IPTV is about sending television, movies, and other video content over a network connection, such as a local network or the Internet. At this point, the technology is still in its infancy. It has cropped up in some Asian markets as an alternative to broadcast television over the airwaves, but in the US, it is still largely confined to PC users who go to YouTube and Google Video and Yahoo Video to watch blotchy images on small windows on their computer screens.
Are Americans ready for IPTV? At least one service provider thinks so. FrontGate MediaCom has plans to provide standard definition and HDTV content to thousands of Florida homes using private fiber-optic high-speed networks. The company plans to offer more than 250 channels. The company provides video, voice, Internet, and security services to master-planned communities and luxury condo developments throughout Florida.
I believe that this is exactly the way that IPTV will take off in this country. At this moment, it’s more like the earliest days of the personal computer, where individual enthusiasts were willing to take the time to explore its capabilities and accepted its shortcomings. But the FrontGate service is more or less transparent to the user; they don’t need to know what sort of “cable” connection they have. All they know is that they turn on the television or computer, or pick up the phone, and it works. It is this transparent delivery that will make IPTV services a viable alternative to cable, satellite, or over the air broadcast.