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  1. 1. FEATURE IPTV Standard OIPFThe New IPTVStandard OIPF■ Yun Chao Hu is president of the ‘Open IPTV Forum’. Hediscussed the future of the OIPF standard with TELE-satellite during the first OIPF workshop held in Asia.54 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 02-03/201 — 1
  2. 2. • OIPF is the new global standard for Internet TV• OIPF is already in use in Singapore and Taiwan• The new standard incorporates existingtechnologies and specifications• OIPF has the same specifications world-wide,making it THE standard for Internet-based TVapplications It was exactly four years ago, in March standard is being built. Secondly, all appli-2007, that five telecom heavyweights cations that arise from IPTV interactivityfounded the ‘Open IPTV Forum’, with need to be integrated into the open stand-major players such as Sony, Samsung, ardized application enablers. “The OIPFPhilips and Panasonic, but also with tel- specifications will address the necessaryecom companies focusing mainly on the application enablers that will be the basisInternet, like France Telecom, AT&T and for an open application ecosystem secur-Telecom Italia. Added to that were cor- ing transparency towards the IPTV appli-porations from the mobile sphere, such cation developers. This will ensure thatas Ericsson or Nokia Siemens Networks. the application development will be inde-What started with nine founding members pendent of the IPTV middleware and thehas meanwhile grown to 66 OIPF member specific IPTV end-devices. The increasedcompanies, all of which have defined a availability of IPTV applications will enrichsingle goal: to establish a uniform global the end user Quality of Experience of thestandard for TV services via Internet standard based IPTV deployments,” Yun(IPTV) and stimulating a horizontal retail Chao Hu for IPTV end devices. Interactivity does not only mean that On the journey to this goal the chal- end users – i.e. TV viewers – select thelenge does not lie in video and audio channel they want to watch from a listtransmission – more than enough estab- of offerings by using a remote control tolished standards are used for that already. send a request to the provider. There‘sThe tricky part is interactivity and per- way more to it. The OIPF standard cre-sonalization, as that is the main distin- ates a log with information about whichguishing feature of IPTV when compared channel is currently being watched, howwith terrestrial or satellite reception. In many times a new channel is selected andthe past, each IPTV provider seemed to at what time channels are switched. Thisdo its own thing, developing applications way a user profile with a precise viewingand technologies that best fit its particular pattern can be created to provide valuablepurpose. IPTV had become a playground information for advertisers and contentfor unregulated proprietary develop- providers. Commercials can be insertedments, and that is exactly what hindered at a time that creates most viewer atten-further growth. Software engineers and tion and a whole range of offerings can behardware manufacturers were having a tailor-made to maximise their effect.hard time trying to incorporate as many of In order to collect the required datathese diverging developments as possible, there needs to be an established and uni-which at the same time meant too much form standard across platforms. What’senergy had to be wasted on developments more, the OIPF standard defines howand technologies that would simply come advertisements and other offers areand go. transmitted to the viewer. Yun Chao Hu is the president of OIPF, As you can see, simply watching TVand we had the pleasure of meeting him is already based on a rather complexduring an OIPF workshop in China. “There technological structure. If we now con-is a solution in sight,“ he states. „A uni- sider pay TV or pay-per-view – both ofform standard that is accepted and imple- which also have to be implemented in themented by all players and that establishes OIPF standard – it becomes plain for alla level playing ground for all interested to see that establishing a new standardparties.” The challenges that come with involves overcoming a great many stum-creating the new OIPF standard are two- bling blocks. And then there’s the Inter-fold: net, which offers even more possibilities, For one, there is no need to start from according to OIPF marketing directorscratch again and re-invent something Monika Gadhammar: “Interactive EPG,that is already available at our finger- video calling, chatting, file sharing, onlinetips. Rather, existing standards should be voting, mobile TV and the like are onlythe foundation onto which the new OIPF some of the applications that can be real- — 02-03/201 — 1 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine 55
  3. 3. ■ Monika Gadhammar is marketingmanager of OIPF. Here she can beseen in front of a presentation of all OIPF incurrent ‘Open IPTV Forum’ membercompanies. Mobile Useised. To give you an example: If a phonecall comes in while you are watching TVthe caller’s number and name will pop upon the TV screen. If you decide to acceptthat call the system automatically starts ■Business executives arePVR recording so that you are able to con- given a tool fortinue watching after hanging up, without coordinating appointmentsmissing a single second.” while on the This just goes to show that the list of go.possible applications is virtually end-less. Major landline phone companiesand Internet service providers are free toimplement as many features as they thinkfit, and that’s one of the major draw cards ■OIPF alsoof the new OIPF standard. Yet, all these incorporatesfeatures that are made available to con- specifications for TV viasumers are only one side of the coin. The mobile phoneother is the fact that all features need to implemented at the provider’s end –and the OIPF is the right answer for thatas well. OIPF president Yun Chao Hu adds thatOIPF is already being used in large-scaletest set-ups. “There’s the NIMS project inSingapore, and another one in Taiwan.”Both make sure OIPF can make the quan-tum leap from developer’s playground toreal-world application. OIPF is right ontrack to becoming a reality of TV viewersin the future! More information available at: For the latest technical specificationshave a look at: TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 02-03/201 — 1
  4. 4. List of All Current OIPF Member Companies The New IPTV Standard • OIPF provides the IPTV market with open end-2-end IPTV specifications • OIPF includes most IPTV stakeholders • OIPF stimulates a go-to-market drive from the IPTV industry Open IPTV Forum Tel: +33 4 92 94 43 83 650, Route des Lucioles Fax: +33 4 92 38 52 90 F-06921 SOPHIA-ANTIPOLIS Cedex Email: France Website: www.oipf.tv58 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 02-03/201 — 1
  5. 5. A Look Behind the Scenes:The New OIPF IPTVStandard in TheMaking ■This modern office complex in northwestern Berlin (Germany) houses the Fraunhofer FOKUS institute. A range of other well-known telecom providers also rent office space here. The Fraunhofer FOKUS institute participates in exhibitions as well and can be found exhibiting at the CeBIT in Hanover, IFA in Berlin, IBC in Amsterdam and IPTV World Forum in London. One of the strong technical partners which is renting office space at this build- schaft employs a technical workforce ofof the Open IPTV Forum is Fraunhofer- ing, but also other well-known businesses 17,000 and generates an annual turno-Gesellschaft from Germany, which from the telecom field. One of them is ver of 1.7 billion EUR.“ We’re not talkinghas been looking at IPTV since 2005. Media Broadcast, a satellite broadcaster about a commercial company here, butWe wanted to learn more about their on which TELE-satellite reported only rather an association with an exclusiveapproach to that topic and met with recently in issue 08-09/2010. focus on technical research. „Some 30%Robert Seeliger, the OIPF project man- of Fraunhofer‘s budget are received fromager at Fraunhofer. He occupies an office We started out with asking Robert the German state, with the remainingon the fourth floor of a recently built Seeliger about the nature of Fraunhofer- 70% being generated from commercialoffice complex in northwestern Berlin Gesellschaft. Naturally, he can fill us in corporations with all sorts of manufac-(Germany). Yet, it‘s not only Fraunhofer with all the details: „Fraunhofer-Gesell- turers. Some monies also come from the60 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 02-03/201 — 1
  6. 6. ■ Graduate engineer receivers. „To this end we use the CE-Robert Seeliger is OIPF HTML programming language,“ Robertproject manager at theFraunhofer FOKUS institute Seeliger explains. „It‘s the same lan-in Berlin. Here he shows the guage that is also used for HbbTV, forinstitute‘s website on hismonitor. Apart from the new example.“ CE stands for consumer elec-OIPF standard FOKUS also tronics and is perfect for calling up andlooks at another interesting displaying media content.development: a universaloperating system that canbe implemented in mobilephones, set-top boxes, TVsets and so on. You can find What is CE-HTML?out more about that projectat HTML is the programming language used to create web pages. You do not have to be an accomplished expert to realize that the web pages you surf on with your PC or a laptop are not so easy to navigate when displayed on the TV screen and handled withEuropean Union‘s research funds.“ and developing solutions for them. a remote control. There are several „IPTV has been around for some time, things that make reading and naviga- Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is divided up which means huge efforts have already ting them difficult:into different institutes. „We currently been put in doing research in this field,“ - sometimes simply the font is toorun 57 institutes, each of which does Robert Seeliger continues. „Our job is small to be read from a distance by aresearch on a specific field,“ Robert Seel- to define gaps that are still around and regular TV vieweriger goes on. One of the institutes caries then combine all aspects to arrive at a - they often require a mouse actionthe name FOKUS, which is the German point where all the pieces of this puzzle or keyboard entry rather than theacronym for ‚Fraunhofer Institute for fall into place.“ directional arrows and OK button thatOpen Communications Systems‘. FOKUS the regular remote control units haveconsists of seven departments and one By the way, this particular Fraunhofer - they lack a highlight that show theof these departments is FAME, short for institute can proudly look back on an user what will happen when he/she‚Future Applications and Media‘, with a extremely successful Internet develop- presses the OK buttonpermanent staff of 40 employees.“ ment: „We were the ones to come up - they use different audio/video with the Session Initiation Protocol that object implementations The FAME department within FOKUS is being used for VoIP,“ Robert Seeliger - they use specific extensions likedeals with the new IPTV standard. It is reveals and lends further proof to the Adobe Flash that require more soft-headed by Dr. Stefan Arabnowski, with fact that Fraunhofer scientist are spot ware and more powerful hardware toRobert Seeliger running the project on when it comes to developing solu- be used than is available in populargroup that looks at OIPF. „Altogether tions that are required in a real-world consumer electronics equipmentwe are 15 scientists,“ Robert Seeliger scenario. Therefore, the manufacturers ofexplains, „which means employees with consumer electronics products deci-a degree in either software development One task on the path to the new OIPF ded to create a special version of HTMLor engineering.“ Their work consists standard is to design a HTML-based user and called it CE-HTML. More precisely,mainly of looking at technological niches interface for implementation in IPTV CE-HTML is based on XHTML and has additional extensions. The pages created with CE-HTML are well suited to be viewed from a distance and be controlled with 4 arrows and an OK button. CE-HTML can be used to create the regular (on- line) pages but also to create the user interface screens of the CE devices you use at home, like digital TV recei- vers. Additionally, CE-HTML simplifies interfacing of various multimedia devices you use at home. We can say that thanks to such standardization efforts like CE-HTML, the develop- ment of new CE equipment is faster and simpler, and the compatibility between different brands and models is better. CE-HTML is already incorporated in CEA-2014, HbbTV, OpenIPTV and Digi- tal Living Network Alliance industry■ Several monitors and boxes in the lobby of the Fraunhofer FOKUS institute display applications standards. There are already TV-setsthat were developed at the institute. on the market which are CE-HTML compatible.62 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 02-03/201 — 1