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IPTV: reduce TCO -

In the past four years, IPTV technology has experienced tremendous development. This technology has evolved from the original concept to the edge of commercial deployment. There are several reasons for this progress. First, telecom service providers understand that they must provide competitive services to offset the decline in the number of fixed line subscribers. Secondly, consumers put forward higher requirements for interactive and personalized TV services. Third, the technology needed to make IPTV a reality has matured.

Now IPTV has become a reality, and the industry's argument has changed from "this will never work" to "how long can I get it?"? "However, few people have mentioned the different ways to build IPTV platform architecture and the resources to operate and maintain these architectures. It's time for the industry to address the total cost of ownership (TCO) of operating and maintaining IPTV services, while fully understanding the different IPTV options available and the TCO associated with each option.

IPTV service model

In today's market, there are basically two kinds of IPTV services. The first is the heterogeneous approach, in which multiple vendors provide different components of solutions, usually one or more system integrators provide services that bind these heterogeneous solutions to a single service delivery solution. In this approach, operations management is usually layered on top of the service delivery system afterwards. The second is a homogenous approach, where a single

solution provider designs, builds, tests, validates, and supports IPTV service delivery and operations management solutions.

It is believed that both methods can provide IPTV users with similar service experience. However, the TCO associated with each service delivery method is quite different. There are several factors affecting the total cost of ownership of

IPTV delivery platform, including:

To provide consumers with the content acquisition cost of the best TV programs; OPEX for developing, continuously delivering and maintaining the service delivery infrastructure; and capex for service delivery hardware, software and network infrastructure.

Content acquisition

Content acquisition costs vary based on the revenue opportunities that service providers can offer content providers. Typically, content costs are based on the number of subscribers. However, the expanded service offering opportunities

offered by IPTV may change this. For example, if IPTV services offer subscribers the opportunity to choose alternate camera feeds from sporting events, content providers who own those feeds may charge a higher fee for content.

There may be some changes in the pricing of content delivered through IPTV. However, service providers may pass on these additional content fees in the form of higher subscription fees, so the net impact of any content cost change on TCO

can be ignored. Therefore, as far as this article is concerned, content cost is not a key part of TCO calculation.

Hidden beneath the surface, and often covered by license costs, are the setup and operational costs of content delivery. A digital stream or file is irrelevant unless it is associated with enough metadata to describe it.

For example, suppose a service provider pays a specific fee to authorize the use of a channel. Program information (such as start time, end time, and program description) is the more obvious element in the metadata that must be managed.

Associating a digital stream generated by an encoder with a multicast address, assigning a network identifier to transmit the stream over the network, and connecting a license key that allows subscribers to access the channel are metadata elements that must also be managed. In general, a digital file and all the metadata needed to deliver this channel are called services. There are costs associated with maintenance and operational services.

Operating expenses

Some operational costs will be start-up costs, such as those associated with initial deployment and integration of IPTV infrastructure with existing business support systems (BSS) and operational support systems (OSS). Other operating

expenses are ongoing, including the cost of day-to-day monitoring and management of infrastructure.

In addition, OPEX will be the result of a decision to change or develop a service delivery network. These fees are project related, but when upgrading or developing a service delivery network, a pre-determined decision about how the service provider will deliver IPTV services can lead to higher operating costs and more complex projects. These downstream costs must be included in the TCO equation.