Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Experts identify future viewing standard with IPTV

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) experts have identified that the future of television will rest on stable global standards, reports CHARLES OKOH.

Participants at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), last week, in Geneva during the Interoperability event on Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) were unequivocal that for the first of a new series of ‘ITU Interop’ events, IPTV manufacturers took part in a set of tests to demonstrate seamless global interoperability between their various IPTV devices, which have been manufactured to comply with ITU-developed standards, known as ‘recommendations.’

A communique at the end of the session showed that ITU has been busy pioneering a raft of new standards for the technology, which is set to transform global viewing habits in coming years.

Experts agreed that stable global standards will be key to take-up of IPTV, avoiding costly and confusing ‘format wars’ and reduced choice for consumers.

Industry experts also used the session to sent strong message of support for International Telecommunications Union (ITU) standards for Internet Protocol TV (IPTV).

According to experts, IPTV will deliver all the advantages of traditional ‘linear’ TV in terms of service quality, combined with the many advantages the Internet offers in terms of choice and interactivity. It should not be confused with web streaming, because images are not delivered over the Internet, but rather to homes through a ‘managed network’.

What this means, experts said is that TV programmes do not have to vie with other traffic on an increasingly busy World Wide Web, which could negatively impact the viewing experience.

This fact was supported by a press statement to ITRealms Online, which quoted the Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, Mr. Malcolm Johnson, as saying that proprietary solutions may offer fast deployment in the short term, but in the medium and longer term buyers will be subject to vendor lock-in, with the risk of costly upgrades and reduced content and hardware choice.

“Industry consortia-based ‘standards’ are mostly region-specific with little or no implementation,” he said, emphasizing that this event proved that ITU global standards are ready to go, and in fact are already being implemented.

He pointed out that many companies are now selling TV and set-top box products based on ITU-T’s of IPTV terminal standard ITU-T H.721, with products already available in countries including Brazil, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, France, and elsewhere.

He noted that in China and Japan, services based on ITU-IPTV standards are deployed and boast several million subscribers. A test service is being conducted in Singapore, and there is interest in setting up test beds in India and Canada.

In his address to the occasion, ITU Secretary-General, Dr. Hamadoun Touré said ITU-IPTV standards are the result of detailed international discussions which have included many developing countries.

These talks, he said, took into account various aspects of technologies, including Intellectual Property Right (IPRs), maturity, stability and market adoption, leading to standards that provide for high quality and low cost.

He pointed out that since ITU-IPTV standards are based on mature technologies, decided by consensus, interoperability is easier to achieve among different vendors.

Head of New Technology, European Broadcasting Union (EBU), David Wood said IPTV has been around for some time but it has not been the success that people hoped.

“The principal reason is that there have been a lot of IPTVs which means you don’t have the benefits of a large market and the benefits of open markets and competition. What we have now is a common standard which everyone can build equipment to, and this should really make IPTV much more successful in the future,” he said.

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1 comment:

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