The Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA) has begun work on a new specification addressing instantaneous and reliable channel tune-in and continues to solicit industry input on the topic. Fast channel change was identified as a vital Quality of Experience issue potentially affecting consumer adoption of IPTV at the recent Summits that ISMA held to discuss the state of open standards in the industry.
Companies that are not currently members of ISMA are invited to participate in the development of the new channel change specification as one-time auditors at the ISMA 23rd Member Forum, to be held Dec. 6 and 7 in Cupertino, Calif., at Apple Computer. Internet Streaming Media Alliance members at the participant level can contribute to the ongoing work prior to the forum through the Alliance's technical committee. The working draft, "Fast Channel Changing in RTP," is now available for free download at the Alliance’s Web site, www.ISMA.tv
"There is a general myth in the industry that RTP channel change is slow and erratic in principle," said Nikolaus Farber of Fraunhofer IIS and the ISMA technical chair. "But with the correct deployment, RTP is one of the most stable and effective technologies for IPTV, including fast and accurate channel tune-in," he said.
The new work grew out of two public meetings ISMA organized -- a June North American IPTV Summit in Chicago and a European IPTV Summit in Amsterdam this September -- where non-member companies were invited to discuss the state of open standards for IPTV system development. The Summits were attended by 40 companies including equipment manufacturers, software vendors, system integrators, system operators and content providers, and were organized as a call to drive the much-needed integration of open standards through the Alliance.
The specification looks at the coding, transport and network layers, and proposes solutions based on correct RTP usage, RTP extension headers, and distributed edge servers to support fast tune-in. The results of this specification work will be aligned with other organizations, in particular DVB-IPI Phase 2. ISMA developed the draft at its September member forum in Paris following the European Summit.