see on the television glass is changing, primarily due to the advent of different means of piping that content to the screen. In the typical American living room, the images on the TV screen may come from cable, DVRs, gaming consoles, routed through tablets or satellite, or now more recently, through the ubiquitous router, in the shape of the IPTV.

Internet protocol TV (IPTV), which allows the streaming of internet video directly to the television screen, may spark a revolution just as Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) transformed telephony. The old favorite device, the television, is here to stay, but how it gets its content may change soon. Americans are one of the heaviest video watchers across the globe, spending about 35 hours a week on the activity – that’s more than some people’s work week! More importantly, though that video time may be broken up across a multitude of devices, the television is still king – it gets 94% of that time.

But with the explosion of content, particularly video, available on the net, more and more Americans want to route their net video onto the television – hence the growing popularity of IPTV.

“Internet Protocol TV has grown dramatically over the course of the last year. People talk about ‘the TV is dead, or that it’s dying,’ but it doesn’t look like it yet,” says Pat McDonough, Nielsen’s SVP Insights Analysis and Policy.

According to statistics, though only 4.7 percent of homes had IPTV in February 2011, a year later, in February 2012, the number had more than doubled to 10.4 percent. In this respect, IPTV may be making a market entry similar to eReaders and tablets – slow at first, a torrent later.

But the television set itself has nothing to fear. That’s because most TV sets being manufactured these days have IPTV functionality. Strangely, many Americans have purchased sets with this feature built in, but are not activating it. That is likely changing – it was observed that the internet streaming feature in IPTV enabled homes grew from 2 percent in October 2011, to 5 percent in February 2012.

If this takes off, there is likely to be increasing pressure on telcos to provide bandwidth. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) recently unveiled a monstrously fast internet connection, which provides download speeds in excess of 1 GBPS. These could be the pipelines for streaming content into the living rooms of the future. Cable companies may have to sit up and take note, because somebody may move their cheese.

Content providers, such as producers of television channels and movies, may ultimately have to contend with the internet and IPTV as the new ways to reach their audiences. New devices and platforms, such as  Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) TV and Google TV may be the initiators of the IPTV boom. Through the Microsoft’s Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Xbox Smartglass offering, the power of Xbox, the magic of Kinect and the intelligence of Xbox SmartGlass combine together to ensure the consumer will be able to surf the Internet, using his voice on the Xbox 360 and navigate using mobile devices for an incredibly easy Web browsing experience on the television.