Tuesday, December 18, 2007

ITU Delivers IPTV Standards

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) announced standards for IPTV. The standards were built with technical contributions from leading service providers and manufacturers. The new standards were developed by the Focus Group on IPTV (FG IPTV) in ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T).

These standards are intended to give service providers — broadcasters, ISPs, cable operators or telecom service providers — control over their platforms and their offerings. Standards will encourage innovation, help mask the complexity of services, guarantee quality of service, ensure interoperability and help players remain competitive.

Contained within the documents produced by the Focus Group are the high-level architecture and frameworks needed by service providers in order to rollout IPTV services. ITU’s next phase of IPTV work — IPTV-GSI (global standards initiative) — will centre on the preparation of standards based on documents produced by FG IPTV as well as on the detailed protocols required.

Twenty-one documents covering IPTV requirements, architecture, quality of service (QoS), security, digital rights management (DRM), unicast and multicast, protocols, metadata, middleware and home networks will be submitted to the ITU-T Study Group charged with progressing and distributing the work. The IPTV-GSI will build on the momentum generated over the past 20 months, and it is foreseen that contributions and participation will continue to increase.

The first meeting of IPTV-GSI will convene in Seoul, Republic of Korea from 15 to 22 January 2008.

IPTV standards are surely needed, but they will probably be too late to strongly influence the major IPTV deployments already underway in Europe, Asia, and North America. These IPTV services have made their implementation decisions and are not likely to change them in major ways to accommodate new standards.

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