Time Warner Gets Into The IPTV Game

Conventional wisdom pits the cable companies (or MSOs – Multiple Service Operators – as they’re known in the trade) against the likes of Apple, Microsoft and Sony as the next-generation delivery providers for entertainment content.

Time Warner broke that mold this week with the announcement of their own IPTV strategy: One that unites PC-bound content and HDTV’s through a home networking device that democratizes the Web to TV link:

“Right now it’s pretty hard to get Internet stuff on your TV,” [CEO Glenn] Britt said at the Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York [on Friday].

“We’re actually going to have equipment we make available to subscribers,” he said. “It’s actually going to be a new wireless cable modem that will allow you to network everything in your house.”

What’s significant about this is that there is renewed interest in converging the Web and TV. What’s different about this is that the interest is not in driving lean-forward iTV, where the internet’s presence in TV is used to deliver “Value-Added” content and shopping opportunities. Rather, this move is about getting the lean-back experience of Web video to the living room. Moreover, it’s about competing with IPTV set-top boxes that have similar features but also allow movie and TV show purchases and rentals.

As mentioned on this blog last week, Forrester has predicted that Apple is going to throw itself full-force into this market, delivering products and services to support the home-entertainment convergence. I continue to disagree with this sentiment, and see Apple continuing to want to wrap up its products into opportunities to own the content-conduit-commerce services that live underneath the experience, rather than furthering the front end applications. This play by Time Warner looks to compete with THAT plan, and is further indication that the content distributors and aggregators see that VEBCAR (Value Exists Between Couch And Remote) is the focus of their model.

Link to Reuters Article

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