BT will have to work hard to make its newly announced broadband TV service BT Vision a success, according to a report by consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.
Incumbent operators in France, Spain, Iceland and Sweden are already kicking off their own commercial IPTV services, and BT is due to begin trials shortly ahead of a commercial launch pencilled in for autumn. Although pricing details have yet to be released, the telco has signed up a number of content partners.
However, while analysts reckon IPTV is "likely to establish itself as a valid alternative to cable and satellite TV over time" they warn that despite the high expectations, "IPTV may not be an immediate success throughout Europe".
It seems that question marks over the appetite for IPTV services, the content available, and competition from existing TV services such as satellite and cable could all help to stifle take-up early on.
However, if IPTV providers are able to offer other bundled services - such as voice, instant messaging or unified messaging - then IPTV might just be the application that takes broadband beyond the PC and net access.
Senior analysts Fernando Elizalde said: "Telecom operators launching IPTV can make it a success if they deliver a service that is truly differentiated from that of cable operators, not only in content but also in applications, customer service, and overall user experience."
The latest figures from Ofcom reveal that the UK has the highest digital penetration of any country in the world. At the end of 2005 almost seven in ten UK households were tuned in to digital TV, while take-up has not passed the 50 per cent mark in any other European country. ®