Television From Your Telephone

But getting content that commands consumer attention will be a big challenge for companies more familiar with communications rather than the legal and financial mess involved with television entertainment. For one, the telecos still have to develop a business model that would satisfy content providers, subscribers and their own bottom line.

And while TVoIP systems might work well now with current television fare, the complexities of forthcoming digital and high-definition TV systems could put a strain on current DSL connections. That, says Sistla, would mean telecos may have to step up efforts to add even faster connection methods, such as fiber optic cable, to the home.

UTStarcom's Paine says, however, that systems such as mVision are designed to scale up with increased subscriber numbers and network complexity. In fact, the company claims it is already testing mVision setups in five undisclosed global locations where the potential subscriber base is about a million each.

And while Paine would not comment on how much it would cost to add an mVision system to a local phone network, the company claims it would take less than a year for a regional phone company to see a return on its investment in the equipment. The company also says mVision systems should be available to U.S.-based phone companies next year.

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