Japan's communication ministry is reportedly set to allow digital terrestrial programming to be carried by internet protocol television (IPTV) services in order to help meet the country's switchover target of July 2011.
Reuters reported a government source had said the ministry was considering the move, which could see a six-month trial of IPTV services delivered via fibre-optic networks starting by the end of 2005. "We're determined to meet the 2011 deadline, so we want to increase options for viewers as much as possible," the un-named source was quoted as saying.
Under current laws, Japanese telecoms operators are not allowed to transmit terrestrial broadcasts via IPTV networks.
Reuters said the move bolstered Japan's Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT), which aims to reach 30m homes via a fibre-optic network by March 2011. It could also provide an incentive for NTT rivals KDDI and Softbank to step up efforts to sell similar IPTV services.
Elsewhere in the fast-emerging global IPTV market, trials have begun of Telecom Italia's IPTV service with 1,000 households in Rome, Milan, Bologna and Palermo.
DMeurope.com said the free trial offered a range of TV programming and video content over ADSL access lines, ahead of a commercial service launch in the autumn in 21 cities across Italy.
Microsoft is supplying its IPTV software platform to Telecom Italia.
Meanwhile, US market research group Parks Associates said Spain, the UK and Japan were likely to see the most successful launches of next-generation interactive television services, such as IPTV.
Its report, IP Video Services: Analysis and Forecasts, said nearly 80% of the Spanish population showed keen interest in adopting advanced TV services, especially those related to interactive features such as personalised recommendations and voting abilities.
In both the UK and Japan, 75% of the people showed a strong inclination toward advanced TV services.
"Different populations have quite unique reactions to and interest in applications regarding advanced TV services," said Deepa Iyer, research analyst at Parks Associates.
"Consumers in the UK are more inclined toward interactive features such as voting abilities whereas the Japanese prefer features such as personalised recommendations and one-button access capabilities."
Links open in a new window. The DTG is not responsible for the content of other web sites.