Telecom to trial video on demand

Telecom is set to announce the trial rollout of its video on demand service, possibly under the brand name JetVideo.

Telecom is set to announce the trial rollout of its video on demand service, possibly under the brand name JetVideo.

The domain name jetvideo.co.nz has been purchased by Telecom's law firm AJ Park and Telecom has invited media to a launch demonstration to be held on Monday.

While details of the trial are sketchy at the moment, technology consultant David Preece says the success of the service depends on Telecom being able to guarantee quality of service right across the connection from server to user.

"In terms of technology the way it's done today is you buy a huge central server and you need to guarantee a certain quality of service for connection from end to end".

Preece, who has been looking into the business of video on demand from a business point of view, says he doesn't think Telecom will adopt this approach, and would be better placed to add the video server to the DSLAMs (Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer) thus ensuring only one hop between content provision and the end user.

"However scaling that to the whole country is still going to be a big concern for them."

Preece says the biggest question is whether the service will be to set-top boxes for viewing on TV or to the user's PCs.

"The advantage of sending it to the PC is that the user buys the equipment while set-top boxes would mean Telecom providing them." However, Preece says providing video to the PC isn't as exciting a proposition as video to the TV.

"People don't watch movies on their PCs. It's uncomfortable."

From a technology point of view, Preece says there a number of options open to Telecom.

"If it's straight to the desktop it's possibly a Microsoft thing, Media Server or some solution like that." Telecom's close working relationship with Microsoft would no doubt influence the decision, says Preece.

Telecom's relationship with Alcatel would also come into play - Alcatel is currently building Telecom's all-IP network and it is on this platform that the new JetVideo would most likely run.

"Thompson Multimedia makes video over DSL gear which is plug and play. Thompson is owned by Alcatel so that puts them in the front running for that one."

Of course one of the major areas to be considered is that of digital rights management and Preece says this is an area fraught with difficulties.

"The problem with video on demand is there are so many patent and copyright issues and digital rights management issues that it's the headache from hell."

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