The report, "IPTV: The Global Picture," warns of "the potentially disruptive long-term effects that the convergence of TV and the Internet will bring to both platforms and their end users."
For now, however, IPTV doesn't have enough users to make much of an impact, according to the report. As of last year, U.S. IPTV subscribers numbered just 300,000. But eMarketer predicts that figure to increase 29-fold to 8.7 million by 2010.
"While the first incarnations of IPTV in the U.S. are likely to be extremely underwhelming, this should not undermine the long-term potential of IPTV," states the report, by senior analyst Ben Macklin. "The combination of high-quality video content (both user-generated and professionally produced) with the search and retrieve capability of the Web has the potential to radically disrupt the existing TV model," noting that this effect is already being seen from other video-content distribution models online.
eMarketer estimated that the number of IPTV-capable households worldwide will climb to 139 million in 2010, up from just 14 million last year.