German IPTV numbers set to grow

By Robert Briel

The total number of German households subscribing to IPTV services is set to grow to 1.8 million before the end of 2010, according to research by BITKOM.

Before the end of this year there will be 1.2 million IPTV homes in the country. Achim Berg, VP of the German association of high tech companies, announced these projections today (Wednesday, June 1) at the opening of the IPTV Summit in Berlin.

The past three years has seen the fast development of Deutsche Telekom’s T-Entertain, HanseNet/Alice and Arcor, the three IPTV providers in the German market.

At the IPTV Summit, BITKOM issued a graph showing the advantages of IPTV as compared with other means of TV distribution (see picture). However, we believe the information on the chart is flawed and should be corrected.
Under the heading DVB-T it claims pay-TV is not possible on terrestrial broadcasts. Of course this is not true, even in the German market, with RTL set to begin experiments in the regions of Stuttgart and Leipzig/Halle with over-the-air encrypted pay-TV channels.

The chart also claims HDTV has only ‘limited’ possibilities on cable and satellite - this is clearly nonsense. Satellite, especially, is best equipped to distribute a large number of HD channels. And IPTV itself has constraints - HDTV is limited to those homes that have at least ADSL 2+ or VDSL connections.
The overview also states that VOD is not possible on cable. This is of course nonsense, as cable operators in a number of European countries have already deployed very successful VOD services.

We also do not see why IPTV should be better equipped to handle time-shifted TV than digital cable TV.
Lastly, the chart claims web TV is not accessible by cable. With the new wave of connected TVs such as the Philips NetTV, this is also not true.