Siemens to deliver Chinese TV via the Internet
By Anja Feldmann Jan 17, 2006, 2:23 GMT
Shanghai - The German electronics concern Siemens has announced plans to distribute television programmes via the Internet in the world's second-biggest Internet market, China.
Mammoth events like the Olympic Games in 2008 have been identified to help drive ahead Internet-based television in the country and provide new sources of revenue for the telecommunications sector.
Together with Internet company Shanghai Telecom and content provider Shanghai Media Group (SMG), Siemens intends over the next few months to provide an initial 5,000 to 10,000 households in Shanghai with 'IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) programmes, according to Norbert Muhrer of Siemens Communications.
During the launch phase, the television package will cost subscribers 30 Yuan (approximately 3 Euros) per month.
In the long term, Internet companies like Shanghai Telecom intend to counteract plunging revenues in their traditional telephone operations with the IPTV package.
By the end of 2007, some 4.5 million Chinese households are expected to use the Internet-based television, the partners estimate.
Chinese viewers, generally known as television enthusiasts, are expected to invest some 178 million Euros in the installation of set- top decoders with which digital television can be received through the Internet and viewed on regular TV sets.
Siemens estimates that by the end of the decade every fourth Chinese will view television programmes from the Net.
IPTV describes the digital broadcasting of television programmes, movies, games, video-on-demand and video phoning.
Owing to the high data transfer rates, IPTV requires, in addition to new compression methods, above all broadband access.
Apart from 360 million television viewers, China already has 25 million broadband connections amongst its 120 million Internet users, according to Siemens.
Experts say that China will have overtaken the United States, currently the world's largest online market, within five years.
The Shanghai Internet TV project, for which Siemens Communications supplies the network technology, has already been running since August 2005 in a testing phase.
At the same time, the French telecommunications group Alcatel had established a IPTV lab together with Shanghai Media Group to advance the expansion of IPTV services in China. Since then, long subscriber waiting lists have formed, Muhrer confirmed.
A second project phase will explore niche groups of potential viewers, such as expatriates working in Shanghai, educational institutions and companies. <!--page-->
'Shanghai's city administration has already enquired (about subscribing) and wants to use IPTV for its own community information network, Muhrer said.
Programming contents are supplied by Shanghai Media Group, a media subsidiary of Shanghai Media & Entertainment Group.
'Programming content is a delicate subject in China, of course, so any information content supplied through the Internet must be treated according to the country's regulatory laws,' Muhrer said of the prevailing censorship by the Chinese authorities.
'However, there still is content that does not fall under censorship laws, like online games or sports broadcasts.' Leading Chinese online games provider, Shanda in Shanghai, had already expressed interest in the IPTV project, he said.© 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur