Thursday, November 16, 2006
  نهاية عصر الفضائيات

IPTV/VoD: Get up to speed

Published Monday 13th November 2006 15:48 GMT

Industry commentThe industry and its technology moves so fast that it is easy forinformation to become outdated and for people to lose track of all thethings they need to know. This document is a typical briefing sheetsupplied in the workshop that covers all the main points that areessential for any executive or technician to understand.

  • IPTV stands for Internet Protocol Television and is an umbrellaterm describing TV and video delivered using internet technologyinstead of normal linear RF broadcast.
  • Video On-Demand is a service where video (a movie or TV programme)is sent over a computer network when a viewer requests it. It has allthe normal VCR functions that would be found on a DVD disc or VHS tape(pause, rewind, fast forward etc) but is sent down a wire instead.
  • IPTV can be supplied on any device that has internet technologybuilt it into it, for example, desktop PCs, IP set-top boxes, gamesconsoles, mobile phones, handheld devices, car stereos and home mediaplayers.
  • IPTV is not new or something on its way. It has already beendeployed widely all over the world, mostly by incumbent national telcosover broadband DSL networks. There are over 30 IPTV networks in Europealone.
  • IPTV has also widely been adopted by companies providing B2B videoservices such as retail TV, video conferencing and hospitality systemsfor its significant cost savings and integration with other IP systems.
  • "Triple Play" is an industry term for when a cable or telecomscompany offers customers phone, internet and TV in one package on thesame monthly bill.
  • "Quadruple Play" and "multi-play" take the triple play concept onestage further and add mobile telephony and other domestic services intothe package.
  • The revolutionary change with IPTV is that every viewer has apersonal relationship with a broadcaster through a transactionalrequest/response mechanism, rather than just picking up a broadcastsent to anyone and everyone.
  • Traditional TV platforms are only different to each other in theway they are transmitted. All have the same features (set-top box,programme guide, channels etc). The UK TV market is unlike any other inthe world.
  • At present, IPTV is just cable TV down telephone wires. It will berevolutionary only through being an open platform that anyone caninnovate round – one where the philosophy of the internet is adopted aswell as the technology.
  • For IPTV to reach its potential, video bandwidth must be acommodity. Capacity usage charging (e.g. BT IPStream), contentionratios and premium connectivity actively prevent deployment of IPTVservices.
  • Although it will not appear overnight, IP and transactional delivery will be the dominant method of broadcasting in 10 years.
  • The eventual goal of IPTV is to distribute live, stutter-free highdefinition television (HD) over the backbone of the internet ratherthan satellite, cable and terrestrial networks.
  • The promise of IPTV is that every piece of audio and/or visualcontent every created in human history will be available in digitalform anywhere in the world, on any device, whenever anyone wants it,wherever they are at that moment.
  • Digital media and our preferences for it will follow us wherever wego in the world, so rights will need to be allocated to an individualrather than a country and a platform. All systems will featurecentralised viewer database information and decentralised/localdelivery equipment.
  • The most efficient way to currently offer TV and video over theinternet is to use some form of decentralised P2P system where usersdownload from each other rather than a data centre. P2P does not reducevideo traffic, it merely redistributes it to the edge of the networkfrom the core.
  • Eventually all electronic devices will have internet connectivityand be able to talk to one other (so-called "convergence"). Theinternet will be the communal worldwide network that they communicateacross internationally wherever they are.
  • IPTV networks generally are based on one of two models – theso-called "closed" model using a private IP network (LAN or DSL likecable TV) and the "open" model, using the public internet.

  • IPTV content can be real-time (live) or offline (downloaded). Itcan also be pushed to a client device (e.g. overnight delivery) orpulled across the network.
  • Most ISP and telco networks are based on an old telecoms technologycalled ATM. The advent of broadband has meant most are upgrading theirnetworks to be IP-based.
  • Almost all of the top 10 broadband ISPs in the UK now have astrategy of some kind for providing voice and television to theircustomers.
  • The most practical way for ISPs to enter the television market inthe UK is to provide some form of hybrid TV/broadband service that addsa broadband "back channel" and PVR functionality to the Freeview orFreesat digital TV platforms.
  • BT's network is ATM-based and does not support multicast. The 21CNupgrade programme will change the UK infrastructure to be IP-based andis expected to be complete just before UK Digital TV Switchover in 2012.
  • IPTV video is usually supplied in MPEG-2, MPEG-4 and/or WindowsMedia (VC-1). The favourite choice is H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC) that canproduce DVD-quality video at very low bandwidths (1-3Mbit/s for SD,6-10Mbit/s for HD). Most need the video to be encapsulated in an MPEG-2transport stream.
  • Most IPTV platforms use open standards and trusted protocols fordelivering audio and video in real-time, such as RTP, RTSP, resilientUDP and SAP/SDP.
  • A normal 8Mb ADSL connection can theoretically support up to 3 SDIPTV channels or 1 HD channel in MPEG-4, but in practice it isdifficult to send more than 1 on either. A DSL connection must usuallybe 4Mbit/s and above to support a live IPTV broadcast stream and2Mbit/s for on-demand content.
  • Fiber (Gbit/s), Ethernet (100Mbit/s), ADSL2+ (24Mbit/s) and VDSL2(70Mbit/s+) connections are a more preferable and reliable networkspeed to deploy IPTV over.
  • Video running over IP networks is easily disrupted, so in order tomake sure the picture doesn’t break up a network must implement QualityOf Service (QoS) rules that separate voice, video and internet datainto their own "channels".
  • The internet is a best-effort network and does not have QoS. IPTVprovided by ISPs runs across their network but does not reach theinternet. QoS is achieved by mapping ATM virtual circuits (VCs) to IPVirtual LAN groups (VLANs).
  • An IPTV testing lab or small simulation can be purchased andinstalled extremely cheaply and easily (less than $10k or £5k) on anyoffice LAN to help cross-train developers and create example softwareapplications (such as menus and screens).
  • The net neutrality or two-tier internet debate originated in theUSA, and refers to a unilateral policy being adopted by US telcos ofcharging content providers more for using their network to delivercontent than they do themselves.
  • It is almost impossible to reliably transmit broadcast video over awireless (Wi-Fi) network, even if it runs at speeds over 108Mbps.Specialist technologies exist that try to solve this problem.
  • The easiest way to connect an IP set-top box to a broadband wirewhen it can’t be connected by a normal Ethernet cable (i.e. when it isin a different room to a home router) is to use PLC (powerlinecommunication) – 200Mbps Ethernet networking over home electricitypower cabling.
  • The future of the broadband home is to have embedded PLC technologyin all electronic devices, so they are immediately network andinternet-enabled when they are plugged into a normal electric powersocket in any room in the home.
  • Live television must be multicasted over a network, which is thecomputer equivalent of normal broadcast where only one copy of a TVsignal is sent instead of everyone having a personal (unicast) copy.Many networks do not support UDPbased multicast technology, includingthe internet.

  • Screens and menus in IPTV system are generally created in HTML, CSSand Javascript, just like normal web pages. The software on an IPset-top is usually an advanced web browser.
  • Almost anything that can be done on a website on the internet withHTML and application servers can be done on an IP set-top box. Servicesare private intranet "websites" hosted on a normal web server butspecifically formatted for a TV screen.
  • Using internet technology means any part of an IPTV system can talkto any other system that speaks internet, like Voice over IP (VoIP),POP3/IMAP email, instant messaging, text messaging, picture messagingand more.
  • The revenues from video on-demand alone cannot support an IPTVservice. Research shows viewers in the UK watch less than eight VoDmovies a year and they are not perceived to hold as much value as arented DVD.
  • The most popular VoD services on UK IPTV networks are free TV"Catch Up", music video playlisting and cult TV programmes from the1980s. Usage and behaviour (eg. peak time viewing) is the same as anyother platform.
  • VoD services compete primarily with internet piracy, PVR recording and normal live TV broadcast.
  • Almost all IPTV and VoD services are targeted at "early adopter"young males, totally ignoring women or people older than 50. TV is asocial and sharing experience that does not take well to being madeinto a PC activity.
  • Like all forms of TV, IPTV is about content and entertainment, nottechnology. Viewers follow content and it must be "pushed" to them aswith all types of media. There is no use having the world's besttechnology if there is nothing on TV. Viewers do not care where contentcomes from or how it is delivered.
  • On-Demand is not a revolution. It is the way we do everythinganyway, and have done for centuries. We buy food when we feel like it,on-demand. Its appeal is due to it being a very natural and familiarway of doing things.
  • Ninety per cent of content in the world is non-PPV (pay-per-view)that viewers will not pay to watch. It must be supported byadvertising. The UK is not a pay-TV market.
  • The "Long Tail" is a concept coined in a Wiredmagazine article describing the shape of a sales reporting graph foronline stores like Amazon, iTunes and Rhapsody where sales of niche orback-catalogue items make more money and general sales volume thanpremium products.
  • Cameron's Law states that the amount of content made available on adigital platform must be directly proportional to the ease ofnavigation, and subsequent consumption, of it.
  • The "Long Tail Problem" or "Digitisation Problem" refers to howexpensive ingest, digitisation and management of digital content is,and that because it is difficult to sell directly, there is no businesscase to do it in the first place.
  • The "Ivory Tower Complex" is a term that has come to describe theresistance shown by larger movie studios and TV production companies todistribute their content nonexclusively.
  • The "One per cent Rule" is a concept derived from usage behaviouranalysis of user-generated content (UGC) and social networking websiteswhere one per cent of the audience will actively create and submitcontent, nine per cent will moderate it editorially, and the rest arehappy simply to passively consume it.
  • 3D video games that usually run on games consoles can be playeddisc-less across an IPTV network, with the pictures sent as MPEG videoas a normal TV picture would be.
  • The "Million Channel EPG" is an industry term to describe how theTV channels a consumer can watch are effectively unlimited and notrestricted by satellite geography or street cabling.
  • Convergence messes up the intellectual property system that contentproducers use because it relies on platforms being different from oneanother and rights allocated by country.
  • IPTV has not been officially consistently defined in a legal sensefor rights clearance in the content industry, and does not fit intoeither the accepted "TV" or "New Media" category.
  • The sheer mass of unlimited digital content being made availablemeans that wholesaling, intermediation, filtering and aggregation areemerging as viable and essential business models for digital mediacontent.
  • Large volumes of content means that communities and "organic"community features such as filtering, recommendation, popularity,categorisation and niche/vertical "channels" are natural and essentialfor helping viewers buy and consume it.
  • The uncertain legal status of IPTV has led to the publication of the deeply unpopular TV Without Frontiers Directive and its extension, the Audiovisual Media Services (AMS) Directive, which attempt to force linear TV broadcast regulation on new media services.

© Digital TX Ltd (

Digital TX Limited is a London-based provider of technologyand consultancy solutions for interactive digital television andbroadband media. Alexander Cameron can be reached

هكذا سوف ينتهي عصر فضائيات الأقمار الصناعية ويبدأ عصر جديد هو عصر المشاهدة عند الطلب والتلفزيون التفاعلي

بإستخدام تقنيات المشاهدة عند الطلب والتلفزيون التفاعلي يمكن لكل شخص أن يخطط لنفسه برامج التلفزيون التي يريد في الأوقات التي يريد من المصادر التي يريد بدون ادنى تدخل خارجي

طبعاً آفاق التغيير التي ستنتج عن هذه الثورة هائلة ، اكبر من التغييرات التي حصلت في العالم بسبب التلفزيون واكبر بكثير من التغييرات التي حصلت في العالم بسبب فضائيات الأقمار الصناعية

هل سوف تنتشر تقنيات المشاهدة تحت الطلب والتلفزيوم التفاعلي؟

نعم بالتأكيد، بمجرد أن يصبح السعر بمتناول الجميع ، كما كان الأمر مع أطباق القنوات الفضائية ، ولكن اكثر بكثير من اي نجاح حصل مع القنوات الفضائية

  • الأخبار التي تهمك من المذيع المفضل لديك، بالوقت الذي تحدده أنت
  • الأغاني التي تريد قي الوقت الذي تريد
  • برامج الأطفال التي تحددها انت ليشاهدها أطفالك
  • البرامج التعليمية التي تناسبك
  • الصحف والمجلات التي ترغب بالإشتراك معها ، مع ارشيفاتها ، بمتناول يدك
  • وفوق ذلك كله ، امكانية التخاطب والرؤية المباشرة عبر العالم، مع اي شخص
  • امكانية التصويت المباشر ، والإنتخاب المباشر لكل شيئ
  • وبنوك لا نهاية لها من المعلومات بكافة اشكالها

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