Boost to Emerging IPTV Industry from DVB

Friday, September 7th, 2007
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Demo Highlights Interoperability & Ongoing Efforts To Harmonise Standards For IPTV

Amsterdam — Visitors to the DVB stand (1.481) at this year’s IBC have the opportunity to see the latest developments in the standardisation work being carried out to achieve interoperability, stimulate growth and enable greater economies of scale for the budding IPTV market. A landmark DVB-IPTV multi-vendor interoperability demonstration shows an end-to-end network with set-top boxes receiving standard definition and high definition video employing both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 video coding. Aspects of the DVB-IPTV specifications that are being demonstrated include Service Discovery and Selection (SD&S), Forward Error Correction (FEC) and Broadband Content Guide (BCG).

With the publication in 2006 of the first set of DVB standards for IPTV, manufacturers are now delivering products that benefit from the advantages that come with open standards. The industry has particularly welcomed the standardisation of the BCG, similar to the EPG used in traditional digital TV, and the SD&S mechanism. Thanks to standardised information, the SD&S mechanism allows a set-top box to efficiently recognise the multicast and unicast offerings of IPTV service operators on a broadband network.

Phase 1 of DVB’s IPTV work has been dealing with compressed video and audio, and generic data in an MPEG-2 Transport Stream delivered over IP networks for both broadcast and on-demand services. This phase also covers elements which facilitate the connection of an IPTV set-top box to an IP network.

Phase 1 elements provide for a basic IPTV scenario. Phase 2 of DVB’s work is aimed at ensuring easier integration of IPTV into traditional IP services, and also the convergence of fixed and mobile TV services, including delivery directly over IP as an option.

Peter MacAvock, Executive Director, DVB Project, commented “The relatively low entry costs for IPTV combined with the possibility of attractive operating margins are making it a viable medium that is likely to bring about dramatic changes in how audiences will watch television programming in the future. Our demonstration here at IBC is another step in DVB’s progress towards harmonising the standardisation efforts with a view to enabling wide scale deployment of IPTV services.”

A recent analyst report indicated that 36.8 million subscribers will be watching IPTV by the end of the decade contributing 11.2 billion dollars in subscription revenues. (Source: Digital Tech Consulting, Inc.) To meet its significant potential, IPTV needs standardisation. A growing list of organisations is working alongside the DVB Project to provide the IPTV industry with the appropriate level of standardisation. These include ATIS-IIF, DLNA, ISMA and the DSL Forum [Broadband Forum] amongst others. DVB has considerable expertise in the area of IPTV and is in a unique position to play a central role in minimising the differences between IPTV standards worldwide based on commercial requirements.