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Monthly IPTV Bulletin
                                            July 2007

                  Copyright © 2007 MRG, Inc. ...
Once the Phase 1 standards are released, there won’t be a magical moment where every company
decides to adhere to them imm...
The IIF has Completed these IPTV Standards
IPTV Architecture Roadmap (ATIS-0800003).
The Roadmap prioritizes and scopes ne...
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Monthly IPTV Bulletin


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Monthly IPTV Bulletin

  1. 1. Monthly IPTV Bulletin July 2007 Copyright © 2007 MRG, Inc. ( ATIS Update on IPTV Standards The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) is an ANSI-certified standards defining organization, which means that the documents and standards that they release are recognized as standards around the world. Currently, there are over 50 companies actively engaged in ATIS’ IPTV standardization including Digital Fountain, Rogers Wireless, Sun, Verizon, AT&T, British Telecom, Nortel, Cisco, Microsoft, Widevine and LG Electronics. The history of working on IPTV standards began in early 2005, when ATIS started an IPTV Exploratory Group to look at the issues affecting IPTV and bring out an end-to-end standard. Once the exploratory group released its report, ATIS decided to create a full committee called the IPTV Interoperability Forum (IIF) in September 2005. The job of the IIF is to develop standards—so far the organization has released a number of documents already. The IIF currently has five task forces: 1. Architecture. This group will define how an IPTV system functions and the basics of delivery of TV. 2. Digital Rights Management. This task force focuses on digital rights, conditional access and other security issues. 3. QoS Metrics. This group focuses on QoS issues including jitter, packet loss and how to manage and track Quality of Service. For example, it can define that there is 1 artifact in 4 hours, or some other level if a service provider wants to reach a lower plateau. 4. Testing and interoperability. This was launched later because the initial architecture task force had to “hammer out their issues first” before interoperability could be tested. The group may consider doing a “plug fest” in the future 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 includes video-on-demand, pay-per-view and PVRs. • Phase 3. Full interactivity. This means bi-directional streaming, which can enable applications like video conference and video blogging.
  2. 2. 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 one 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 placed on equipment. That’s something that will be decided later. “It’s possible we can have equipment or a TV that has the IFF 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 caller 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 here’ syndrome.” There seems to be some competition with IPTV standards. In March 2007 the Open IPTV 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.”
  3. 3. The IIF has Completed these IPTV Standards IPTV Architecture Roadmap (ATIS-0800003). The Roadmap prioritizes and 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). This 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 IPTV functional specifications being developed by the IIF. The IIF Default Scrambling Algorithm – IPTV Interoperability Specification (IDSA), (ATIS Standard 0800006). 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 ATIS 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 (ATIS-0800004). 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.