People in Belgium are beginning to like IPTV better than chocolate. Here's why:
Ever ordered cable TV? What a pain in the rumpus.
"We can have an installer come to your residence from 9 to 1 p.m. or 1 to 5 p.m., what is your preference?" robots some "customer service representative" with a headset, shorts and a Hawaiian shirt on in some sweatshop cubical in some dilapidated building located who knows where.
This has been the way TV installation has worked for as long a most can remember. But now it needs to change and technology is making it possible. And surprisingly some companies - many you'd never expect - are leading the charge.
Belgacom is one -a harbinger of sorts in how this new "TV when you want it" model is panning out.
Belgacom delivers a very popular IPTV service called Belgacom TV to about 100,000 subscribers (there are some 4.2 million households in Belgium). Of those, some 60 percent install the service themselves with wires and soon without. Since most Belgians have broadband connectivity, enabling TV should be fast and easy - especially if TV is delivered over broadband.
Instead of calling Belgacom to schedule an installer to come to their home, consumers can go to one of Belgacom's 150 retail or dealer outlets to purchase equipment (soon wireless) to enable IPTV when they want.
Smart Wi-Fi technology will make that even simpler. These devices are pre-configured so all the consumer needs to do is simply plug in the device and connect it to the broadband gateway (where the broadband connection terminates) and the set top box (where the TV is).
And with new remote management technology, operators are able to actually see into the consumer's Wi-Fi environment, see packet error rates, SNR over a specific link, check the link state of connected devices and even run diagnostics - like PING and other more sophisticated link-level quality checks - from within the home. Until now this just hasn't been possible.
Soon, enabling TV will be as simple as going to the mall, buying what you need and plugging it in. It is in Belgium. And once installed, troubleshooting and fixing problems should be easily handled by the service provider and transparent to the user.
Aside from lots and lots of chocolate, people everywhere have an insatiable desire for: 1) as much bandwidth as humanly possible 2) location-freedom for every type media 3) instant gratification and 4) no configuration configuration....with or without a ruckus. Belgacom realized this early and so will others.