'

IPTV set-top box development in high gear

Internet Protocol is not only becoming the distribution conveyor for voice and data. It's also rapidly catching on as the distributution medium for television signals.

Internet Protocol is not only becoming the distribution conveyor for voice and data. It's also rapidly catching on as the distributution medium for television signals.

IPTV, as it is called, will get a huge kick-start when SBC introduces its IP-based Project Lightspeed video service next year.

Necessity being the mama of innovation, hardware companies are coming on board with enabling solutions.

In just one example, television trade publication Broadcasting & Cable magazine reports today that Microsoft and television equipment manufacturer Scientific-Atlanta are working together on set-top boxes capable of displaying video signals delivered over IP networks.

"The new line of set-top boxes," reports Broadcasting & Cable's Ken Kerschbaumer, "will use Microsoft TV’s IPTV Edition software program and will also support next-generation MPEG-4 Park 10/H.264 and Microsoft’s own VC-1 compression system, making it possible to send HD (High Definition) and SD  (Standard Definition) video signals much more efficiently than current MPEG-2 systems." 

Last week, SBC announced separate IP-enabled set-top box deals with Scientific-Atlanta and Motorola