Understanding Broadband Video

Broadband video defined

It's easy to get lost in terminology, especially when even the experts often use terms interchangeably. So to clarify, when we use the term "broadband-delivered video", we currently define it as video content that is sent over broadband Internet connections. Today this is delivered mostly to PCs through cable modem, DSL and other Ethernet connections (campuses, businesses, etc).

Other terms that can generally refer to this same concept include "online video", "Internet TV" and "PC video". No doubt this definition will evolve in the future to also include wireless broadband access, as well as delivery to other devices, including TVs (which is technically possible today, but not convenient for most consumers).

We use the term "broadband-delivered video" because it has an Internet-centric connotation. We believe that in the future, the Internet model is at the core of how video distribution will work and how consumer behavior will be most influenced.

Further, we believe that the Internet's business models most relevant for predicting the future shape of the video value chain. That future involves open access, on-demand consumption, rapid product evolution, best-of-breed competitive dynamics, standardized technologies and minimal government regulation.

What About "IPTV"?
Another term often used is "IPTV". This generally refers to video delivered by service providers to an "IP set-top box" connected to a TV and as such is inherently a "TV-centric" approach. Similar to today's cable TV model, the choice of which programming is delivered to that box and how it is priced is assumed to be packaged and controlled by the service provider. In addition, the end-to-end network for delivering the video is assumed to be operated by the service provider, thereby ensuring a quality of service or "QOS".

We believe that in the future, service providers will shift their TV-centric video delivery from today's technologies to IPTV for the "packaged video" product delivered to the TV, for a variety of economic and technical reasons. This may complement or compete with video services available to consumers over "broadband-delivered video". At this point it is too early to predict. The only thing that is known is that today, in the U.S. alone, the number of broadband-enabled consumers numbers in the tens of millions, while the number of IPTV-enabled consumers numbers in the thousands.

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