Interactive features will be a part of Lattelecom's IPTV to home TV sets offering to be launched sometime toward the middle or end of Q1/2007. This blog already reported on October 30 that:
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.
So this should not be news to anyone who reads this site regularly. What is interesting is that the new service, with decoders to attach to the DSL modem, will have interactive features and probably a keyboard for accessing program information, internet banks and such new features as the ability to record shows for later streaming back from Lattelecom's servers. It will interesting to see how much takeup this gets, given that all kinds of hard-disk recorders are coming onto the market paired with DVD players, etc.
The reason why the launch of TV for home (rather than PC) viewing was delayed is the enormous interest that the Home Packages (up to 5 Mbps internet and free calls in Latvia) generated. All installation capacity is booked solid until the end of January, which is why I think the TV launch will be late in Q1, and, if properly priced and packaged (Home Package + TV), it could trigger another rush for the service.
Pricing will be competitive with similar offers from cable operators IZZI and Baltkom TV.
Some new details, from Lattelecom's TV honcho Gints Kirsteins are that the new service will offer 43 channels, up from the present 23.
Lattelecom also announced that it was opening a new retail store where it will sell TV sets, which makes sense in the context of the expected IPTV for home viewers launch.