Lattelecom is going to launch a version of its IP TV for ordinary home TV sets sometime in the first quarter of 2007. The service will soon be tested by the company's own staff at a number of sites around Latvia, not only in Riga. The employees will be given set-top boxes and new modems with more ports for attaching the box.
Until now, it has been possible to watch Lattelecom's IP TV channels only on computer monitors (not under Mac OSX and nevermind the picture of the TV set on the homepage). The test phase will examine how the decoders work as well as the reliability and quality of Lattelecom's DSL network. In places, it has been upgraded to 26 Mbps, but that is not offered to customers as yet.
The most likely TV configuration will be a 2 Mbps or 5 Mbps channel for internet surfing and 3 Mps dedicated to the IP TV stream, so any home getting the internet plus TV will essentially have as much as 8 Mbps going down its DSL line.
One interesting question, aside from the cost of the service, is whether Lattelecom will offer a modem trade-in to those, like me, who recently bought a DSL modem when switching to the flat rate Home Package (free local and national calls, plus 5 Mbps internet for around LVL 17 a month). As far as I can see, the modem doesn't have a port for attaching a decoder.
Bite, as expected, launched its Bite Hotspot in Lithuania, and my sources tell me it is a fixed wireless internet gadget consisting of a WiFi unit (for serving up to five computers) and a HSDPA card which plugs into either the WiFi device or any laptop. Bite will announce its offering in Latvia on October 31. The price of the Lithuanian service will be LTL 180 per month for unlimited traffic plus a rental fee of up to LTL 40 for the gadgets (lowered to LTKL 25 with a three year contract). Also to be announced is roaming on Vodaphone's mobile internet networks (announced in Lithuania October 30).