Lattelecom has yet to commercially launch the IPTV service about which I wrote a recent rant, but it is already looking beyond the first package of over-the-DSL link services to IP telephony, high-definition video on demand and surfing the internet on high-definition screens.
The real "killer app", although to a rather limited audience in Latvia at present, is the equivalent of an HD DVD player (for special programming and rental films). The company is already testing a second-generation decoder that can be connected to an HD capable TV.
By offering a "virtual" HD DVD player, Lattelecom offers a service where users do not have to choose sides in the ongoing HD DVD format wars. Regardless of whether the film is on HD DVD or Blu Ray, IPTV subscribers will be able to watch it.
The present new generation DSL modems to be installed with IPTV subscriptions have a port for IP phones. This means that Lattelecom may follow in the footsteps of Elion, the Estonian fixed-line operator, which has an IP telephony service with a globally portable number (in reality, an IP address for the phone) making it possible to call a user of the Elion service for local rates wherever in the world the phone is connected to the internet. A similar service by Lattelecom would make free or nearly free global voice possible.
The price of HD capable flat screens is falling in Latvia (as elsewhere), so as these are sold in increasing numbers, they can be used to surf the internet (both the current and the second-generation decoders can have keyboards attached). Presently, ordinary TV screen definition is considered inadequate for displaying many internet pages.