Broadband Forum put out its 2010 numbers last week along with Point Topic and it looks like it was a pretty strong year all around. A good amount of growth, 34.6% in the year in IPTV subscriptions coupled with further penetration in the broadband adoption area gave the year a rosy look.
Broadband topped 500 million lines last year, over 55 million new broadband lines were realized meaning more households worldwide have larger pipes for streaming video content. Here are the top 10 broadband countries so you can compare to IPTV subscriptions. The US has over 80 million households with broadband while China has over 130M.
IPTV Tuned In
2010 saw a peak 45.4 million people subscribing to IPTV worldwide, a growth of 34.6% or 11.5 million households. The fourth quarter was the fast growing with 3.4M or about 8%.
Europe held on to its number one regional spot, but the growth rate was lower in comparison to other markets, mostly due to maturing IPTV territories such as France and Belgium. Asia showed strong growth with over 50% for the year and is the one to watch to overtake Europe in 2011 as largest IPTV subscriber base. And although the region started with a low overall number of subscribers, the Middle East and Africa (MEA), had the strongest percentage growth - at 63.5%.
Six of the top 10 IPTV countries are in Europe, with France remaining the leading IPTV nation, passing the 10 million mark for the first time. China (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) also passed 10 million, and is closing the gap on France.
France has 10 million subscribers to IPTV which is a full 50% of its broadband subscribers. This is due to a very well-developed and strong carrier presence in the country. Companies like Telefonica O2 offer broadband and IPTV packages which are becoming quite popular in the region.
China certainly looks to be growing rapidly with 3.5M new subscribers and could take the top spot early this year. The US on the other hand is growing about about 1.3M users a year, the same growth seen in South Korea and just less than the rate of growth in France (1.75M).
What is IPTV?
This information comes from a Broadband Forum paper on IPTV.
Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) is the delivery of multimedia content to a home entertainment system
over an IP-based packet network. The packet network protocol is based upon the same standard used on
the Internet. In addition to providing traditional broadcast TV, IPTV can provide 2-way interactive services.
The user can select non-linear video services such as Video on Demand (VoD) content and watch a movie
at his or her convenience and pace rather than at a broadcast scheduled time (linear video). Extensions
to the IPTV experience are bringing a new dimension to TV watching from the traditional "lean back and
watch" to enabling newer "lean forward and interact" services to engage the user.
The 2-way features of IPTV now include camera selection while watching sporting events; interactive
voting for political candidates during televised debates, gaming and interaction with advertisements – by
pressing a button on the TV remote a user can click to request additional information on a product. This
instantaneous feedback engages the subscriber and provides a direct connection to the advertiser.
Users can watch broadcast (linear TV), VoD or use a Personal Video Recorder (PVR) to watch at a later
time (time shifting) or even in a different room (place shifting). These new features will work on the
traditional Standard Definition TV (SDTV) and High Definition TV (HDTV) sets but also Personal
Computers (PCs) and mobile phones – device shifting.
Content can be the traditional broadcast stations (CNN, BBC, …) but since IPTV is based upon the
Internet Protocol (IPv4 or IPv6), Content Distribution Networks (CDN) and even small community network
stations can provide content from all over the world. The end viewer's quality of experience (QoE) takes
on new meaning as IPTV expands to incorporate thousands of external content sources with different
attributes, taking the IPTV ecosystem from a provider managed network and service to also providing
support of un-managed content and in-house networks.