All incumbent telephone companies in Western Europe and many of the region's major alternative operators will be offering IPTV (Internet Protocol television) by 2009, according to a new study published Wednesday by IDC.
Over the next five years, IDC projects a boom in IPTV service, which allows consumers to use their high-speed DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) or metro Ethernet broadband connections to receive TV content to specially designed set-top boxes.
The Western European market, according to IDC, will grow from US$262 million in 2005 to $2.5 billion in 2009, with France, Italy and Spain claiming the lion's share at more than 60 percent. Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, as well as the Nordic countries are also expected to experience strong demand for IPTV service
By 2009, around 6 percent of Western European households will subscribe to IPTV services, IDC said.
IPTV services will include all kinds of on-demand content, network-based video recorders and even viewer-driven choice of camera angles, according to IDC.
Several European telcos, including BT Group PLC and Telecom Italia SpA, are currently testing IPTV software technology developed by Microsoft Corp. However, some of these service providers, including Swisscom Ltd., have encountered some technical problems and been forced to delay the rollout of commercial service.
Germany's Siemens AG is also testing its technology in several markets, including Belgium.
IDC is a division of International Data Group Inc., parent company of IDG News Service.
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