by November 3, 2010 0 comments

IPTV was launched in India way back in 2006 by MTNL in a few major Indian cities. Years went by and more and more players joined the IPTV thingie. However, IPTV didn’t really take off in India as expected due to major competition from DTH services that came around the same time. Most of us know that for IPTV services a dedicated broadband line (with 4Mb/s speed) is required. Further more, the 4Mb/s speed availability depends on the distance between your house to the nearest exchange center. So, thinking about IPTV services on mobile phones, when 3G is yet to arrive, seems almost impossible. However, this is where UTStarcom steps into the picture.UTStarcom already has its Mobile IPTV service up and running and they are in the testing phase of the application. We were called in for an exclusive demo of
the service. UTStarcom provide the hardware for various IPTV operators, hence it wasn’t much of a surprise that they were working on Mobile IPTV. What shocked us was the quality of the video streamed on the phone!

To display the IPTV service, UTStarcom had setup the IPTV service on a TV, a laptop and a couple of handsets. All three were put to play the same channel. The TV had the best display with zero delay, but, the performance of an IPTV service running on mobile through a standard GPRS connection was amazing. Though there was a lag of around 2 seconds between the content on TV and the mobile, watching live TV on a mobile while on the move, without any buffering amazed us.

When asked how is this being achieved, we were told that UTStarcom has been working on the data transfer issue and have managed to bring down the streaming content for mobiles to 60 Kbps average transfer rate. The phone requires Real Player, and that’s it, the mobile IPTV service can be accessed without any hassles. Currently the client is available for Windows Mobile, Symbian and certain other mobile phones that come with Real Player installed. There are no clients for iPhone and BlackBerry platform as such, but an Android client is being tested and would be launched soon. The client works on both GSM and CDMA networks and once 3G becomes available it would work on 3G as well.

The company stated that they have been running trial runs with data traveling across a few major routers and the service has worked glitch-free with minimal issues. Unless the network fails, the service runs constantly without any hiccups. They also added that the Mobile IPTV service also supports adaptive screening if the operator allows for it. So if you are using a GPRS connection to view TV on your phone and you connect to a known WiFi device automatically, the quality of the video would get better as it gets more bandwidth and vice versa.
However, the trouble with IPTV running on your mobile phone is the same as with any other video streaming; it consumes your battery at a slightly faster rate than normal as both your display and your network are constantly used. Secondly, unless there is a specific data plan by the operator for the IPTV service, the streaming of data on a normal GPRS data package would not be a feasible option for all.Since its an IPTV service, users should be able to get all channels that are there on a standard IPTV connection if the operators agree to it. UTStarcom is in talks with various telecom providers for the service to be launched and we should see a roll out in the coming months.

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