IPTV keeps growing, video conversations, new twist on satellite IP, and personal broadband

European peer-to-peer IPTV network Babelgum launched its public beta. The angle here is full-screen, broadcast quality, personalized TV. TechDigest offers a hands-on review. Bottom line, right now the offerings are minor league.

Nokia is investing in Web video sharing site kyte.tv, joining Swisscom, German media company Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck and Skype founder Niklas Zennström’s investment company Atomico Investment Holdings.

The number of websites offering video jumped this year from about 200 to over 300, according to a study by Baton Rouge, LA-based Rider Research, publisher of the digital media newsletter The Online Reporter. Quantity isn’t quality, of course. But where the audience is the quality will follow. Remember TV in the 1940s? There were probably plenty of media people then saying the poor quality pictures would never catch on.

Quick: The Apple iPhone is open to third party applicatiions? If you said “yes and no,” you’re right. Gizmodo thinks allowing third party “Web 2.0” Apple iPhone applications — in other words, applications running via Safari — doesn’t make the much-hyped device open.

And BTW, now you can chat with AIM and MSN buddies via Gizmodo’s network.

SIP phone maker Snom’s North American visibility is going up with a new distribution agreement with GenTek.

Natural disasters these days tend be followed by a flurry of Satellite IP stories, which inevitably subside shortly after like a storm surge. Asevotech of Tampa, FL is taking aim at the as-yet unproven market potential of satellite IP communications with its Disaster Lease Program (DLP) for SMBs, giving these companies the disaster protection benefit of assured satellite IPO communications backup without the upfront cost. The key, for both customers and Asevotech’s business model, is that you buy it before you need it.

Apple iChat, the “next wave of VoIP?” I’m not sold, but Network World’s Greg Royal is and explains why here.

When you needed special equipment to do it, it was called video conferencing. When you did it on a futuristic gizmo with a handset and a dialpad, it was called video phone calling. Now that IP has made this a distinction without a difference, newly-launched ooVoo is calling it video conversation. Whatever you call it, ooVoo lets you do it for at a price that’s right: free. The service also offers video messaging and a directory that lets people ooVoo you from MySpace pages, websites, and emails. Currently the downloadable beta client is only available for Windows. Release of the Mac version is expected in a few weeks.

Hope on the horizon department: In the U.S. we might see personal broadband soon. DigitalBridge Communications is launching its BridgeMaxx WiMax service, with both fixed and mobile service. The only catch right now: it’s currently available only to 7,000 addresses in Rexberg Idaho. Cudos go to a forward-looking City for promoting the first U.S. commercial WiMax Internet service.