Jorgen Michaelsen is chief technology officer of TDC Cable TV in Denmark.
Are you moving toward a “quad play” model? What are the main technical challenges linking fixed and wireless services?
We have not, as yet, released any plans to include mobile telephony in our combined cable TV offerings, which today include analog and digital TV services, high-speed data services and telephony. The technical challenges to combine fixed line telephony to mobile telephony within a common set of features are difficult to overcome, as this was implemented within TDC several years ago. The concept of using a mobile handset with Wi-Fi as a VoIP phone is still awaiting feasible handsets.
Last year, you said one of the main challenges you face was to prepare a new solution that enabled TV broadcasting over IP. Could you give us an update on how these plans are going? How do you aim to take your TV broadcasting strategy to the next level?
We have launched the first generation TV-over-IP solution and are now busy with the implementation of a second generation with TV as well as VOD to be delivered over DSL. The new services will be launched within the near future. The next level in our TV broadcasting strategy is to implement interactive IP-based unicast services in the cable TV platform.
Last year, you said TDC was in a test phase in terms of home networking. What has been the outcome of these trials?
We are implementing a cable modem with high-speed data, telephony and wireless access from the devices in the home. Further, we have decided to offer our customers HomePlug components to realize data connections within the home over the main electrical wiring.
With most cable operators looking at more progressive VOD and á la carte services, technically what are the main challenges in executing a strong strategy here?
VOD requires, in our opinion, an IP-based return path from set-top boxes to give a proper user experience and needs further the use of new encoding schemes like MPEG-4. The technical challenges in our case are to deploy well-functioning set-top boxes with these characteristics and to implement adequate storage and unicast streaming capacities in the networks in a cost-effective way.
What would you say are your main technical achievements over the last 12 months? If we have this conversation at the same time next year, what major technology achievement would you like to have executed?
During the past 12 months, we have implemented a VOD service on our cable TV network and implemented a second-generation TV-over-IP solution. Next year, we plan to have implemented time-shifted TV for a number of channels in our network.
With telcos moving en masse into IPTV, and therefore triple play, what can cable players do to leverage the strengths of their networks?
The strength of HFC cable TV over DSL is basically the ability to deliver high bandwidth to each household. Analog TV tiers, high-speed data access, HDTV channels, HD VOD combined with many years of experiences are strong parameters to get success in the triple-play game.
What impact will the new DOCSIS 3.0 specifications have on your business? Could you tell us about the advanced digital services you are looking to deploy over the next two years?
We see a possibility to serve our customers with higher bandwidth data services in a cost-effective way. Further, we see DOCSIS 3.0 as a possibility to establish the ultimate unicast functionalities for delivering individualized video content in broadcast quality to set-top boxes and other devices in the home.
What is your organization’s current balance among video, voice and data technologies? How do you see that portfolio shifting or evolving over the next three to five years?
We will mainly focus on the development of high-speed data and digital TV and video services over the next few years.