A report suggests that the majority of global growth in IPTV, the distribution of television services over broadband networks, will be driven by hybrid deployments that combine digital satellite or terrestrial TV services with internet protocol based TelcoTV offerings.

The report entitled IP Television: Business Case Analysis & Global Forecasts from TDG Research, estimates that the number of worldwide IPTV subscribers will pass the 20 million mark around 2010, dominated by hybrid deployments combined with traditional broadcasting as opposed to stand-alone solutions.

Satellite operators will augment their broadcast offerings with IPTV-based on-demand services in order to compete with cable TV players, predicts the report. Digital terrestrial television adoption will also benefit from IPTV-based premium offerings.

“The television markets around the world vary greatly in terms of incumbent pay television offerings and broadband penetration,” explained the author of the report, Hervé Utheza. “The chances of TelcoTV’s success will vary greatly depending upon the extent to which these two services have penetrated individual geographic markets.”

For cable operators, IPTV technologies will play a determining role in the advent of cheaper set-top boxes, network equipment and multiplexing devices. In the United States, the New Generation Network Architecture or NGNA effort led by CableLabs will be the foundation for the extension of IP-based core networks, able to deliver video, data and voice over the same network equipment, as close as possible to the consumer home, thus reducing the ‘last-mile’ plant investment.

The report also suggests that early IPTV differentiators will include an à la carte pricing model, a move that will put pressure on the traditional business practices of incumbent PayTV operators.

IP Television provides a comprehensive 200 page survey of the field. From defining IPTV and introducing key players and recent product and service launches, it goes on to consider the consumer proposition and the business model, followed by forecasts and scenario projections, based on market size and the penetration of pay television and broadband services.

Rather than dealing with the technology in detail, or simply presenting forecast figures, the author engages with drivers that will determine the development of the market.

One observation of the report is that “Consumers spend more time watching TV than they do using the telephone or the internet – period.” The conclusion drawn is that consumers will choose their triple-play service provider based on the quality and range of their video offering and the quality of customer service.

Overall, the tone is cautiously optimistic. The suggestion is that the finance community should “expect no miracle from the IPTV market” and the “penetration of IPTV as a percentage of the worldwide television households will remain modest”. Anyone with a professional interest in the market would do well to take note.

The report is published by The Diffusion Group, a think tank of consumer technology analysts. A 10% discount is available to informitv readers. Simply enter “informitv” in the coupon field when purchasing online.