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Tech Talk: Transforming TV from idiot box to internet hub

Television has gone quite far in its advancement in the last few decades, from bulky black-and-white TVs to the advent of colour sets. Now there’s plasma, LCD and 3-D TV.

But what had not changed until recently was the delivery of television through terrestrial, satellite and cable services. However, the newest technology – internet protocol television – in this important area of our lives will totally change the television and entertainment world.

IPTV is the delivery of television over the internet to a person’s television, computer, tablet or mobile device.

TVs already come with built-in internet connectivity, and the eventual evolution of this technology will allow users a more interactive and customised experience, including even telephone services as well.

In the world of IPTV, the television becomes both movie screen and web browser. Users can access thousands of channels or a database of content to view on-demand.

The internet browser on your television will able to search for your old TV programmes and launch them with a click. Plus, that same TV browser will enable emailing, web surfing and voice-over-internet protocol – web phone calls – from the couch.

You also will be able to store your selected programs on a cloud-based personal video recorder that will allow programmes and interactive content to be recorded and then retrieved at your leisure on the device of your choice.

Stronger network technologies like fourth-generation wireless services, or 4G, will help push IPTV on to mobile devices.

IPTV will also eliminate the need for set top boxes and personal DVD players, as most of these services will be provided through the cloud.

With IPTV picture-in-picture capability, the user will be able to view television programs and simultaneously interact with family and friends.

IPTV will open up new revenue streams for program producers, with the ability to interact with viewers and sell them merchandise related to what they watch.

It will also give the viewer the chance to network with film producers and fellow viewers and thus build social interest hubs around certain shows.

Sports fans will have the ability to watch a variety of games at one time by opening different windows on the main viewing page. They will have the ability to vote, enter online competitions and purchase sports clothing, among other capabilities.

IPTV also will offer users the choice to broadcast their own channel and share it among family and friends.

This technology will not only allow us to watch what we want, when we want, where we want, but it will serve as a two-way communications system that allows us access to the information world.

Jazz Gill is a technology, telecoms and private equity consultant. You can contact him at jazz.gill@phnompenhpost.com.

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