Free-to-air television in Australia is coming under growing pressure from internet protocol TV and web-based video services, according to research from IDC.
Sophie Lo, IDC's analyst for consumer digital markets, said free-to-air broadcasters and pay-TV operators currently had an advantage over online rivals: consumers who do not watch web-based video do not want to watch TV on a PC screen. But that advantage would "soon diminish" as "broadband service providers introduce IP set-top boxes to deliver online video content directly to the TV, along with the adoption of multimedia networks that stream content from the PC to the TV".
Lo said Apple's iTV set-top box—due to launch in the US next year—would address the barrier to home adoption of internet-distributed video.
"By adding connectivity to their current service-device integration model, Apple is providing consumers with a complete end-to-end solution. Going forward, the iTV could possibly disrupt broadband service providers' strategies in establishing the home gateway as the media hub," cautioned Lo.
IDC's report, Australia Digital Terrestrial, Cable, Satellite and IPTV 2006-2010 Forecast and Analysis: Video's from the Pipe, provides a five-year forecast of the Australian digital TV market.
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