interoperability could be tested. The group may consider doing a “plug fest” in the
suture to test interoperability.
5. Metadata. This consists of information like the channel guide information.
IIF Chairman, Daniel O’Callaghan from Verizon says, the work of IIF is being
accomplished in three phases:
• Phase 1. Linear broadcast television. This means defining how the system is
turned on, how to find and connect with a server, channel up and down, how to
get the EPG, and how to deal with packet loss. “This is 90% of the heavy lifting,”
he said, “and is the foundation we build the rest from.” Phase 1 documents should
be out by the end of 2007.
• Phase 2. Transactional base. These include video-on-demand, pay-per-view and
• Phase 3. Full interactivity. This means bi-directional streaming, which can
enable applications like video conference and video blogging.
Once the Phase 1 standards are released, there won’t be a magical moment where every
company decides to adhere to them immediately. Nevertheless, O’Callaghan expects that
not all IPTV vendors will immediately embrace the standards. “A standard is a common
point (from which) to deviate,” he said half-jokingly. “Not every document will be used
by every company,” O’Callaghan said. Some companies may decide to use on part of the
IIF standards, while skipping another. “It’s not all or nothing,” he points out.
Since many top IPTV vendors are involved in IIF, they should be able to get IIF-standard
products to market within 6 to 9 months after the standard is released. Companies that
haven’t been involved in IIF and don’t know the standard well will likely take an
estimated 18 months to get IIF products out the door.
O’Callaghan said that Verizon will move towards the IPTV standard once they’re
released. “Verizon wanted to expand its use of IP, but we don’t want to get ahead of the
specs,” he said. Verizon currently uses a hybrid IPTV/standard cable architecture and he
cautioned his bosses to not go forward to full IPTV until there was a standard and it is
vetted and competition in the marketplace. “Verizon insists on standards – we’re not fond
of proprietary,” O’Callaghan said. Having every vendor with the same standards makes it
easier to make comparison bids and respond to RFPs, he added.
So far, ATIS hasn’t made a decision whether to have a certification process or sticker that
can be place on equipment. That’s something that will be decided later. “It’s possible we
can have equipment or a TV that has the IIF logo on it,” O’Callaghan said.
So the big question is: will standards hinder technological innovation? O’Callaghan said
that IIF would continue to move on and innovate as companies introduce new
technologies. “Innovation doesn’t mean you’re against standards,” he said. Besides,
standards are very useful to maturing a market and have been shown not to stifle
innovation. O’Callaghan cited called ID and TV broadcast standards that have opened up
groundbreaking new areas and businesses.
Although, ATIS has worldwide participation, the organization’s mission is on the North
American markets. This may rankle international companies and service providers, but
any company anywhere in the world can use the standards developed by ATIS. When it
comes to existing standards, ATIS is intent on not reinventing the wheel and re-writing
those that are already developed. O’Callaghan said, “We don’t want the ‘not invented
There seems to be some competition with IPTV standards. In March 2007 the Open IPTC
Forum formed with founding companies AT&T, Ericsson, France Telecom, Panasonic,
Philips, Samsung, Siemens Networks, Sony, and Telecom Italia. O’Callaghan said the IIF
hasn’t had many conversations with them. He is puzzled, however, about the Open IPTV
Forum since they are not open to anyone but the founders and they’re not accredited by
ANSI or ISO. “Verizon has no desire to be part of it,” he said.
Overall, the work being accomplished by IIF looks to be going on track. Early on, there
was some fiery debate regarding the role of IMS, but everyone decided to come to a
“mutually unacceptable compromise,” as he jokingly called it.
“The potential of IPTV is quite large,” O’Callaghan said. “It’s a great opportunity for
convergence.” He cautions, however, that it will be a long time before standards are in
place. “It’s like an elephant,” he said. “You have to eat it one bite at a time.”
The IIF has Complete these IPTV Standards
IPTV Architecture Roadmap (ATIS-0800003).
The Roadmap prioritizes that scopes needed specification development efforts based on
ATIS IIF’s IPTV Architecture Requirements (ATIS-0800002) released in June 2006.
The IPTV High Level Architecture Standard (ATIS-0800007).
The ATIS standard provides a high-level architectural framework to enable end-to-end
systems’ implementation and interoperability for the supporting network design. It serves
as a reference architecture for UPTV functional specifications being developed by the
The IIF Default Scrambling Algorithm – IPTV Interoperability Specification
(IDSA), (ATIS Standard 080006).
This newly released standard specifies a default scrambling/de-scrambling algorithm for
the MPEG-2 Transport Stream and scrambling algorithm signaling.
IPTV DRM Interoperability Requirements (ATIS-0800001).
This standard defines the requirements for the interoperability of systems and
components in the IPTV DRM/security environment.
A Framework for QoS Metrics and Measurements Supporting IPTV Services
This document provides an initial industry consensus view of scope, definitions, and tools
to support the creation of IPTV Quality of Service (QoS) metrics and measurements
within ATIS IIF.