Mr. Raman Agarwal - the Jadavpur Area Manager of Calcutta Telephones is going to watch today’s Cricket World Cup final on BSNL’s yet to be launched IPTV service. As I sat in his office at the Ranikuthi Exchange, a 21″ Panasonic TV was unpacked, a DataOne connection was installed and tested, next came the IPTV set-top box. It was smaller than an ADSL modem, it’s shape strangely resembled the Nivo from Ndiyo. Must be a coincidence!
The Set-top box had a power-in socket, a RJ-45 socket, an USB 2.0 socket and a pair of A/V cable sockets, of which only one was being used. The box was silk-screened “Digital Dolby”. A remote completed the ensemble. The connection for the TV setup was like phone_line -> splitter -> ADSL modem with 4 10/100Mbit port -> IPTV-to-PAL converter->TV set.
BSNL is converting the digital transmissions from both pay services as well as free-to-air ones into MPEG4 format and streaming them. The proposed service would offer about 110 channels, I watched some 10 - 12 channels today. Plus I tried the VoD (Video-on-Demand) service, currently there are only 4 movies in their library, I tried the first one… it was Arjun Pandit … unfortunately, i was never a fan of Sunny Deol
The picture and sound quality was consistent and sharp, but I did notice a few glitches now and then. This was apparently due to some new network switch being tested at the CalTel HO. The good news is that IPTV can be actually watched on the PC/Laptop without even the STB. What do we need of the computer… just VLC and the IP address and port numbers of the streaming server(s)