LIME is doing the “innovation” thing again, rare for those who know the Telecoms Provider well. This as LIME has plans to launch their IPTV Streaming platform, dubbed LIME TV later next year, possibly in the First or Second Quarter of 2013AD as reported in the Jamaica Sunday Observer on Sunday July 15th 2012AD. If this follows through it will be three (3) years after the DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcast – Handheld) version of LIME TV made its debut in October 2010AD and this new service would represent an significant improvement in the brand that is LIME TV.
These developments are all a surprise to me, as LIME, back then called C&W Jamaica when I worked there 2001AD to 2004AD as a Network Maintenance Technician based at PMBK/NRTH Exchange, rarely kept their word on timelines for product launches. Interestingly too as FLOW in also agreeing to drop their rates to the JA$5.00 as stipulated by interim Telecom Regulator OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation) they have also announced their intentions for their IPTV Streaming “TV Anywhere” Service, FLowToGo , which promises to deliver FLOW Cable Services to Wi-Fi connected devices.
Essentially this means that FLOW is planning to use its army of Wireless Routers it has been giving away to customers to create anad-hoc Wi-Fi Networks that FLOW customers with registered smartphones, Tablets and Laptops can log on to and watch Cable TV, a clone of the strategy by Comcast XFinity Service in the USA.
FlowToGo is actually more of a fear response to the coming of Netflix to Latin America and the Caribbean as asserted in FLOW goes 3D HDTV et al – Netflix to make FLOW Extinct. No doubt LIME is taking advantage of the IPTV Streaming License from the Broadcasting Commissionto introduce this new Service to Jamaica in 2013AD ensuring that they can legally stream over anyone’s Internet Gateway or ISP (Internet Service Provider) be it Wired, Wireless or Fiber Optic. LIME is apparently also being driven by a fear response of the coming of Netflix to the Caribbean and Latin America, a signal that there is indeed a market in Jamaica for Streaming Television.
LIME’s parent CWC (Cable &Wireless Communications) apparently has enough faith in the successful results of the DVB-H Platform for LIME TV that they had decided from October 2011AD to go to an IPTV Streaming Platform in Jamaica and Barbados by the First Quarter of 2012AD. The Barbados Service was launched in April of 2012AD, thus making Barbados the first guinea pig for IPTV Streaming in the Caribbean for LIME.
This new Serviceis basically a VAS (Value Added Services) that piggybacks on the 3G and coming Caribbean-wide 4G Network from LIME in December 2012 as note in LIME’s 4G Experience Centers challenge the Rise of Dekal Wireless Dragon. The IPTV version LIME TV, is built in partnership with Juniper Networks providing the hardware and Avail-TVN providing the Content for broadcasting. The IPTV version of LIME TV is said to be packing more channels including:
- Warner Bros sponsored channels
- BBC America
- HBO and
- Max (formerly Cinemax)
And what’s a Service without specs to speculate about:
- MPEG-4 Compressed Video Stream for efficient bandwidth usage
- 3D Capable (Triple Play ProviderFLOW, take note!!!!)
- 130+ channels
- Streaming support to 3G Capable Set Top boxes, smartphones and Tablets
- ABR (Adaptive Bit Rate), meaning ramp down of the 3G speed in areas that have high terrestrial noise
- TV Anywhere on any device be it Laptop, smartphone or Tablet, once there’s Internet access. This is good as it means you can get LIME TV over any Internet connection be it 3G, Cable Broadband, ADSL or even Wi-Fi
LIME TV may also be coming over a new FTTH Service in First Quarter of 2013AD as Fixed Line is a Service that is on its way out in the next three (3) years to be replaced by FTTH (Fiber to the Home). FTTH is a Triple Play Service to compete with FLOW and is a coming Fixed Line replacement for ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line).
Possibly powered by content from Avail-TVN and with Juniper Networks gear, since November 2011AD LIME has been secretly testing a FTTH (Fiber to the House) Network in upscale communities of Rhyne Park Community in St. James and Morris Meadows community located in St. Catherine as spoken of in Kelroy’s article LIME Jamaica rolls out 100 Mbps ‘Fibre to the Home.
LIME TV with a Flavour of Fiber Optic in 2013AD as well? More on LIME’s super-secret FTTH Project in another article!
Interestingly the Media placed little emphasis on this announcement of IPTV Streaming Service “LIME TV” on this most ominous of days. Sunday July 15th 2012AD was also the date for the launch of Flat Cross Network Calling Rate or Tariff of JA$5.00 regulated interim by the OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation) and announced earlier in June 5th 2012AD and the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) new Telecoms Tax.
Most likely because of the furore created by Digicel when they had launched their “Sweetest Deal” combined with a lawsuit against the OUR challenging their authority to regulate Cross Network rates helps sell more newspapers. Digicel’s lawsuit was also protesting the lack of Natural Justice in not being properly informed of the impending rate cut as pointed out in Digicel launches “4G” Mobile and JA$2.89 Sweeter Deal in a bid for Prepaid Extinction.
News update: Digicel has lost the battle on Friday July 13th 2012 fodder for another article on the historical significance of this ruling and what it means for the Telecoms Sector. No wonder with all this going on the announcement of an IPTV Streaming version of LIME TV would get buried in the Media! Fodder yet again for another article on its implications for the Telecoms Sector!
But for now know that the neglected news of IPTV Streaming is soon to be a reality in Jamaica in 2013AD is a promise fulfilled by LIME. This after LIME has launched a DVB-T (Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial) Platform in August 2010AD. Back then, LIME TV officially made its debut in December 2010AD with DVB-H capable handsets such as the Nokia 5330, N96 and ZTE N290 capable of picking up LIME’s fifteen (15) premium channels.
LIME TV essentially has introduced the concept of Mobile Television to Jamaica; TV Anywhere, Anytime, Any Place. This product, initially in partnership with content Provider DC Digital. Based on my research albeit DVB-H, it’s also a rare WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiplexing) VAS (Value Added Service) using the 3G Spectrum to piggyback signaling as CDMA Technology is Interference Limiting i.e. 2 WCDMA signals do not self-interfere.
LIME TV has been a hit since its debut. Geezam writer Horace did an oft referenced review on the product in LIME Jamaica Mobile TV Review so you know this product is good! The pricing for their product is a bit much for fifteen (5) channels though, but that’ll improve with time.
And the reviews for LIME TV have been great thus albeit it’s much criticized by the Techies on TechJamaica. Good to note however, LIME TV’s strategy of bringing exclusive events such as Buju Banton’s Prison Concert in Florida back in January 2011AD was a clever strategy. This helps to drive increased sales of the product and its Services.
After all, the LIME TV’s are also mobile phones and with the calling rates down as noted in LIME drops Cross Network Calling rate to JA$6.99 to kick off a 3 year Battle for Mobile Market Dominance, they also make great smartphones to have for both Voice and Data Services, effectively a three-in-one serving of Services.
But more importantly, LIME TV sets up LIME to be a competitor not only in the Subscriber TV business but also in the Free-to-Air Television category, as it makes Mobile TV a reality. This coming dominance of LIME TV in the next three (3) years is predicated on the fact that the Free-To-Air Broadcasters such as Television Jamaica and CVM TV are yet to even begin DSO (Digital Switch Over).
Discussions with the Media players in the Free-to-Air Broadcast category had started discussions with the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica with regards to the Technology to be deployed to for the implementation of DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television) Network. The stages for DSO to achieve a DTT Network which had been agreed on are as follows:
- Technology Selection
- Digital Switch On
- Analog Switch Off
The sticking point with the major Free-To-Air Broadcaster appears to be the date of implementation, with the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica in November 2010AD wanting a 2015AD implementation. Thus by 2015AD, your NTSC (National Television Systems Committee) Analog Television set may be obsolete and unable to receive Television signals as Television and Radio Stations would have gone DSO by 2015AD….hopefully.
This even as the RJR Communications Group, parent company for Television Jamaica had a rough year in the first Three Quarters of 2010AD. Meanwhile the Radio Stations, who are also facing the difficulties of going DSO, also have to contend with not only censorship from the Broadcasting Commission but also increased scrutiny on the matter of Payola and the prospect of having to pay licensing fees.
This Licensing is necessary as DSO will mean duplex (2 way transmission) between the customer’s UE (User Equiptment) and Broadcaster to facilitate the various “Red Button” Interactive Services such as Voting and Polling. Additionally, the criminalization of Payola means that issues relative to copyright and payments for the use of Intellectual Property will also be have addressed
With redundancies ongoing and their General Manager Kay Osbourne demitting office in December 2011AD and officially in January 2012AD, RJR Communications and CVM Communications Group’s only response thus far has been to launch a Web Television, namely Television Jamaica and CVM TV respectively.
Clearly the mission for the RJR Communications Group and CVM Communications Group is as follows: DSO for BOTH Radio and Television as well as IPTV Streaming or face certain extinction by 2015AD brought on by the Telecom Providers who would reduce them to another channel having to compete with other Cable channels in a Subscriber Television World.
But the Free-to-Air Broadcasters have to make their decision soon. The London 2012 Olympics is the next big event that may be a true test of the popularity of LIME TV. With LIME being a major sponsor of the London 2012 Olympics on CVM TV, sales of their DVB-H technology based LIME TV handsets is most likely to be a part of LIMEMarketing Manager Grace Silvera’s Strategy.
Once LIME builds a momentum for LIME TV, it’s only a matter of increasing their 3G coverage and re-branding the product once again as “TV anywhere” but this time powered by LIME faster 3G Network. Stay tuned folks….the Revolution will not be Televised ….but it will be Streamed.