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 Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Standards that will ease the wide spread rollout of video over IP networks took a step forward in January.

IPTV architecture and requirements, two fundamentally important areas in standards work were progressed at a recent meeting of the ITU-T Focus Group on IPTV. There was general consensus in the meeting that FG IPTV will successfully develop documents which will accelerate introduction of IPTV to the global market. Setting the architecture and requirements in stone allows the rest of the work to continue with greater ease.

Meeting at the Microsoft conference center, Mountain View California, at the invitation of the Alliance for Telecom Industry Standards (ATIS) the group saw a record number of contributions and experts worked often late to keep up with the workload. Nearly 90 documents were dealt with in the fields of architecture and requirements alone.

Malcolm Johnson, newly elected Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau said in a message he sent to the event: “The excellent cooperation between ITU-T and ATIS is an example of the spirit of cooperation that I believe now pervades in the standards world... From what I have seen there is a great deal to be satisfied by in terms of the progress that FG IPTV has achieved so far.”

In opening comments, ATIS President & CEO Susan Miller shared with the 200 meeting attendees that IPTV is serving as a “change agent” for the industry, and “as both the business case and principal driver for accelerating deployment of the next generation network.” Miller noted that for North American service providers in particular, “IPTV is a critical ingredient to bundled service offerings that encompass television services, mobile services, Internet access, and much more. We have seen in the last decade, enormous investments in broadband, and fiber deployments to the home and to the premise,” said Miller.

Also important a document outlining terms and definitions in the field was created. While seemingly mundane this work is crucially important in ensuring consistency of comprehension in an area where many standards outlining different aspects of IPTV will co-exist.

Further discussion is expected on whether and how to treat the issue of redistribution of content to a point past an IPTV terminal device, and, in particular, how content protection and content management functions can or should apply in a home network environment.

Other issues examined and progressed were accessibility issues for people with disabilities, AV codecs and content format requirements. Output (and other) documents can be seen here.

The next meeting of FG IPTV will be held from 7 to 11 May 2007 in Bled, Slovenia.