Open Iptv Forum


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This article gives an overview of the Open IPTV Forum, whose aim is to
work out a future-proof standard for evolving IPTV services. The authors
summarize the main features and requirements addressed by the Open
IPTV Forum and present Ericsson’s take on how some of the challenges
raised by the forum ought to be resolved.

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Open Iptv Forum

  1. 1. Open IPTV Forum – Toward an open IPTV standard Mats Cedervall, Uwe Horn, Yunchao Hu, Ignacio Más Ivars and Thomas Näsström To exploit new business opportunities in the area of IPTV, the service must media-centric applications that can be used evolve from “TV over IP” into an interactive, personalized application that and controlled from several devices and eas- runs on several devices and can easily be integrated with other services. ily integrated with other services. To achieve This article gives an overview of the Open IPTV Forum, whose aim is to this goal, future-proof IPTV solutions are needed that support work out a future-proof standard for evolving IPTV services. The authors • media transport over managed networks summarize the main features and requirements addressed by the Open and the public internet; IPTV Forum and present Ericsson’s take on how some of the challenges • fixed-mobile convergence; raised by the forum ought to be resolved. • integration with communication services; and • integration with home networks and asso- ciated devices. Introduction Advances made in access and home net- work technologies have already led to a sig- Fixed and mobile broadband access net- nificant shift in the way many young people works enable new, internet-based media consume media. Studies show that this cat- Open IPTV Forum services for consumption on PCs, portable egory of users prefers online media to tradi- Although several standardization bodies rec- devices, and mobile phones. Two examples of tional, linear media such as TV, radio, CD/ ognized the importance of IPTV, the land- video-centric services are YouTube and DVD, and newspapers.6 A study conducted scape in 2006 was still quite fragmented. Joost.1-2 Moving ahead, home networks will by Ofcom in the UK, for example, found Notwithstanding, it was understood that also have an increasingly important role. that on average the time that youth aged open, standardized solutions would be need- Indeed, Strategy Analytics states that the 16-24 watch TV each week has declined by ed to stimulate the emerging market. More- most significant home technology trend seven hours.7 over, it was agreed that turning fixed-mobile of the next five years will be the ability of These are clear indications that traditional convergence and home network integration fixed and portable devices to exchange me- TV services must compete with other media into simple-yet-attractive consumer offerings dia with each other over a multimedia home services that are perhaps more relevant in would require collaboration among compa- network.3 terms of delivery and content to the lifestyle nies from different market segments. Conse- By way of example, Sony’s LocationFree of young consumers. The advertising indus- quently, as a result of an initiative driven by concept addresses this trend by making con- try has already recognized this phenomenon Sony and Ericsson, the Open IPTV Forum tent from different sources (for instance, live and is spending increasingly more money on was formed and announced in March 2007. TV channels, DVD and DVR) available on online ads and less on traditional media, in- The founding members consisted of estab- all kinds of devices, including large-screen cluding newspapers and TV. lished players in relevant market segments, TVs, PCs/laptops, and portable players.4 Fo- IPTV is being billed as an enabler of new such as consumer electronics, fixed and mo- rums such as the Digital Living Network business models in the media service land- bile network infrastructure, and telecom op- Alliance (DLNA) are working on guidelines scape. However, it has to provide more than erators (Box A). The members all share the and specifications to guarantee interoperabil- just TV over IP; indeed, to succeed, IPTV same vision of how IPTV will evolve and ity between consumer devices from vendors must evolve into an interactive, personalized agree that quick market adoption of IPTV in networked home environments.5 application framework for creating multi- services requires an appropriate standard. As of August 2007, the Open IPTV Forum is open to new members, and numer- ous operators, consumer electronics provid- ers, home-equipment providers and content providers have expressed interest in belong- TERMS AND ABBREVIATIONS ing. The Forum is thus growing into a rep- resentative body for all key stake holders in AJAX Asynchronous JavaScript IMS IP Multimedia Subsystem the IPTV area. and XML IP Internet protocol A guiding principle of the work by the ATIS Alliance for Telecommunications IPTV IP television Open IPTV Forum is an architectural de- Industry Solutions NGN Next-generation network DLNA Digital Living Network Alliance PVR Personal video recorder sign that acknowledges different roles in the DSL Digital subscriber line QoS Quality of service IPTV value chain. The two most important DVB Digital video broadcasting RTSP Real-time streaming protocol business models are called Managed Net- ETSI European Telecommunications SIP Session initiation protocol work and Open Internet (Figure 1). Standards Institute SVG Scalable vector graphics GUI Graphical user interface TISPAN Telecommunications and Internet In the Managed Network business HDTV High-definition television converged Services and Protocols model, one entity (for instance, a telecom- HTTP Hypertext transport protocol for Advanced Networking munications operator) has three roles: it IETF Internet Engineering Task Force (a technical committee of ETSI) provides the IPTV service, operates the ser- IGMP Internet group multicast protocol UNI User-network interface vice platform, and delivers the service over IIF IPTV Interoperability Forum VoD Video on demand the operator’s access network. This is the 74 Ericsson Review No. 3, 2007
  2. 2. Figure 1 Open IPTV common user-network interface (UNI). typical setup for triple-play or walled- chitecture is in draft version; and the proto- content that interests them. Content can be garden offerings. Quality-of-service (QoS) col specification is scheduled for completion protected by means of service access, digital issues (for instance, network dimensioning, by the end of 2007. rights management (DRM), and parental bandwidth split between different services, control. and resource reservation) are easier to man- Apart from these standard functionalities, age in this business model because the same Key features and the Forum has identified areas of strategic entity operates the access network and pro- importance for the evolution of IPTV. vides the service. requirements In the Open Internet business model, the The Open IPTV standard will support ordi- Home networking same entity operates the IPTV service and nary IPTV functionality, such as broadcast As mentioned above, multimedia home net- service platform, but the service is delivered and video-on-demand (VoD) services deliv- works will play an important role in coming over the public internet. ered at standard definition (SD) and high years, and forums such as DLNA are draft- Although the Managed Network and definition (HD) quality. It will also support ing guidelines and specifications to guaran- Open Internet business models are distinct, video recording functionality in the network tee interoperability between consumer devic- they share a common user-network interface and in consumer devices. Furthermore, a es from different vendors in networked home (UNI) between user premises and the net- special guide will help consumers to find the environments. work. To speed up market adoption, the Forum calls for the reuse of existing technologies and standards. Examples of select technolo- gies are DLNA, IMS, DVB-IP, internet por- tals, web browsers, and multimedia middle- BOX A, OPEN IPTV FORUM ware. Extensions can be added when these technologies do not adequately fulfill specific Created: March 2007 While standardization bodies address specific requirements. The Forum also intends to elements of IPTV, the pan-industry Open IPTV Founding members: AT&T Inc., Ericsson, Forum will work to aggregate today’s diverse establish procedures for interoperability test- France Telecom, Panasonic, Philips, Sam- standards into a complete delivery solution, ing, and a logo program, to further promote sung, Siemens Networks, Sony, and Telecom with the goal of accelerating the full standard- the use of compatible products. In addition, Italia. ization of IPTV-related technologies. The Open the Forum is establishing a technology base- IPTV Forum is also establishing requirements line that defines key technologies for reach- Goal: To develop open standards in order to and architecture as well as protocol specifica- accelerate the deployment of IPTV services tions. ing the long-term objectives of new consum- that maximize the benefits of IPTV for con- er experiences based on personalization and sumers, network operators, content provid- For more information on the Open IPTV interactivity. The requirements for the first ers, service providers, consumer electronics Forum, including the procedure for joining it, release have already been approved; the ar- manufacturers, and infrastructure providers. please visit Ericsson Review No. 3, 2007 75
  3. 3. Figure 2 Screenshots of an Ericsson IMS IPTV prototype. The strong presence of the consumer elec- The Open IPTV Forum has formulated and so on. This will include the ability to tronics industry in the Open IPTV Forum requirements that should enable access to transfer an ongoing IPTV session from one enables it to specify solutions for seamless IPTV content not only from TV sets but home device to another. A common goal is interworking between home networks and also from other home devices, such as por- to keep the cost of consumer devices afford- next-generation IPTV services. table multimedia players, laptop computers, ably low. User identities At present, IPTV subscriptions are typically associated with a device or smartcard that can be shared by an entire household. Open BOX B, IMPORTANT IPTV STANDARDIZATION ACTIVITIES IPTV, by contrast, has stipulated the require- ment to support individual user identities. ITU-T DVB also began addressing the delivery of TV The idea is that by being able to authenti- In 2006, ITU-T established an IPTV Focus services over bidirectional broadband access Group with the mission to coordinate and networks. ETSI has adopted and published the cate themselves on an individual basis, users promote the development of global IPTV stan- DVB-IP Phase I specifications, which cover the can enjoy greater personalization, even when dards while taking into account the work of ITU simplest IPTV scenarios. The focus of DVB-IP a household shares a subscription. A default study groups as well as that of other standard- Phase II is on the integration of IPTV with tra- family identity is always used when individ- ization organizations, forums and consortia. ditional IP services, including TV delivery over uals have not authenticated themselves. the public internet. ETSI TISPAN TISPAN is an ETSI standardization body whose ATIS IIF Service portability focus is on next-generation networks (NGN), The goal of the IPTV Interoperability Forum (IIF) Service portability refers to the ability of dif- which are characterized by the convergence within ATIS is to develop standards and related ferent kinds of devices to access a service over between PSTN and IP-based data networks. technical activities that enable the interoper- The aim is to reuse IMS in the fixed domain ability, interconnection and implementation of a variety of access networks, including fixed (3GPP developed IMS for mobile networks). IPTV systems and services, including video on and mobile access networks. The concept TISPAN is also addressing the development of demand (VoD) and interactive TV services. The also includes “roaming” – for example, access standards for an IPTV system that makes use forum puts special emphasis on the needs of to a service in a home network over a visited of the NGN IMS architecture and its features North American and ATIS member compa- network. (user and network authentication, multimedia nies in coordination with other regional and session control, user profiles, charging, and so international standardization organizations. on) and integrates IPTV solutions defined by The initial focus will be on the creation of an Session continuity other organizations (ATIS IIF, DVB, and so on) overall reference architecture for IPTV. Special Session continuity is the ability to start a ses- into an IMS-based architecture. attention will be given to content delivery with sion on one device and to continue it on an- guaranteed QoS, and DRM; interoperability DVB Project standards and testing requirements for com- other device. For instance, users who start a The industry-led DVB Project has standardized ponents; reliability and robustness of service video-on-demand (VoD) session on a mobile or the delivery of TV services over satellite, cable, components; and the establishment of user portable device should be able to transfer the and terrestrial distribution networks. In 2006, expectations. session to, and continue it on, their home TV. 76 Ericsson Review No. 3, 2007
  4. 4. Integration with communication services Two strong trends call for the integration of IPTV services with communication services. First, many people already use communi- cations services, such as instant messaging (chat), telephony, and e-mail, while they are watching TV. A range of devices are fre- quently used for this kind of multitasking. In the future, however, many people will want to manage their services from the same Figure 3 device they use to consume IPTV services. Functional split in the home domain. A second trend, which is more closely re- lated to new TV formats, engages viewers in the programs they watch by adding, say, vot- ing or chatting as integral parts of the for- mat. Better integration between IPTV and the delivery of multiple services over a Forum. For the Managed Network model, communication services will help redefine common managed transport and give con- IPTV services will be integrated into the the social rather than viewing experience.6 trol over quality of service. existing IMS product portfolio. • Communication services provided by IMS User-generated content can be reused and integrated into an IPTV Functional split in the home domain Present-day IPTV services solely deliver pro- service offering. As mentioned above, consumer devices for fessional content. However, user-generated • IMS identity management, authentica- home applications must be affordable and content is growing in popularity and can be- tion, and authorization functions can be easy to use. These requirements stand in come an additional source of entertainment. reused for DRM and for protecting service stark contrast to the demand for new capa- The Open IPTV Forum is thus addressing access. bilities. One solution, however, is to split the capabilities that will be needed to en- • IMS user profile management can be reused user interface-related functions from the full able individuals to inject and consume user- for the personalization of IPTV services. application logic. generated content. Within IMS, SIP is used as an application Figure 3 shows the basic idea behind layer request-response protocol to establish this thin-client approach, which Ericsson New advertising formats and manage sessions.12 It may also be used advocates in its IPTV solution. The client IPTV has great potential for new advertis- for controlling the core IPTV service as well consists primarily of a web browser and an ing formats and associated revenue streams. as all integrated communications services. integrated streaming client. The application The Open IPTV Forum has thus formu- Obviously, this greatly simplifies implemen- logic resides in a gateway mode that can be lated requirements that address new adver- tation and testing (compared with using dif- located in the home (for instance, as part of tising formats along with regionalized and ferent protocol stacks). SIP stacks, which are the broadband access router) or in the service personalized advertisements. available from a variety of companies, run on provider’s network. Support of asynchronous a range of devices including mobile phones. JavaScript and XML (AJAX) technologies and rich media enablers, such as scalable vector graphics (SVG), will create a respon- Open IPTV and IMS Ericsson’s solution strategy sive and appealing user experience. The Open IPTV Forum has selected IMS as the enabling architecture for the Managed Many of the features now under standardiza- Network model. This way, Open IPTV can tion by the Open IPTV Forum have been build on ongoing next-generation network tested by Ericsson in the IMS IPTV proto- (NGN) standardization activities in ITU-T type. Figure 2 shows two screenshots. The and ETSI TISPAN. first (left) shows how different user profiles In particular, ETSI TISPAN, which ad- can be selected for achieving greater per- TRADEMARKS dresses the next-generation network speci- sonalization. The second (right) shows how DLNA is a registered trademark of the Digital fication in Europe, recently started to work a chat application is selected from the main Living Network Alliance. together with 3GPP on an IMS-centric menu. next-generation network specification that Joost is a trademark of Joost N.V. suits wireless as well as fixed networks. Support for the Open Internet and IMS brings the following main advan- Managed Network business models Sony and LocationFree are trademarks and/ or service marks of Sony. tages to the Managed Network model in Ericsson will provide solutions both for the Open IPTV: Open Internet and Managed Network busi- YouTube Broadcast Yourself is a trademark of • IMS provides mechanisms that support ness models specified by the Open IPTV Google, Inc. Ericsson Review No. 3, 2007 77
  5. 5. Broadband architecture tailored to The requirements have already been ap- IPTV proved for the first release of Open IPTV; IPTV services put unique demands on all the architecture is in draft version; and the nodes in the broadband access network. As protocol specification is scheduled for com- part of the IPTV solution strategy, Ericsson pletion by the end of 2007. What is more, has therefore developed a broadband archi- work is already underway to specify the re- tecture that addresses the needs of band- quirements for a second release. width intensive, high-quality IPTV services. As of August 2007, the Open IPTV For additional details, see Network infrastruc- Forum is welcoming new member appli- ture for IPTV in this issue.9 cants. Ericsson will provide a solution for both the Open Internet and the Managed Net- work business models addressed by Open Conclusion IPTV. In line with the approach taken by the The Open IPTV Forum, launched in March Open IPTV Forum, the solution that targets 2007, is made up of established players in the Managed Network IPTV business model relevant market segments, such as consumer will be based on IMS. electronics, fixed and mobile network in- To keep the costs of consumer devices low, frastructure, and telecom operators. These Ericsson advocates a thin-client approach members all share the same vision of how in which most of the application logic re- IPTV will evolve. sides on a gateway server located in either A guiding principle of the work by the the home domain or the service provider’s Open IPTV Forum is an architectural de- network. sign that acknowledges different roles in the As part of the IPTV solution strategy, IPTV value chain. The two most important Ericsson has also developed a broadband ac- business models are called Managed Net- cess architecture that addresses the needs of work and Open Internet. future IPTV services. REFERENCES 1. 9. Arberg, P., Cagenius, T., Tidblad, O., Ull- 2. erstig, M. and Winterbottom, P.: Network 3. Strategy Analytics, Connected Home infrastructure for IPTV. Ericsson Review, Devices: Global Market Forecast, Oct 2004 Vol. 84(2007)3, pp 79-83 4. Sony, LocationFree ™ web site, 10. 11. Interactive content and convergence locationfreetv/flash.html Implications for the information society, 5. Digital Living Network Alliance, October 2006 12. Gonzalo Camarillo, SIP Demystified, 6. mobileYouth06 – Video, Wireless World McGraw-Hill Professional Book Group, Forum, 2006 2001 7. Ofcom, “The Communications Market 13. ITU-T, Definition of Next Generation Net- 2006”, 2006, work, research/cm/cm06/main.pdf studygroups/com13/ngn2004/working_ 8. Cagenius, T., Fasbender, A., Hjelm, J., definition.html, 2004 Horn, U., Más, I. and Selberg, N.: Evolv- 14. Jesse James Garrett, Ajax: A New ing the TV experience: Anytime, any- Approach to Web Applications, 2005, where, any device. Ericsson Review, Vol. 83(2006)3, pp 107-111 publications/essays/archives/000385.php 78 Ericsson Review No. 3, 2007