On Demand Summit: Time Warner Cable Exec Talks Up IPTV Future

Operator gearing up for trial by year-end
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Philadelphia -- Time Warner Cable's New York City system is doing a
trial of "TV Everywhere" online viewing of premium content for
authenticated subscribers and the cable operator is gearing up for an
IPTV trial at the end of the year, the system's top engineering
executive said June 9 at the B&C/Multichannel News On Demand Summit 2.0.

James
Manchester, regional president of network operations and engineering in
the company's New York City system, mentioned those events in the
context of how TWC sees "the home of the future" developing. He said TWC is
moving toward a "big pipe" approach, delivering content to an edge
device in the home, one with a hard drive and caching capabilities, that
can link to computers, iPads, iPods, any device on which a subscriber
wants to view content.

DOCSIS 3.0, cable's next generation
broadband platform, enables that big pipe, he said.

On-demand
content -- or "non-linear" programming as he termed it -- could comprise
the majority of viewed programming over time, other than sports and
other fare watched live, according to Manchester. Non-linear content is
already a big part of TV viewing, whether it be from a DVR, video on
demand, Apple TV or videos from Netflix or Redbox.

The TV
Everywhere trial going on now in New York, with a small number of
subscribers, involves premium content that can be viewed on the Web for
authenticated customers, he said. Working out the authentication process
is a major reason for the trial, he said.

An IPTV test would be
in keeping with TWC's evolution of digital video distribution. The
company was previously reported to be planning a test of Microsoft's
Mediaroom IPTV software in the Los Angeles system. Manchester didn't
spell out specifics of the planned IPTV trial.

He said cable's
erosion of video subscribers, at a time when digital voice and broadband
subscriptions continue to grow, makes it essential to move to more of
an IPTV environment.

Right now, he said, customers that want
robust international programming are using TWC cable modems plugged into
IPTV devices to get Chinese language fare from KyLin TV. TWC would like
to be able to make such programming services an extension of the TWC
offering, he said.

Manchester made a point that TWC started
testing VoIP in 1997 and didn't deploy it fully until 2004.

"It's
no secret that we're losing video subscribers as an industry," he said.
"We can't afford to wait."

Other developments he mentioned include
a test in the Hudson Valley region of New York in which a
video-on-demand channel is the default setting for the set-top box.

He
also said an MSO-backed advanced advertising consortium -- he didn't
name it, but it is Canoe Ventures -- will launch an application that lets
ad viewers order different samples of chewing gum.

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