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ITU Scopes Out IPTV Standards

The International Telecommunication Union this week announced its first set of standards for Internet Protocol TV, developed with technical contributions from service providers and equipment manufacturers.

The standards outline the high-level architecture and frameworks needed by service providers to roll out IPTV services and “cement ITU's role as the global leader in IPTV standards development,” the organization said in its Dec. 18 announcement.

“Standards are crucial for IPTV to reach its market potential and global audience,” Malcolm Johnson, director of the ITU’s telecommunication standardization bureau, said in a prepared statement. “They are necessary in order to give service providers -- whether traditional broadcasters, [Internet service providers], cable operators or telecoms service providers -- control over their platforms and their offerings."

The organization’s Focus Group on IPTV developed the documents in collaboration with other forums and regional standards bodies, including the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions’ IPTV Interoperability Forum and the DSL Forum.

ITU said its next phase of IPTV work will focus on developing standards and protocols based on documents produced by the initial working group. The agency’s IPTV Global Standards Initiative will start with 21 documents covering requirements, architecture, quality of service, security, digital rights management, unicast and multicast, protocols, metadata, middleware and home networks. Its first meeting is scheduled for Jan. 15 to 22 in Seoul, South Korea.

The ITU, an agency of the United Nations based in Geneva, Switzerland, establishes worldwide standards for information and communications technologies.