AT&T, Ericsson, France Telecom, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, and Telecom Italia announced yesterday the founding of the Open IPTV Forum
, an industry consortium that will work to define an interoperable end-to-end specification for delivery of IPTV services. But as many have said, where is Microsoft and Alacatel-Lucent? Both them are key suppliers in many of the rollouts mentioned above.
Initially the Forum will consist of the founding member companies mentioned above, but will be open for other companies at a later date.
The group will focus on development of open standards that could help to streamline and accelerate deployments of IPTV technologies, and help to maximize the benefits of IPTV for consumers, network operators, content providers, service providers, consumer electronics manufacturers and infrastructure providers. While the industry is definitely in need of more cooperation, this will be a lofty goal for the above mentioned parties without the participation of other companies.
While standardization bodies are already addressing specific elements of IPTV, the pan-industry Open IPTV Forum will work to aggregate today's standards into a complete delivery solution, with the goal of accelerating the full standardization of IPTV-related technologies. The Open IPTV Forum plans to establish requirements and architecture specifications as well as protocol specifications later in 2007.
The evolving IPTV service has many advantages, including personalization, interactivity and on-demand access for all forms of digital content. Unique possibilities exist for integration of content and communication services offered across mobile handsets and home devices. By ensuring the interoperability between consumer equipment and services compliant to the Open IPTV Forum's specification, the end users can easily access their choice of contents and services among multiple service providers.
With this scope in mind, the Open IPTV Forum will work on the basis of suitable open-standards technologies, and will also address key technology elements such as content protection, necessary interfaces that allow IPTV services to be delivered over both managed network environment and the public Internet, and adequate measures to ensure interoperability between such services and retail consumer devices. Candidates include, but are not limited to: IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA).