Freeview# Sky# CiscoDigital# TVInternet# service providers# and media firms must work together to ensure IPTV services meet the picture quality expectations of viewers, new research has claimed.
Online video is predicted to account for more than 91% of all internet traffic by 2014, including a wide range of TV-like services being delivered over the web, such as IPTV and video on-demand.
According# to a survey of 919 online consumers conducted by analysts Forrester for technology giant Cisco, 57% of people regularly record programmes to watch later via personal video recorder services, such as Sky+ or Freeview+.
A fifth of respondents in the survey expressed frustration at content occasionally failing to record, but they usually just used on-demand services such as BBC iPlayer and ITV Player to catch up on any missed programming.
However, 72% of consumers said that they have experienced stuttering or freezing when using online video services, with 42% simply giving up if they encounter such problems rather than trying again. Despite the issues, only a fifth of consumers would pay for a guaranteed better picture quality, while just 11% would upgrade their broadband speed.
The report said that poor video quality is a major barrier to greater online video adoption, with 64% of consumers saying that the picture quality available online is worse than broadcast TV. In the survey, ISPs and content providers were held equally responsible for the quality issues by 43% of the sample, while 41% blamed the online video service.
As 57% of UK consumers now own a high definition television, expectations of what represents acceptable picture quality are increasing greatly. The report therefore urged ISPs and media firms to work together throughout the IPTV value chain to cut costs and improve the user experience.
The research cited YouView, the BBC-led IPTV joint venture that aims to upgrade the Freeview and Freesat platforms to support video on-demand and internet services, as a good example of how this collaboration could work.
"With video predicted to make up more than 91% of all internet traffic by 2014, it is clear that the growth of online video represents the next significant stage in the development of the internet," Phil Smith, vice president and managing director Cisco UK and Ireland.
"This is part of a major shift in the way content is delivered and consumed but it also represents a challenge to internet service providers and media companies.
"The fact that consumers hold ISPs and content providers equally responsible for any drop in video quality is a clear sign that these industries need to work together to ensure that they are able to deliver a consistently high quality service to consumers."
In September, BT announced a collaboration deal with Cisco to help establish its UK broadband network as a broadcast-quality television platform
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