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High Definition To Help Cable TV Ward Off IPTV, Say Execs

DENVER — Cable multisystem operators needn't fear the claims of IPTV dominance by telcos, provided they are aggressive in rolling out their own switched digital video plans, cable executives agreed at panels of the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers here earlier this week.

Richard Green, president and chief executive of cable consortium CableLabs, said he sees only the Verizon FiOS topology as posing a true threat to hybrid fiber-coax architectures.

"HD channels are the ultimate weapon against IPTV, because most of the PON architectures being talked about right now can't handle multiple HD streams," Green said. "Verizon is the toughest competitor because it duplicates the cable plant."

Geraldine Laybourne, chairman and chief executive of Oxygen Media, said that MSOs shouldn't be too quick to dismiss telco architectures based on passive optical networks that shift to fiber closer to the consumer. Each network can develop unique market models based on available bandwidth, she said, and the availability of IP clipcasts and slivercasts may have unpredictable consequences.

Nevertheless, Jerold Kent, chief executive of Suddenlink Communications, wondered why the merged AT&T and SBC had decided to continue with the Project Lightspeed architecture, based on coarser PON concepts than FiOS.

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