Blog Post

Another Microsoft IPTV Delay?

Deutsche Telekom, one of the largest incumbents in Europe has delayed its T-Home Internet Television system, due to technical problems. The service which was supposed to be launched in July 2006 is now going to be available in mid-October. “Some say we’re delaying interactive TV services but we never really said when we plan to offer them,” a DT spokesperson tells tells IDG news service. A head in the sand strategy perhaps?

The news reports on DT’s delay have been sketchy but our good friend Dave Burstein, who pens the DSL Prime e-newsletter has some further details.

“They now have halted deployment to spend six months integrating the systems, getting the bugs out of Microsoft IPTV and the network, and then adding 3 million more homes by the first quarter of 2007,” he writes in most recent missive.

British Telecom, Swisscom, Telecom Italia and DT are some of the European incumbents betting on Microsoft TV. In private chats with some senior executives, we did not get a sense that they had any confidence on current generation offering, but remained pretty high on the overall direction Microsoft is taking.

3 Responses to “Another Microsoft IPTV Delay?”

  1. Linux Freak

    It’s all about the customer.
    Take a moment to compare the customer experience of the Myrio vs Microsoft platforms. Microsoft delivers an appealing solution to the customer in terms of user interface and use-ability. The rest of the MW market is an embarrassment. Customers want a sexy, intuitive experience encompassing Guide/PVR/VOD/RSS/Comms applications – not some lame browser based table of episode titles that take 2 seconds to load and look like a dog.

    But what about the bugs?
    They all have bugs. Take a look at the two biggest Myrio deployments on the planet today. KPN and Belgacom have spent years getting their Myrio code branches stable at the cost of feature development. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the Myrio guys, just they have not had the investment levels that they require and deserve. Siemens you cheapskates, give your people some coin to make Myrio as nice as MSTV. It seems like a no brainer? Look at the size of this market! Invest! MSTV 1.2 meanwhile has cleared many of the bugs that have haunted the 1.1(beta code) release. If you ask the folk in the know (the operators) you will find many of the deployment delays were a result of network integration issues including:

    1. The home network is hard. Powerline, COAX, UTP, HPNA, WIFI etc. Getting the home network wrong means big customer care $ and high negative churn. Guess who gets the blame when home network problems appear; yep it’s those devils at Microsoft!

    2. Nil packet loss networks require completely new network architecture. This is a lot of challenging, costly, time consuming work for a network operator. All network operators are nearing agreement on how this should be done. That’s right, design principals for video grade broadband networks are still being argued. Meanwhile, artifacts resulting from packet loss are somehow connected to the STB so… it must be those lizards at Mountain View again!

    3. The OSS/BSS layer is the sticky stuff that glues the IPTV head end onto the operator’s management systems. For some operators this is easy, for others it means re-designing some very complex, ancient, sensitive and very critical (billing) systems. This stuff takes a long time to implement and support. Once again, delays in OSS/BSS integration (can only ever be responsibility of operator) must be in some way related to those monsters at MSTV!

    Oh, and lets not get started on the Microsoft number of servers per sub myth that every other MW vendor has been beating up. Take away the I-frame channel change servers and it scales at the same ratio as all the rest. It is an American thing this instant zap time. I mean who the hell cares about zap time when you are selecting from the guide, VOD or recorded TV apps? Alternatively you could go the BT way with DVB-T tuners for sub second change times and very low network (IP) requirements.

    Microsoft has absolutely slaughtered the entire IPTV middleware industry in a few short years. It is not too late, however some serious investment in the client side look and feel is required and fast. SBC are quickly fixing their network and pushing (pushed?) 1.2 stability patch, DT have launched, BT are about to go, virtually every other European operator is watching closely (all but FT!). If a viable alternative (focus on customer experience!) is not available by Q307 then Mountain view have won. Clock is ticking…

  2. didn’t someone compare them to IBM recently. Just like you did not get fired for buying from IBM, it is safe to go with Microsoft, however pain it might cause in the long run. Funny thing is that Siemens, another German company owns Myrio, which does what Microsoft plans to do, it is deployed in live networks, but DT did what it did. Oh well…

  3. MSFT has been trying to “get the bugs out” of it’s IPTV software for years. Remember Microsoft TV? Given their past record in this field, I have little faith that they will make produce and actually deploy a solid IPTV solution any time soon. But that hasn’t stopped them from throwing money at it every chance they get. Goes to show how money isn’t everything…