Analysys International says that MPEG-4 will
most probably be chosen as China's IPTV coding (encoding and decoding)
standard, which will be decided at the end of year 2005.
China's IPTV industry policy, technology and standard workshop was held on
November 24th in Beijing. Based on information from the workshop, it is
understood that the IPTV standard is currently being drafted. The first draft
will be issued at the end of year 2005. The standard will cover 7 aspects:
business requirements, general structure, DVB, business platform interfaces,
operation platform interfaces, support of the access equipments and study on
video coding (encoding & decoding).
Analysys International believes that the most critical issue of IPTV
technology is the coding standard. Telecom operators and broadcasting service
providers can only solve this problem together. Although telecom operators
are trying to push the process of IPTV commercialization and formulate related
technical standard by themselves, it is still impossible for the IPTV industry
to boom since the only IPTV license is in the hand of Shanghai Media Group.
Telecom operators have a similar attitude towards the two major coding
standards of H.264 and MPEG-4 as other players in the industry value chain.
They know H.264 is theoretically advanced, but the technical immaturity and
higher cost of H.264 DVB have driven the operators into a dilemma: to deploy
MPEG-4 first for its much lower risk and then update it later at a fairly high
cost; or deploy H.264 from the beginning at a rather high technical risk.
For broadcasting service providers, the current standard they adopted for
digital TV is MPEG-2. To transfer the MPEG-2 programs into MPEG-4 format is
much easier than transferring into H.264 format. So although the broadcasting
industry didn't clearly show their thoughts, Analysys International believes
they prefer to choose MPEG-4.
Analysys International thinks that the coding standard will inevitably
become the result of a balance of risk, cost and time between telecom
operators and broadcasting service providers. If they want to reach an
agreement and set up a standard by the end of year 2005, MPEG-4 will most
probably become the choice of both parties.
Additional information is available in Analysys International's website: