Over the last decade, the growth of
satellite service, the rise of digital cable, and the birth of HDTV have all left their mark on the television landscape.
Now, a new delivery method threatens to shake things up even more powerfully. Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) has arrived,
and backed by the deep pockets of the telecommunications industry, it's poised to offer more interactivity and bring a hefty
dose of competition to the business of selling TV.
IPTV describes a system capable of receiving and displaying a video stream encoded as a series of Internet Protocol
packets. If you've ever watched a video clip on your computer, you've used an IPTV system in its broadest sense.
When most people discuss IPTV, though, they're talking about watching traditional channels on your television, where people
demand a smooth, high-resolution, lag-free picture, and it's the telcos that are jumping headfirst into this market. Once
known only as phone companies, the telcos now want to turn a "triple play" of voice, data, and video that will retire
the side and put them securely in the batter's box.
In this primer, we'll explain how IPTV works and what the future holds for the technology. Though IP can (and will)
be used to deliver video over all sorts of networks, including cable systems, we'll focus in this article on the telcos, which
are the most aggressive players in the game.
They're pumping billions into new fiber rollouts and backend infrastructure
(AT&T alone inked a US$400 million deal for Microsoft's IPTV Edition software last year, for instance, and a US$1.7 billion
deal with hardware maker Alcatel). Why the sudden enthusiasm for the TV business?
Because the telcos see that
the stakes are far higher than just some television: companies that offer the triple play want to become your household's
sole communications link, and IPTV is a major part of that strategy.
How it works
First things first: the venerable set-top box, on its way out in the cable world, will make
a resurgence in IPTV systems.
The box will connect to the home DSL line and is responsible for reassembling the
packets into a coherent video stream and then decoding the contents. Your computer could do the same job, but most people
still don't have an always-on PC sitting beside the TV, so the box will make a comeback.
Where will the box pull
its picture from? To answer that question, let's start at the source.
Most video enters the system at the telco's national headend, where network feeds
are pulled from satellites and encoded if necessary (often in MPEG-2, though H.264 and Windows Media are also possibilities).
The video stream is broken up into IP packets and dumped into the telco's core network, which is a massive IP network that
handles all sorts of other traffic (data, voice, etc.) in addition to the video.
Here the advantages of owning
the entire network from stem to stern (as the telcos do) really come into play, since quality of service (QoS) tools can prioritize
the video traffic to prevent delay or fragmentation of the signal. Without control of the network, this would be dicey, since
QoS requests are not often recognized between operators. With end-to-end control, the telcos can guarantee enough bandwidth
for their signal at all times, which is key to providing the "just works" reliability consumers have come to expect
from their television sets.
video streams are received by a local office, which has the job of getting them out to the folks on the couch. This office
is the place that local content (such as TV stations, advertising, and video on demand) is added to the mix, but it's also
the spot where the IPTV middleware is housed. This software stack handles user authentication, channel change requests, billing,
VoD requests, etc.—basically, all of the boring but necessary infrastructure.
All the channels in the lineup are multicast from the national headend to local
offices at the same time, but at the local office, a bottleneck becomes apparent. That bottleneck is the local DSL loop, which
has nowhere near the capacity to stream all of the channels at once.
Cable systems can do this, since their bandwidth
can be in the neighborhood of 4.5Gbps, but even the newest ADSL2+ technology tops out at around 25Mbps (and this speed drops
quickly as distance from the DSLAM [DSL Access Multiplier] grows).
So how do you send hundreds of channels out to an IPTV subscriber with a DSL line?
Simple: you only send a few at a time. When a user changes the channel on their set-top box, the box does not "tune"
a channel like a cable system. (There is in fact no such thing as "tuning" anymore—the box is simply an IP
receiver.) What happens instead is that the box switches channels by using the IP Group Membership Protocol (IGMP) v2 to join
a new multicast group.
When the local office receives this request, it checks to make sure that the user is authorized
to view the new channel, then directs the routers in the local office to add that particular user to the channel's distribution
list. In this way, only signals that are currently being watched are actually being sent from the local office to the DSLAM
and on to the user.
matter how well-designed a network may be or how rigorous its QoS controls are, there is always the possibility of errors
creeping into the video stream. For unicast streams, this is less of an issue; the set-top box can simply request that the
server resend lost or corrupted packets.
With multicast streams, it is much more important to ensure that the
network is well-engineered from beginning to end, as the user's set-top box only subscribes to the stream—it can make
no requests for additional information.
To overcome this problem, multicast streams incorporate a variety of error
correction measures such as forward error correction (FEC), in which redundant packets are transmitted as part of the stream.
Again, this is a case where owning the entire network is important since it allows a company to do everything in its power
to guarantee the safe delivery of streams from one end of the network to the other without relying on third parties or the
Though multicast technology provides
the answer to the problem of pumping the same content out to millions of subscribers at the same time, it does not help with
features such as video on demand, which require a unique stream to the user's home.
To support VoD and other services,
the local office can also generate a unicast stream that targets a particular home and draws from the content on the local
VoD server. This stream is typically controlled by the Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP), which enables DVD-style control
over a multimedia stream and allows users to play, pause, and stop the program they are watching.
The actual number of simultaneous video streams sent from
the local office to the consumer varies by network, but is rarely more than four.
The reason is bandwidth. A Windows
Media-encoded stream, for instance, takes up 1.0 to 1.5Mbps for SDTV, which is no problem; ten channels could be sent at once
with bandwidth left over for voice and data. But when HDTV enters the picture, it's a different story, and the 20-25Mbps capacity
of the line gets eaten up fast.
At 1080i, HDTV bit rates using Windows Media are in the 7 to 8 Mbps range (rates
for H.264 are similar). A quick calculation tells you that a couple of channels are all that can be supported.
The bandwidth situation is even worse
when you consider MPEG-2, which has lower compression ratios. MPEG-2 streams will require almost twice the space (3.5 Mbps
for SDTV, 18-20 Mbps for HDTV), and the increased compression found in the newer codecs is one reason that AT&T will not
use MPEG-2 in the rollout of its IPTV service dubbed "U-verse."
Simultaneous delivery of channels is necessary to keep IPTV competitive with cable.
Obviously, multiple streams are needed to support picture-in-picture, but they're also needed by DVRs, which can
record one show while a user is watching another. For IPTV to become a viable whole-house solution, it will also need to support
enough simultaneous channels to allow televisions in different rooms to display different content, and juggling resulting
bandwidth issues is one of the trickiest parts of implementing an IPTV network that will be attractive to consumers.
What's in it for me?
If IPTV was simply a way for telcos
to enter the video delivery game, it would be an attractive service just for the increased competition.
FCC study showed that cable rates increased at more than 3.5 times the rate of inflation between 1998 and 2003—but in
the few places where cable faces competition from another wireline provider, prices are substantially lower than the average.
The increased competition provided by the telcos will no doubt drive prices down further, as has already happened in Texas
(where several telco TV projects are undergoing trials).
Apart from the effect on the competitive landscape, though, IPTV has the potential to deliver
more interactivity than cable. An all-IP solution is switched digital by nature, does not depend on shared bandwidth, and
uses well-known Internet technology, which should make for some interesting applications.
Expect to see caller
ID information displayed on the screen when your phone rings, for instance, or alerts when you receive new e-mail. Because
IPTV does not require expensive tuners, multiple picture-in-picture applications will become a reality, and DVRs will be able
to record multiple shows at once without upping the cost of the unit (the main constraint will be bandwidth).
interactive program guide, pay-per-view functionality, and video on demand will all be standard features, and channel changes
should be much quicker.
the set-top boxes will use Ethernet and IP, they should be simple to integrate into the existing home network, which includes
a user's computer. STBs will be able to pull video and pictures from a home PC and display them on the television, and will
also be able to easily network with other STBs on other televisions throughout the house. This will allow a user to own a
single DVR that can be controlled from any set in any room.
IPTV: (Almost) here at last
The promise of IPTV has been, well, promised for some time now, but it really is
just around the corner. In the US, AT&T (formerly SBC) is in the midst of its Project Lightspeed, a 40,000-mile fiber
rollout. The company is dropping US$4 billion on upgrading its network, though unlike Version's FiOS service, the fiber will
generally not run all the way to the home. As the rollout continues, the company will introduce its U-verse IPTV service,
which is currently undergoing live trials in Texas.
Speaking of Verizon, they already offer 300+ channels of television service.
It's not delivered over
DSL, but by fiber strung directly to the home.
They are also in the process of a multi-billion dollar network
upgrade and have the jump on AT&T, having already laid fiber to three million homes at the end of 2005. Running fiber
to the home gives them incredible bandwidth and allows them to stream all channels at once; out of the 4.5Gbps available on
the fiber, only 3.5Gbps are taken up with TV. (Though they plan to transition to a full-IP network in the future, FiOS TV
is currently RF [radio frequency] based, except for video on demand, which uses IP.)
Prior to being acquired
by AT&T, BellSouth had jumped on the fiber train early and has already rolled out more than five million miles of the
stuff while preparing its own IPTV trials. Like both AT&T and Verizon, BellSouth was testing Microsoft's IPTV software;
with AT&T swallowing up BellSouth, it looks as though the software giant may become the main provider of IPTV backend
software in the US.
One potential roadblock to these rollouts could be franchise agreements, the licenses that most companies need from
a municipality to offer television service. Cable companies have had decades of negotiating practice with cities, but it's
a new world for the telcos, who have found the process to be excruciatingly slow (and costly). Verizon, for instance, calls
the agreements "a major barrier to entering the video market on a wide scale" and claims that the cable industry
has done its best to use franchise agreements to trip up the telcos.
The telcos have lobbied both the FCC and state legislatures to
make changes to the rules governing these agreements, and it appears that some states, at least, are cooperating. Texas recently
passed a law allowing the telcos to negotiate a franchise agreement with the entire state at once instead of with every separate
community, and Verizon told the FCC that this had provided extra incentive for the company to conduct some trials in the state.
AT&T, for its part, has publicly taken the stance that they don't actually need a franchise license since
they are essentially delivering an IP-based data service, not a video signal, and thus are not subject to the franchising
rules. This could be a costly decision if the FCC thinks differently, but it could also save them a lot to time, money, and
energy if their strategy gets an official thumbs-up.
The big loser here could be satellite, which has been providing the video portion of the telcos' offerings for nearly a decade. With the telcos going into
the TV business for themselves, satellite will need to find a compelling way
to offer both VoIP and data services along with its traditional video signal in order to remain competitive.
in particular, has been mulling
a move to WiMAX technology to
remain competitive.) Fortunately for them, satellite companies currently control just over 30 percent of the pay TV market,
which should give them some breathing room when the telcos deploy IPTV systems in force.
Another approach to IP-based video comes
from web companies who do not necessarily own the complete network infrastructure, but who plan to offer IPTV services over
the public Internet. AOL has already announced its plan for a service dubbed In2TV that will stream ad-supported programming to users over the 'Net, and companies like Apple and Google already offer
what are essentially IP-based video on demand services.
Though such efforts typically rely on a computer to display
the content, it would definitely be possible to roll out set-top boxes so that consumers could watch the programming on their
own televisions. The idea's not quite as crazy as it sounds—Atlanta-based Dave.tv is currently in the process of producing
its own box and plans to offer TV services right over the Internet. Such a move could leapfrog the traditional networks, but
it faces problems.
The obvious challenge to this business model comes from being a "broadcaster" without a network, which
means that users need to bring their own access and that content is delivered over networks owned by the telcos or cable providers
(in most cases). Both groups have begun making noise about "tiered pricing" schemes, and you can expect them to push the idea even harder as increased amounts of video stream through
Any company serious about providing their own IPTV service would no doubt ante up, since
consumers are unlikely to subscribe to a TV service that suffers from bandwidth bottlenecks or other inconsistencies.
Time for a triple play
How big will the IPTV
market be? Multimedia Research Group estimates that IPTV
subscribers will balloon from 3.7 million in 2005 to 36.9 million by 2009 (worldwide), with Europe leading the market. The
industry's revenues could reach nearly US$10 billion by that time—no small chunk of change. Still, the battle is for
more than just your television; it's a struggle for the single entry point into your home.
The so-called "triple play" of
voice, video, and data is currently a holy grail for the telcos, who need to compete with the cable companies, which already
offer all three services. With both telcos and cable providers offering the triple play, it's likely that consumers will soon
need only a single data pipe flowing into their home (and bundle discounts will ensure that this is the cheapest way to do
things). Whichever pipe that turns out to be—cable or telephone line—will mean big money for the company that
provides the missing piece that the telcos need, but the cable companies, for their part, are talking tough.
is spending years and billions of dollars to imitate a network that Comcast has already built," said spokesman Andrew
Johnson. "We've seen nothing... that we can't exceed." Despite the posturing, both industries see this as an important
transition time during which they need to sell customers on the merits of one-stop shopping for their communication and entertainment
needs. Hopefully, the battle of words will soon give way to the price war that satellite could not fully spark, in which case
IPTV, if it does nothing else, will have succeeded.
The module covers
various aspects related to IPTV set top boxes from a telco/operator stand point. Following are some of the key areas covered:
Trends & Growth Trajectory
Market For Growth
STB Vendor Capabilities
STB Vendor Selection Criteria
CUSTOMER TRENDS & GROWTH
the end-customer wants more flexible programming environment for better interaction and advanced products like VoD and DVR.
Also it has been observed that there could be a huge customer demand for integrated services like program a DVR from a cell
IPTV enabler, Broadband: Broadband services industry has seen growth both in terms of consumer base as well as revenues.
If we closely look at consumer broadband connections worldwide, it has risen from 85.6 million in 2003 to 442.55
million in 2009(E) and forecasted to grow 638.52 million by 2013 showing a CAGR of 22.3% Y-O-Y of which IPTV services &
interactivity will play vital role.
In the number of broadband connections, APAC contribution has been expected
to grow from one-third of global count to half of global count by 2013. For IPTV, broadband services like DSL, ADSL &
VDSL still have a major contribution compared to other modes like FTTX.
The customer appetite and likely drift towards Digital TV
in the form of IPTV, Digital Cable or Satellite TV is growing by the day. The number of connection worldwide in Digital TV
is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18.6%, while APAC has been growing at a much faster rate and is expected to grow at a CAGR
of 33.3% during the same period.
Ironically, the growth in the number of subscribers has not translated to top-line
growth. Thus we see a negative growth rate in worldwide monthly Digital TV revenue per subscriber to -5.6% CAGR owing to dropping
monthly Digital TV revenue per subscriber.
This is evident from average subscriber payment of 48 USD per month
in 2003 going down to 36.71 USD per month presently. If we look at APAC scenario the average were 22.25 USD in Year 2003 &
went to as low as 7.97 USD in Year 2008.
At the network side the growth of FTT OLT ports sold is a clear indicator of high
speed data access i.e. scaling enablers for IPTV provider. It has risen worldwide from 79,000 in Year 2005 to 3,48,000 in
In FFTP ONT sales too has risen from 9,03, 000 to 5,713, 000 in same period.
OLT Port Revenue
Total World (T)*
North America (T)
Competitive broadband environment prevailing in countries like France and Italy and
favorable LLU condition for alternative players provides scope for the growth of IPTV. Infrastructure support like FTTx has
supported IPTV players like FastWeb, Lyse Tele, iVISJON and B2. Lesser competitive environment from cable TV market players
has acted as a catalyst in some cases for the growth of IPTV players whereas on the contrary in some cases telcos, such as
Belgacom and Telefonica have implemented IPTV as direct competitive challenges to these cable TV players. Major IPTV players
have Incorporated DTT capabilities in IPTV typically involving hybrid STB for the provision of on-demand applications and
interactive services. Overall, the market could not be more conducive for IPTV set-top boxes growth.
MARKET ANALYSIS The pay direct-to-home industry is characterized by two broad growth patterns: matured markets like North America
and Western Europe with decaying rates and high growth/emerging markets like Asia and Eastern Europe.
of digital terrestrial and satellite set-top boxes to China, India, and the United States accounted for more than 60% of total
worldwide STB shipments in 2008, and are expected to reach 70% of worldwide shipments in 2009. DTT boxes shipped to the US
will account for more than 20% of global STB shipments in 2008 and 2009.DTT boxes in western Europe is expected to increase
from 39 Million in 2009 to 47.9 Million by 2012,whereas IPTV is expected to increase from 10.5 Million to 17.9 Million.
Rapid expansion of the Chinese and Indian DTH platforms and analog terrestrial switch-off in the US are pushing
sales of FTA satellite equipment and digital-to-analog converter boxes. In mature markets growth will come from premium services
(HD and DVR/PVR). 50% of 2009 IP set top box unit shipments in Western Europe will have hard disk drives. Among the key technology
trends are improved power management and support for 3D graphics, multiple codecs, and open software platforms.
The average bill of materials for an HD IP set top box will fall below $50 in 2010.
ARCHITECTURE IPTV can be delivered over multiple physical infrastructures (fiber, copper or coax). Most common architectures for single
family homes are Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP), Fiber-to-the-Curb (FTTC) and Fiber-to-the-Neighborhood (FTTN) and DSL/VDSL.
Fiber-to-the-Building (FTTB) is often used in dense markets with high concentration of MDUs. Broadband wireless as an access
technology is technically feasible but years from reality.
Some Major technological changes are Increased
Support for digital connections, increased storage capacities, increased support for HDTV, consolidation of silicon components,
Migrations to providing residential gateway capabilities, support for advanced compression technologies.
middleware is the key element in developing differentiated services; Middleware vendors have developed to the point of creating
SDKs; Application developers are particularly interested in working with Microsoft and other companies for access to the TV
as a platform.
STANDARDS Some of the standards defined for IPTV are: • IPTV Linear TV Service, which
includes pay-per-view and next-generation gaming.
• IPTV Consumer Domain Device Configuration Metadata,
which specifies the metadata required to provide basic information needed to acquire IPTV content. • Media Formats
and Protocols for IPTV Services, which is a comprehensive listing of the protocols and media formats required for the implementation
of IPTV-related services.
• IPTV Terminal Metadata Specification, which defines the data structure that
facilitates the exchange of user-related data and the IPTV devices • Fault Codes for IPTV, which includes a categorized
listing of fault codes for IPTV functions and components.
• A comprehensive test plan for validating
objective perceptual quality models in the context of IPTV services. The plan defines the procedure for evaluating quality
models’ criteria, performance, evaluation and documentation. Remote Management of Devices in the Consumer Domain for
• Standard to ensure interoperability between service provider IPTV multicast applications
and the network provider domain.
IPTV operators will struggle
to sign up discrete pay-TV subscriptions. Service providers that bundle their TV offerings alongside core services such as
broadband access and telephony are far more likely to attract larger numbers of new IPTV customers.
customer relationship will yield greater loyalty, more up-sell opportunities and stronger ARPU potential than a single or
dual-play subscription. Effective marketing strategies, combined with pricing, improved customer service, and faster and more
reliable service is really becoming the boon for which telcos need to stay competitive.
STB VENDOR CAPABILITIES
Vendors in STB services for DTH, Terrestrial –DTT , Cable TV and IPTV which were traditionally
mutually exclusive in terms of offerings have evolved into more of a hybrid structure supporting compatibility between multiple
services, technologies like compression techniques, and management platform.
If we look into the details of STBs
provided by vendors we can see gamut of features embedded into them:
Ranging from interfaces support like USB dongle
provided by Abilis along with single chip receiver CMOS tuner to ARION technologies providing USB compatible PVR ready directory.
Some STB vendor like Acron have expertise to have proprietary OS as a backward integration strategies, but recently
the trend has changed to take the advantage of ISV’s like Bit Router who develop turnkey software for STB like Cpack
for NTSC (National Television System Committee) to ATSC (Advance TV system Committee) for digital TV or convertor box software
for cable DTA, other compatibility features like SD and HD is looked in for vendors to provide hybrid ecosystems.
To name a few vendors in this streams are Ali, Altech UEC ,Broadcom ,Echo Star ,Eight Group , Futarque , etc. which
not only provide HD and SD features but also features like integration open TV ,NDS core ,MHEG,ID Way ,multi room accessibility,
multi tuner facility ,easy remote access, HDTV features ,Home cinema experience etc .
While some vendors
like Eight Group and Futarque support futuristic MPEG 5 Fujian, HDMI features are supported by lot of the vendors like ARION
technology and Eight Group. Apart from compatibility other issues addressed by the STB vendors are management, security,
scalability and add on features.
Vendors have geared up themselves to come up with different strategies to meet
such demand, for instance if we take Security Alibis has been offering stringent Nagra Vision NOCS 1.1 ,ADB & Altech UEC
providing robust CAS suite like NDS ,Irdeto ,Nagra vision and Conax etc.
Vendors are now trying to serve
customer better by developing more remote base access system. Initiative such as Echo star STB for Health problem resolution
by operators, viewer management for CRM features like customer behavior, customized advertising and demographic offerings
and software patches for upgrade by USB where as Fujian through RS 232 port.
Wire has USB expansion
capability along with customized storage and external interface.
It also includes software UPn P Av and DLNA technology
that automatically discovers media content stored in every network device along with integrated advertising model. 2 Wire
has built in set top boxes and diagnostic and reporting tools can help to decrease customer care costs, while support for
pre-roll, post-roll, and overlay advertising offer revenue generating opposite With 2Wire SMS, service providers can deliver
efficient subscriber service activation, account creation, authentication, billing, and near-instantaneous, on-demand content
Other vendors like Diego have content sharing capability with PC, Enseo provides the QAM/8VSB/NTSC
tuner that drives their hospitality solutions, Evoc have flexible platforms support video on demand, training applications,
narrowcasting, TV meetings, online games, intelligent roaming between GSM and Wi-Fi networks, voice over IP (VoIP), music,
email, personal video recording and other services .
Info EQ corporation provides multiple format support
enables subscribers to enjoy media server archives, surf the internet, and send e-mail. STiNO Media AG delivers customer projects
in the hospitality, digital signage and healthcare markets, reduces your time to market for pilot installations or product
deployment and provides the ideal platform to fulfill your customer project requirements. Sumitomo Electric Network has jointly
developed with Digital Fountain, Inc. to compensate the packet loss that occurs on a best-effort type IP network.
The above mentioned features are not static behavior of STB vendor space and it is seeing dynamics upgrades better customization
and management capabilities. Some other value ad have also been provided by a few STB vendors in order to differentiate
themselves from the vast pool of vendors .e.g. Futarque provides DTG , Nordig C region specific offering , E Book, D book
,OSD and multi room with a house for same STB. Echo star was also able to provide similar features; Fujion provides Multilanguage
OSD and parental packs as vigilance of viewing.
Motorola too with its Krea TV TM has been able to provide collage
In just a few more years, the DVR, with its ability to record and play back any television show
and skip commercials, will be a standard partner for most of televisions. Today's 2.5" HDD technology now exceeds the
storage and retrieval requirements for DVR technology, while delivering a more power-friendly, quiet and space-saving design.
HDD storage technology was propelled even further by the development of Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR). Prior to PMR,
HDDs held magnetized data bits horizontally along the media, fittingly enough called Longitudinal Magnetic Recording, or LMR.
In future PMR technology will ultimately allow densities up to 1TB per square inch. 2.5” HDD advances
can allow manufacturers to offer cable companies and consumers new features, functions and designs that better serve the new
digital living room.
STB VENDOR SELECTION CRITERIA
Set top box in IPTV needs to have capabilities which
pass major regulatory compliance like DVB-CI slotting, finger printing and watermarking to curb IP infringement. These are
just to name a few and the industry is going to witness a sea-change as the market matures in terms of volumes and geography.
To add more the OEM has to be backed by robust model which meets the non deterministic or to be precise pseudo-deterministic
procurement needs of the service provider. This is backed by existing customer base and manufacturing facility and supplier’s
agility and relationships.
Experience in porting hardware and CAS plays a vital role in selection of service so
forms a Generic component of STB vendor.
The skeleton of STB is controller chipset (platform) so we need to categorically and promptly
look up the features , supports ,compatibility, scalability, add-ons, etc. that these vendor specific controller chipset support.
The major players in thin segment are ST micro, Philip, Conexant, IBM PPC, CeRoma and MPC. The integrators supports these
micro- UEC, Handar, Homecast, ADB, Humax, Kanomedia
Some of the major issues pertaining to compatibility are to be checked for vendor’s offerings and needs to
be closely watched. This most importantly includes STB controller and followed by interface connectors like LNB input, power
supply input of +12 v DC, Ethernet port, PSTN- RJ 11 port, Microphone Jack, RAM type and size, Smart Card and common interface
slot i.e. DVB-CJ.
Limited and genuine right distribution is important for success for all components of IPTV
value chain; it is taken care by DRM & CAS like Nagravision, Cryptoworks, Irdeto, Viacess, Widevine, Verimatrix features.
This is supported by standardized digital audio/video decoder like SD H.264, MPEG-2/MPEG-4, HDMI, 6 to 2 Channels down mixing,
Stereo to Mono, Karaoke Support .The hardware features are supported by software which includes basic OS mainly Linux or embedded
and only few of those that provide same RTOS.
This OS further runs applications like Euroloader, Front Engine-
Agfa Monotype/ Bit Stream etc .
The various browser supports are ESPIAL, Opera, Oregan, Macromedia flash etc.
The value preposition for any STB vendor are inherent capabilities to support VOD features like MHP-DVR, Picture-in
Graphic, Picture in Picture, OSD (On Screen Display), PVR-trick, Play Mode, Time-shift features, independent flicker filter
for graphics, Anti Aliasing, Temporal De-Interleaving motion detection and estimation, Tile and Wide Effect, Color keying,
Channel Zapping Optimization, security is handled by SSL-64 or 128 bits, PKI, AES, 3DES, DVB-CSA,.
supporting elements include mouse, key board, joystick, etc for gaming consoles mouse etc. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
government on Monday unveiled guidelines for the rollout of Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) the delivery of television content
through broadband that will open doors for more investment in this sector.
"These guidelines bring clarity on various platforms capable
of providing IPTV services, the regulatory provisions and licensing requirements and other issues to encourage stakeholders
to launch IPTV," the information and broadcasting ministry announced here.
The guidelines were announced
nearly a fortnight after the cabinet approved a policy framework for regulating IPTV. IPTV would require either a computer
and software media player or an IPTV set top box to decode the images in real time.
Under the new guidelines those eligible for providing IPTV include telecom Access Service Providers who have licence
to provide triple play services and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with net worth more than Rs.1 billion (around $25 million).
Cable TV operators registered under Cable Television Network (Regulation)
Act, 1995 or any other telecom service provider duly authorised by the Department of Telecom will be able to provide IPTV
service under their licences without requiring any further registration, the ministry clarified.
However, the telecom licensees and cable operators will be required to give self-certified declaration to the information
and broadcasting ministry, department of telecom and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) indicating the detail of
licence or registration under which they propose to offer IPTV service, it said.
The date of commencement of the service, the area being covered and details of network infrastructure should also
be included in the self-declaration, it added.
TV has a huge potential to capture the new net-savvy generation who may like to watch their favourite television programmes
without having to put up with cable wires or a direct-to-home (DTH) satellite dish.
Internet TV is not expected to cost more than DTH or cable.
The cabinet decision last month removed the last hurdle in the way of making IPTV popular by making it clear that
IPTV providers would get channels from broadcasters as per broadcasters' rates fixed by TRAI.
Downlinking norms which earlier only allowed broadcasters to share their channels for the cable and DTH platforms
have now been amended to include sharing of channels with the IPTV platforms.
State-owned BSNL and MTNL are already providing IPTV services in several cities. Private players like Bharti Airtel
and Reliance Communications are also eyeing the burgeoning IPTV market.