Inconsistent coverage makes TV ops lack confidence in Wi-Fi
Joseph O'Halloran | 02-05-2014
Satellite and cable service providers have expressed huge concern that connected homes are not so connected due to inherent flaws flaws in wireless technologies.

Worryingly, given that operators are pinning so much hope on value-added services through the home, new research from Informa and AirTies Wireless Networks has found that even though more than thee-quarters of cable and satellite operators, telecom service providers, mobile operators, OTT consumer IP service providers and free-to-air broadcasters deliver TV services over Wi-Fi, as many as two-thirds of them see inconsistent wireless coverage as a major barrier to delivering video services in the home. Just under a third regard Wi-Fi as the most effective way of delivering video to multiple screens in the home when compared with Powerline, Coxial cable and other in-home wiring.

When asked to rate the reason for support-related calls, they gave high scores to poor Wi-Fi range, dead spots within the home, followed by Wi-Fi connection speed being slower than headline Internet speeds.

The report also revealed that service providers use an ad hoc range of approaches to delivering multiscreen video with two-fifths providing no central DVR-enabled gateway, opting instead for each set-top box to be connected individually to the broadcast network. Just over a quarter (28%) of respondents deliver broadcast TV signals to a central gateway-type device in the home and the same number (28%) delivered over a single integrated IP-based head-end to all devices.

Yet, encouragingly, looking at the keys to success of multiscreen and multi-room TV, the survey showed that quality of service and improved reliability of Wi-Fi was high on the wish list of operators. Just over half (54%) of respondents cited uniformity of service across multiple devices to be the most important service factor for customers, and two-fifths of operators stated that minimising support calls and truck rolls were of high importance to them. Respondents also rated the ability of subscribers to install equipment themselves as important with 36% giving this the highest rating.

"Customers expect flawless video and TV service delivery within the home, although many will forgive disrupted service outside of the home, customers expect in-home multiscreen and device services to be just as good as those on the main TV screen," said Bulent Celebi, chairman and co-founder of AirTies, commenting on the research findings. "Yet the study has shown that Wi-Fi signal is not delivering that perfect service. As a consequence, smart providers are now recognising that they need to put technology in place that provides a bridge between wireless strength and delivery of the TV or video service."