NASDAQ:MSFT) Microsoft Corporation
By BRUCE MEYERSON AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- I want my IPTV? Internet Protocol, the language of
most online communications, was supposed to have revolutionized the
way we watch television by now, enabling a wide range of multimedia
bells and whistles: from multiple camera angles to on-screen Web
searches while viewing Gilligan's Island to see which actors are still
But just as the tech bubble's promise of "IP" telephone service over
an Internet connection is only now becoming a widespread reality, IPTV
finally appears to be on the verge of cracking the U.S. mainstream.
Not the cable TV establishment _ which questions the technology and
the demand for so much interactivity _ but rather three Bell telephone
companies are taking IPTV off the drawing board in the United States,
much as telecom players in Asia and Europe have led the way abroad.
The extent of the Bells' plans vary considerably, but perhaps a dozen
markets will see some form of IPTV starting later this year, and
millions of homes may have the option by the end of 2006.
SBC Communications Inc., the dominant local phone company from the
Midwest to California, is deploying a full-blown IPTV system that it
plans to launch by year-end in at least a few undisclosed markets.
Verizon Communications Inc. plans to offer some interactive IP-based
features on top of a conventional digital cable service. The company
also won't name its debut markets, due mid-year, though it has secured
cable franchise licenses in certain suburbs of Dallas and Los Angeles.
While BellSouth Corp. has expressed doubt about whether a cable
rollout makes financial sense, the company sees enough potential to
trial IPTV technology in undisclosed markets.
The nation's dominant cable providers, busy introducing telephone
service across the country, say there's no rush to introduce TV
services much more interactive than video-on-demand and digital video
recorders to pause, fast-forward and rewind.