With the second meeting of the Focus Group on IPTV seeing a record number of participants and contributions, experts have declared satisfaction that work towards a set of standards for IPTV is well on track.
A recent report from industry analyst Gartner says that the number of households around the world subscribing to IPTV services offered by telecom carriers will reach 48.8 million in 2010. Buoyed by new service launches, IPTV subscribers will more than double in 2007 from an expected 6.4 million in 2006 to 13.3 million according to Gartner. Experts agree that it is imperative that standards needs are met if these impressive figures are to be achieved.
A key achievement at the FG IPTV meeting in Korea was progress towards a standardized IPTV architecture: The group agreed that IPTV architecture shall allow for both NGN and non-NGN approaches to IPTV, and within the NGN-approach, include both IMS and non-IMS based approaches.
Ghassem Koleyni, chair of the group stated that: "I am particularly happy that we have achieved so much progress in ITU-T Working Group 1 (service requirements and architecture). The level of participation in this group is growing and progress is overall good. But requirements and architecture are of such fundamental importance that getting a fix on these points, at this stage, is very satisfying. In order to gain momentum here we will convene an electronic meeting looking specifically at requirements and architecture, 18-21 December."
The Korea meeting agreed on the following definition of IPTV: "IPTV is defined as multimedia services such as television/video/ audio/text/graphics/data delivered over IP based networks managed to provide the required level of QoS/QoE, security, interactivity and reliability."
The FG IPTV meeting was preceded by an ITU-T workshop. The event attended by over 400 and held in Seoul provided a view and examination of IPTV standardization, political and regulatory aspects, business models and various case studies as well as technical developments and service provider’s operational aspects. A roundtable discussion at the event concluded that global standardisation and interoperability are key for further development of IPTV worldwide. Other issues that might be further discussed at an international level, according to the roundtable’s twenty participants, include digital rights management (DRM).
The next face-to-face meeting of the FG IPTV is scheduled for 22-26 January 2007 at the Microsoft facilities, Mountain View, California, USA at the invitation of Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS).
For more information see the ITU-T IPTV Focus Group website.