What is TVoIP? In simplest terms it means Television over IP. IP basically means over a network such as the internet. TVoIP differs from Internet Video such as Google Video because TVoIP can be live broadcast and will match a TV Station’s normal broadcast. Internet Video is an on demand service. You can play internet video from the beginning at any time.
CBS (via CBSSportsLine.com) has shown the widest demonstration of TVoIP yet with their showing of the “March Madness” college basketball games. Back in March of this year, when a game was to be shown, any user could register and login to view the video feed live for any of the college games playing. This was great for fans who’s game might not have been on a local television channel. There were restrictions to the number of simultaneous users however. This was so the quality wouldn’t be degraded. However you could still be put into a waiting queue and view the game when enough people ahead of you had stopped watching.
TVoIP is raising a couple of questions about TV at officeplace settings. Companies like AOL don’t mind their employees keeping a window open in the background. Other companies are much more strict. It is unsure which is the better business practice. Happy Employees vs. Focused employees can definitely come into play.
As of write now there are really no TVoIP companies that roll up all channels into a selectable package like the cable or sattelite operators do. You can expect this to change however. When companies like Verizon (using FIOS) start offering TVoIP over their fiber-optic network to homes, it could be a very switch to offer this over anybody with and internet connection and not just the people who have FIOS available.
Currently the quality of TVoIP is lower than normal broadcast television but this to is expected to greatly improve as it becomes slightly more mature. You can expect TV quality or better in a year to two years time frame.
TVoIP is ideal for network television that needs to know their demogrpahic. The CBS basketball games required the user to register and login. The station then know’s exactly the type of person watching and for how long. This makes advertisers drool. Don’t be suprised to see Google AdSense like ads sometime in the near future but over TVoIP.
To summarize, TVoIP is here but its exact form two years down the road isn’t forseeable at this point. Expect cable, sattelite TV and even Sattelite radio (such as XM and Sirrius) to offer portals to their normal subsribers before 2010.