Article – French language
France has become the first country to bring to the mainstream one of the key pillars for Internet-driven TV. This pillar is for an IPTV or single-pipe triple-play provider to allow us to gain access to their Internet-driven TV service without the need for a set-top box to be supplied by them and for this practice to be seen as becoming mainstream.
Here, people who subscribe to the Livebox service provided by France-Télécom (Orange) and own a recent Samsung smart TV view the baseline TV package for their triple-play service just by using the Samsung TV’s remote control.
This will require the user to perform a firmware update through the TV’s menus. You may have to “press the “Menu” button to bring up the “Assistance” option then bring up the “Firmware update” (Mise à jour de logiciel). Then you have to select the “On-line” (En ligne) option to draw down the firmware via the home network. Here, the set will show up the Orange TV options on its Smart-TV menu when you click the “Smart” diamond on the remote. A question that I would have is whether Samsung is intending to roll this out to the Blu-Ray players and home-theatre systems that have the integrated Internet-TV functionality because these devices would be used to “extend” this functionality to cheaper and older TVs.
At the moment, this will yield the baseline channels but Orange want to take this further with their premium, catch-up and on-demand services. As Orange liaise with other smart-TV platforms to roll this method out to the other platforms, this could become a chance to prove to the IPTV scene whether the smart TV can become the control surface for pay-TV. Here, smart-TV integration only works well with broadcaster-developed video-on-demand front-ends or a smattering of “over-the-top” video-on-demand and subscription-video services which aren’t heavily promoted.
In the US, the FCC could place high value on this concept if all the smart-TV vendors come to the party, as a way of “liberating” the American cable-TV subscriber base from the control of the cable-TV companies. Here, this could be facilitated with a broadcast-LAN gateway for cable-broadcast / satellite-broadcast services as well as this interface for selecting broadcast, recorded-broadcast, online and on-demand material.
Who knows what this could mean for IPTV as the increased number of Smart TVs and video peripherals become increasingly available through the retail channel and the home network becomes a mainstream requirement for the average household.