Parks Associates Blog

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Telecom Italia with a Hybrid OTT Set-top Box

Interesting news from Telecom Italia that they are going to deploy a hybrid set-top box (reported to be an Intel-based box supplied by Amino) that will receive broadcast DTT channels and online video.

With all of the hand-wringing going on about cord-cutting here in the U.S., I think the threat is far more serious in Europe, where free DTT service is already a barrier to growth for both IPTV and cable operators. We've heard from European operators that the hybrid set-top box supporting broadband-enabled VoD services will be a critical service in allowing them to keep at least a broadband connection in a home that doesn't desire a pay-TV subscription.

And, with Intel as part of the Telecom Italia mix, it looks like consumer electronics players may be able to take advantage of opportunities to provide service providers with a means to provide unique services to their customers. Could television manufacturers be allies for the operators? Perhaps, if we see more partnerships such as the one announced at CES between LG Electronics and France Telecom/Orange. I tend to think that the majority of hybrid deployments will involve lower-cost set-top boxes, but there's no reason to think that connected TVs, Blu-ray players, and other Web-enabled CE devices won't be able to take advantage of the VoD services being supplied over broadband connections by the service providers.

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