While the telcos have been busy boasting about IPTV, Time Warner Cable quietly has made its own IPTV pilot program available to some 9K residents of Mira Mesa and Tierrasanta, CA, communities near San Diego. Unlike SBC, who flooded the public and Wall St with IPTV plans that include IPTV set-tops and PC-TV convergence, TW laid low. No press release. No marketing push. No leak to the WSJ. The only mention of the project, which launched Fri as a free add to HSD subs with expanded basic or digital video, comes in an 1100 word article by the San Diego Union Tribune. Dubbed "Broadband TV," the MSO plans to run the pilot for 6 months. It’s not as complex as SBC’s yet-to-launch IP service, but it is up and running. Road Runner subs download a RealNetworks’ media player to view the 75 expanded basic cable channels on their PCs through a special Website (http://www.twcbbtv.com). The MSO is calling Broadband TV just another outlet for watching TV. That’s why it said it didn’t have to work out new contracts with programmers for the service. "Our programming rights agreements govern a closed cable network," spokesman Mark Harrad said, adding that its IPTV network is closed and doesn’t go out over the public Internet. The same programming, commercials, etc that appear on TV also appear on the PC. Viewers change channels with the click of a mouse. More than 35 consumers had already signed up for the service Fri, Harrad said. There’s no extra charge for Broadband TV, and TW doesn’t expect there ever to be. But with all the crowing by the telcos over IPTV, why doesn’t TW make a little noise? Because it’s a trial that’s not available everywhere, Harrad said. He added that he doesn’t want to confuse customers or reporters in Kansas City or other TW cities that might assume it is headed their way. "The last thing we need is an AP story," Harrad said. TW’s plan is to evaluate the service after 6 months to see if they should expand it to other parts of San Diego County or other markets.

The Daily


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