ITU headquarters in Geneva has hosted a showcase of ITU-standardized multimedia solutions targeting a better quality of life through innovations in high-definition content delivery, interactive entertainment, e-health services, and the accessibility of audiovisual media to persons with disabilities.
The demonstrations were given by prominent market players and research institutes for the benefit of delegates attending meetings of ITU-T Study 16 (Multimedia) and Study Group 9 (Broadband cable and TV); the expert groups responsible for IPTV and Smart Cable TV standardization, respectively.
IPTV demonstrations included ASTEM’s (Japan) remotely-provided subtitling and captioning solution for IPTV services; a mobile IPTV service from South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research; and selected applications from ITU’s 2nd IPTV Application Challenge: "A better quality of life".
The 2nd IPTV Application Challenge booth showcased an IPTV e-health application using Continua Health Alliance-compliant e-health devices integrated with ITU-T IPTV services, developed by the Institute for Infocomm Research (Singapore) and the NTT Service Integration Lab (Japan). The booth also featured an accessibility-oriented application from Chulalongkorn University (Thailand) designed to teach its user how to communicate using sign language.
Core ITU standards underlying the IPTV showcase included Recommendation ITU-T H.721’s IPTV terminal for Video on Demand (VoD) and Linear TV, and ITU-T H.762’s Lightweight Interactive Multimedia Environment (LIME) for IPTV services. The IPTV equipment was provided by OKI and Sumitomo Electric Networks.
On the Smart Cable TV front, KDDI demonstrated an implementation of Recommendation ITU-T J.296’s integrated broadcast cable set-top boxes. The demo highlighted advanced smart cable features to undergo future standardization – a project currently being discussed by ITU-T’s Focus Group on Smart Cable TV (FG SmartCable) which has approved an intensive action plan aimed at finalizing its deliverables by October 2013. The group has scheduled three physical meetings for 2013: in April, Cambridge (UK); June, Atlanta (USA); and September, Tokyo (Japan).
In addition, an ETRI demo gave experts a view of the enhanced quality of images compressed using a hardware implementation of the newly consented ITU-T H.265 | ISO/IEC 23008-2 high efficiency video coding (HEVC). HEVC is the successor to the Primetime Emmy award winning ITU-T H.264 video compression codec. The new standard ITU-T H.265 will need only half the bit rate of its predecessor and this doubling of compression efficiency will be essential to the provision of high-quality video in mobile applications and ultra-high definition TV (UHDTV).
ITU-T Study Group 16 and Study Group 9 are producing the standards required to drive widespread global adoption of innovative multimedia solutions such as IPTV and Smart Cable TV. Global standards will lower the costs of these services for vendors and consumers, avoiding costly ‘format wars’ and enabling rollouts of the technology to a scale not achievable with proprietary solutions.
For more on ITU-T’s work on Smart Cable TV, please see ITU-T’s Focus Group on Smart Cable TV.
For more on ITU-T’s work on IPTV, please see ITU’s IPTV Global Standards Initiative.