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FEATURE IPTV Standard OIPF

The New IPTV


Standard OIPF
■ Yun Chao Hu is president of the ‘Open IPTV Forum’. He
discussed the future of the OIPF standard with TELE-
satellite during the first OIPF workshop held in Asia.

54 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 02-03/2011 — www.TELE-satellite.com


• OIPF is the new global standard for Internet TV
• OIPF is already in use in Singapore and Taiwan
• The new standard incorporates existing
technologies and specifications
• OIPF has the same specifications world-wide,
making it THE standard for Internet-based TV
applications

It was exactly four years ago, in March standard is being built. Secondly, all appli-
2007, that five telecom heavyweights cations that arise from IPTV interactivity
founded the ‘Open IPTV Forum’, with need to be integrated into the open stand-
major players such as Sony, Samsung, ardized application enablers. “The OIPF
Philips and Panasonic, but also with tel- specifications will address the necessary
ecom companies focusing mainly on the application enablers that will be the basis
Internet, like France Telecom, AT&T and for an open application ecosystem secur-
Telecom Italia. Added to that were cor- ing transparency towards the IPTV appli-
porations from the mobile sphere, such cation developers. This will ensure that
as Ericsson or Nokia Siemens Networks. the application development will be inde-
What started with nine founding members pendent of the IPTV middleware and the
has meanwhile grown to 66 OIPF member specific IPTV end-devices. The increased
companies, all of which have defined a availability of IPTV applications will enrich
single goal: to establish a uniform global the end user Quality of Experience of the
standard for TV services via Internet standard based IPTV deployments,” Yun
(IPTV) and stimulating a horizontal retail Chao Hu adds.
market for IPTV end devices. Interactivity does not only mean that
On the journey to this goal the chal- end users – i.e. TV viewers – select the
lenge does not lie in video and audio channel they want to watch from a list
transmission – more than enough estab- of offerings by using a remote control to
lished standards are used for that already. send a request to the provider. There‘s
The tricky part is interactivity and per- way more to it. The OIPF standard cre-
sonalization, as that is the main distin- ates a log with information about which
guishing feature of IPTV when compared channel is currently being watched, how
with terrestrial or satellite reception. In many times a new channel is selected and
the past, each IPTV provider seemed to at what time channels are switched. This
do its own thing, developing applications way a user profile with a precise viewing
and technologies that best fit its particular pattern can be created to provide valuable
purpose. IPTV had become a playground information for advertisers and content
for unregulated proprietary develop- providers. Commercials can be inserted
ments, and that is exactly what hindered at a time that creates most viewer atten-
further growth. Software engineers and tion and a whole range of offerings can be
hardware manufacturers were having a tailor-made to maximise their effect.
hard time trying to incorporate as many of In order to collect the required data
these diverging developments as possible, there needs to be an established and uni-
which at the same time meant too much form standard across platforms. What’s
energy had to be wasted on developments more, the OIPF standard defines how
and technologies that would simply come advertisements and other offers are
and go. transmitted to the viewer.
Yun Chao Hu is the president of OIPF, As you can see, simply watching TV
and we had the pleasure of meeting him is already based on a rather complex
during an OIPF workshop in China. “There technological structure. If we now con-
is a solution in sight,“ he states. „A uni- sider pay TV or pay-per-view – both of
form standard that is accepted and imple- which also have to be implemented in the
mented by all players and that establishes OIPF standard – it becomes plain for all
a level playing ground for all interested to see that establishing a new standard
parties.” The challenges that come with involves overcoming a great many stum-
creating the new OIPF standard are two- bling blocks. And then there’s the Inter-
fold: net, which offers even more possibilities,
For one, there is no need to start from according to OIPF marketing director
scratch again and re-invent something Monika Gadhammar: “Interactive EPG,
that is already available at our finger- video calling, chatting, file sharing, online
tips. Rather, existing standards should be voting, mobile TV and the like are only
the foundation onto which the new OIPF some of the applications that can be real-

www.TELE-satellite.com — 02-03/2011 — TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine 55


■ Monika Gadhammar is marketing
manager of OIPF. Here she can be
seen in front of a presentation of all OIPF in
current ‘Open IPTV Forum’ member
companies. Mobile
Use
ised. To give you an example: If a phone
call comes in while you are watching TV
the caller’s number and name will pop up
on the TV screen. If you decide to accept
that call the system automatically starts
■Business
executives are
PVR recording so that you are able to con- given a tool for
tinue watching after hanging up, without coordinating
appointments
missing a single second.” while on the
This just goes to show that the list of go.
possible applications is virtually end-
less. Major landline phone companies
and Internet service providers are free to
implement as many features as they think
fit, and that’s one of the major draw cards ■OIPF also
of the new OIPF standard. Yet, all these incorporates
features that are made available to con- specifications
for TV via
sumers are only one side of the coin. The mobile phone
other is the fact that all features need to networks.
be implemented at the provider’s end –
and the OIPF is the right answer for that
as well.
OIPF president Yun Chao Hu adds that
OIPF is already being used in large-scale
test set-ups. “There’s the NIMS project in
Singapore, and another one in Taiwan.”
Both make sure OIPF can make the quan-
tum leap from developer’s playground to
real-world application. OIPF is right on
track to becoming a reality of TV viewers
in the future!

More information available at:


www.oipf.tv
For the latest technical specifications
have a look at:
www.oipf.tv/specifications.html

56 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 02-03/2011 — www.TELE-satellite.com


List of All Current OIPF Member Companies

The New IPTV Standard

• OIPF provides the IPTV market with open end-2-end IPTV specifications
• OIPF includes most IPTV stakeholders
• OIPF stimulates a go-to-market drive from the IPTV industry
Open IPTV Forum Tel: +33 4 92 94 43 83
650, Route des Lucioles Fax: +33 4 92 38 52 90
F-06921 SOPHIA-ANTIPOLIS Cedex Email: contact@oipf.tv
France Website: www.oipf.tv

58 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 02-03/2011 — www.TELE-satellite.com


A Look Behind the Scenes:
The New OIPF IPTV
Standard in The
Making ■This modern office
complex in northwestern
Berlin (Germany) houses the
Fraunhofer FOKUS institute.
A range of other well-known
telecom providers also
rent office space here. The
Fraunhofer FOKUS institute
participates in exhibitions
as well and can be found
exhibiting at the CeBIT in
Hanover, IFA in Berlin, IBC
in Amsterdam and IPTV
World Forum in London.

One of the strong technical partners which is renting office space at this build- schaft employs a technical workforce of
of the Open IPTV Forum is Fraunhofer- ing, but also other well-known businesses 17,000 and generates an annual turno-
Gesellschaft from Germany, which from the telecom field. One of them is ver of 1.7 billion EUR.“ We’re not talking
has been looking at IPTV since 2005. Media Broadcast, a satellite broadcaster about a commercial company here, but
We wanted to learn more about their on which TELE-satellite reported only rather an association with an exclusive
approach to that topic and met with recently in issue 08-09/2010. focus on technical research. „Some 30%
Robert Seeliger, the OIPF project man- of Fraunhofer‘s budget are received from
ager at Fraunhofer. He occupies an office We started out with asking Robert the German state, with the remaining
on the fourth floor of a recently built Seeliger about the nature of Fraunhofer- 70% being generated from commercial
office complex in northwestern Berlin Gesellschaft. Naturally, he can fill us in corporations with all sorts of manufac-
(Germany). Yet, it‘s not only Fraunhofer with all the details: „Fraunhofer-Gesell- turers. Some monies also come from the

60 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 02-03/2011 — www.TELE-satellite.com


■ Graduate engineer receivers. „To this end we use the CE-
Robert Seeliger is OIPF HTML programming language,“ Robert
project manager at the
Fraunhofer FOKUS institute Seeliger explains. „It‘s the same lan-
in Berlin. Here he shows the guage that is also used for HbbTV, for
institute‘s website on his
monitor. Apart from the new
example.“ CE stands for consumer elec-
OIPF standard FOKUS also tronics and is perfect for calling up and
looks at another interesting displaying media content.
development: a universal
operating system that can
be implemented in mobile
phones, set-top boxes, TV
sets and so on. You can find
What is CE-HTML?
out more about that project
at www.webinos.org. HTML is the programming language
used to create web pages. You do not
have to be an accomplished expert to
realize that the web pages you surf
on with your PC or a laptop are not
so easy to navigate when displayed
on the TV screen and handled with
European Union‘s research funds.“ and developing solutions for them.
a remote control. There are several
„IPTV has been around for some time,
things that make reading and naviga-
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is divided up which means huge efforts have already
ting them difficult:
into different institutes. „We currently been put in doing research in this field,“
- sometimes simply the font is too
run 57 institutes, each of which does Robert Seeliger continues. „Our job is
small to be read from a distance by a
research on a specific field,“ Robert Seel- to define gaps that are still around and
regular TV viewer
iger goes on. One of the institutes caries then combine all aspects to arrive at a
- they often require a mouse action
the name FOKUS, which is the German point where all the pieces of this puzzle
or keyboard entry rather than the
acronym for ‚Fraunhofer Institute for fall into place.“
directional arrows and OK button that
Open Communications Systems‘. FOKUS
the regular remote control units have
consists of seven departments and one By the way, this particular Fraunhofer
- they lack a highlight that show the
of these departments is FAME, short for institute can proudly look back on an
user what will happen when he/she
‚Future Applications and Media‘, with a extremely successful Internet develop-
presses the OK button
permanent staff of 40 employees.“ ment: „We were the ones to come up
- they use different audio/video
with the Session Initiation Protocol that
object implementations
The FAME department within FOKUS is being used for VoIP,“ Robert Seeliger
- they use specific extensions like
deals with the new IPTV standard. It is reveals and lends further proof to the
Adobe Flash that require more soft-
headed by Dr. Stefan Arabnowski, with fact that Fraunhofer scientist are spot
ware and more powerful hardware to
Robert Seeliger running the project on when it comes to developing solu-
be used than is available in popular
group that looks at OIPF. „Altogether tions that are required in a real-world
consumer electronics equipment
we are 15 scientists,“ Robert Seeliger scenario.
Therefore, the manufacturers of
explains, „which means employees with
consumer electronics products deci-
a degree in either software development One task on the path to the new OIPF
ded to create a special version of HTML
or engineering.“ Their work consists standard is to design a HTML-based user
and called it CE-HTML. More precisely,
mainly of looking at technological niches interface for implementation in IPTV
CE-HTML is based on XHTML and has
additional extensions.
The pages created with CE-HTML
are well suited to be viewed from a
distance and be controlled with 4
arrows and an OK button. CE-HTML
can be used to create the regular (on-
line) pages but also to create the user
interface screens of the CE devices
you use at home, like digital TV recei-
vers.
Additionally, CE-HTML simplifies
interfacing of various multimedia
devices you use at home. We can say
that thanks to such standardization
efforts like CE-HTML, the develop-
ment of new CE equipment is faster
and simpler, and the compatibility
between different brands and models
is better.
CE-HTML is already incorporated in
CEA-2014, HbbTV, OpenIPTV and Digi-
tal Living Network Alliance industry
■ Several monitors and boxes in the lobby of the Fraunhofer FOKUS institute display applications standards. There are already TV-sets
that were developed at the institute.
on the market which are CE-HTML
compatible.
62 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 02-03/2011 — www.TELE-satellite.com