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IMS IPTV Moving together

Sonu Jain Sonu.Jain@alcatel-lucent.com +919717156267


Pramod Kumar Verma Pramod_Kumar.Verma@alcatel-lucent.com +9891027499
Alcatel-Lucent, Plot 406, Udyog Vihar Ph-3, Gurgaon, India 122016

ABSTRACT
The IP multimedia Subsystem (IMS) is a network
functional architecture that is seen as a promising
solution for facilitating multimedia service creation and
deployment, as well as supporting interoperability and
network convergence. IMS allows network operators to
play a central role in traffic distribution, therefore
being more than bit pipes. The move towards all IP
architecture for service delivery appears to be a string
trend. In this context, customers seem to desire an
access to personalized interactive, multimedia services,
on any device and anywhere. This trend introduces
new requirements for network infrastructures. The IMS
is seen as a promising solution for fulfilling these
expectations.
IPTV is defined as multimedia services such as
television/video/audio/text/graphics/data delivered over
IP based networks managed to provide the required
level of quality of service and experience, security,
interactivity and reliability.
The two major technology initiatives of telecom
service providers-deploying IP multimedia subsystem
architecture for fixed/mobile convergence and offering
video services using IPTV-seem to be on a collision
course. At some magical future date IPTV will become
just another IP application in a converged multimedia
infrastructure where services are on-demand,
provisioning and billing are automated, and all network
functions are carved into reusable pieces for easy
packaging.
This paper aims at providing an overview of the IMS
and IPTV together and describing the implementation
details as well as technical issues. In this changing
landscape, the winners will be those companies that
understand consumers' needs, focuses on usability, and
increasing the ARPU by providing voice, video and
data services in a unified package.

1. INTRODUCTION
IPTV is an important element of a multiservice triple
or quadruple play strategy for carriers globally. One of
the problems they face is that these simple bundling
strategies rely on discounting as the main benefit
provided to subscribers. This strategy places a negative
on the profitability of these services and like any other
pricing strategy, is relatively easy to match by

com petitors. There is a widespread consensus about


making these multiservice bundles richer by adding
applications
and
especially extending
these
applications so that they operate across different
services. In this report we are particularly interested in
how IPTV services can be extended to support fixed
and mobile applications. This will then make the
bundle of services more valuable and provide
opportunities to increase their profitability. Use of the
IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) architecture is
expected to be an important part of this strategy. It can
significantly improve the ability of service providers to
introduce and operate these new applications and
services.

2. CHALLENGES
Service Assurance of next-generation IP services or
ensuring reliability, availability and security of services
such as Voice over IP (VoIP), Internet Protocol-based
TV (IPTV) and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) is
one of the most critical issues facing service providers
and their vendors. To compete and succeed, all next
generation IP services must deliver an extremely high
quality of experience.
Now a day there is much competition for broadband
access services between service providers, so they are
thinking about the deploying the IPTV services as part
of bundled service offering - means providing the
voice, data and video services in an unified package
with good quality of service and also in a single bill typically offered at low price than the price of
equivalent services offered separately. This evolution
can help the service providers to retain their customers,
and increase the profitability (increase in ARPU Average Revenue per user).
To implement this evolution service provider should
deploying a common services control architecture that
can support a wide variety of services, and enable the
blending of capabilities into an unified services
packages which offer the end user an unique, seamless
multimedia experience.

978-1-4244-4694-0/09/$25.00 2009 IEEE

Figure 1: Service Blending into IMS

3. ADVANTAGES OF IMS BASED IPTV


Deploying IMS functionalities to support IPTV
services enables more interesting features as follows:
Integrated user registration and authentication (single
sign-on)
User subscription management
Session management, routing, service trigger
Interaction with existing NGN service enablers
(presence etc.)
Roam and nomadic support
QoS and bearer control
Unified charging and billing
The IMS based IPTV can also bring additional
advantages such as support for mobility, enabling
interaction with existing NGN service enablers, media
adaptation as well as provide converged applications
integrated voice, data, video and mobile services to
flexible quadruple play service concept. One good
example is On-Screen Caller ID, getting Caller ID on
your TV and the ability to handle it (send it to voice
mail, etc).

4. Functional Architecture of IMS based


IPTV services
The functional architecture of IMS based IPTV
presented in this section contains main functions and
reference points defined in IMS IPTV concept.

should be used as reusable service control element for


any multimedia services not just for IPTV services.
This additional functional element extend IMS core
without special needs to change IMS core functionality
or interfaces. MSCF is used for control tasks across
distributed media control and delivery architecture.
Each UE has at least four interfaces for media control
over Xc and media delivery over as well as Gm
interface to IMS and Xt interface to IASF. Media
Control Functions (MCF) can control Media Delivery
Functions (MDF) over Xp reference point that also
allows building a really scalable and distributed media
delivery infrastructure. External content can be
imported from external media sources (e.g. content
providers) via Xg external interface for MDF.

Functional Entities
4.1 IPTV Media Control Function (IMCF)
The IMCF is a functional entity that provides the UE
with functions required to control media flows. It
manages the MDFs under its control and handles their
media flow control.

4.2 IPTV Media Delivery Function (IMDF)


The MDF is a functional entity that delivers content
data to the UE. It handles the media flow delivery.

4.3 Core IMS


For the purpose of supporting IPTV services, the
following functional entities of the Core IMS are
involved:
- the P-CSCF,
- the S-CSCF,
- the I-CSCF,
- the IBCF in case the P-CSCF and the I/S-CSCF or the
CSCF and the MCF are in different administrative
domains.

4.4 User Equipment (UE)


The UE is a functional entity that provides the user
with access to IPTV services. It terminates the IPTV
control and media signals, and displays the
corresponding information to the user.

4.5 Service Control Function (SCF)


Figure 2: Functional Architecture for IPTV Services

The User Equipment communicates with the IPTV


Service Control Functions via the Core IMS for the
purpose of session management, and may use the
reference point for the purpose of service profile
configuration or interaction with IPTV application
server. IPTV application server functions IASF use the
ISC interface to communicate with the IMS based
NGN service control. We propose to introduce
Multimedia Service Control Function (MSCF), which

The SCF is a functional entity that provides IPTV


service logic and the functions required to support
execution of such logic.

4.6 Service Selection Function (SSF)


An SSF is a functional entity that provides service
selection information to the UE.

4.7 Service Discovery Function (SDF)

SDF is a functional entity that provides service


attachment information to the UE.

4.8 User Data


Two categories of user data are involved in providing
IPTV services:
IMS user profile data: This category includes all
information required to establish IMS sessions and
access IPTV services hosted in Application Servers.
IPTV user profile data: these data are specific to
IPTV services. They typically include the list of
subscribed channels for a broadcast service or the
parental control level and language preferences for
video on demand services.

SD&S scheme. Media discovery information can be


provided to users in form of multimedia web pages
using a secure https connection on the Xt interface. The
IPTV application server is therefore a single point of
contact for IMS users for service discovery and can be
seen as a key element to select and to initiate
multimedia services available for registered IMS users.
Service discovery, service selection and service
delivery usage scenario is presented in the below
Figure:

5. Technical Issues
IPTV services bring specific technical issues that have
not yet been fully tackled by IMS standards.

5.1 Media flow control


Channel hopping delay is one of the major issues for
broadcast services. Trick mode operations (e.g. fast
forward) in VoD and PVR are also subject to time
constraints. In order to avoid that IMS signaling
procedures bring extra delays, it is necessary to draw a
clear separation between service/session control
performed at the IMS level and media flow control
handled end-to-end between the user equipment and
the content servers.

5.2 Service discovery and selection (SD&S)


There exist several competing standards for the
specification of SD&S procedures and associated
information (e.g. DVD-IPI or OMA-BCAST for
mobile access). However, the IMS specifications do
not currently include explicit support for such
procedures.

6. Implementation Details
The application server (AS) with service discovery and
selection (SD&S) functions is used to provide service
information for IMS users. It has associations to a
number of media service control servers (MSCF) via
the ISC interface so that it can collect information
about media content available from media delivery
servers achievable through these MSCF servers. This
interface is also used to connect the AS to the IMS core
so that it understands SIP based signalling from IMS
users. The AS supports also Sh interface to the Home
Subscriber Server (HSS) to retrieve user profiles with
all user subscriptions and preferences. Using the
information retrieved from associated media control
servers and applying IPTV user profiles from the HSS
a list of available multimedia services may be created
for a particular IMS user considering its preferences
and subscriptions. Thereby the personalisation, policybased service discovery and value added multimedia
services might be integrated and deployed using this

The IPTV application server is realised as a usual web


portal. The GUI of the portal consists of a graphically
adapted links to the multimedia services available for
the IMS user. The IMS users use secure https
connections to access the GUI provided by the IMS
Application Server (AS). Hence, the https protocol is
used on the Xt interface in our implementation. During
the logon stage the user credentials received via the Xt
interface are compared with user data required via the
Sh interface from the HSS. The information about
subscribed services of the user is also required via this
interface and is then available to the AS that filters its
database with the information about all available
services and builds a web page with only links to
services available for the logged on user. The preference
of the user stored in the HSS are considered to build the
page according to the policies defined for every
particular user or for groups of IMS users. As result,
personalisation of the content offering is realised where
both user subscriptions and preferences are considered.
IMS user can then navigate on the built page and decide
about the multimedia service it wants to initiate. To
select the desired multimedia service the user can simply
click onto the appropriate link or icon leading to the
informing the user about selected multimedia session via
the Xt interface. After that the IMS user can either
automatically or manually initiate the selected IPTV
session using IMS enhanced SIP signalling. During IMS
defined session establishment via the Gm interface the
IMS client is able to inform the Server deploying
Multimedia Service Control Functions (MSCF) the
capabilities of the user terminal so that appropriate QoS

parameters for the multimedia stream can be selected.


After selection of appropriate QoS parameters the
MSCF informs the Media Delivery Server (contains
media control and media delivery functionalities) via the
Y2 interface to stream data of the selected multimedia
content to the requesting user via the Xd interface. In
our implementation we use RTP and RTSP protocols on
this interface. Using RTSP protocol the user may also
control data delivery in the case the user requires
Content on Demand It can be paused, played faster or
slower, etc. The RTSP protocol is then used for media
control that take place on the Xc interface between the
user and media streaming server.
Different kind of value added services are possible
with this approach, like displaying the calling identifier
on the screen, user presence etc.

BUSINESS IMPACTS
IMS based IPTV architecture will provide the
converged services to the customers. Converged
services implies interaction of existing services in a
seamless manner to create new value added services,
like On-Screen Caller ID, getting Caller ID on your TV
and the ability to handle it (send it to voice mail, etc).
These value added services will attract and retain new
customers as well as increase the ARPU.

REFERENCES
[1] ETSI TS 182 027
Telecommunications and Internet converged Services
and Protocols for Advanced Networking (TISPAN);
IPTV Architecture; IPTV functions supported by the
IMS subsystem, ETSI Technical Specification, 2007

[2] ETSI TS 183 063: Telecommunications and


Internet Converged Services and Protocols for
Advanced Networking (TISPAN); IMS based Stage3
Specification.

[3] IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS); Stage2


description (3GPP TS 23.228 v7.2.0, modified)
[4]http://www.smartconvergence.blogspot.co
m/2006_01_22_smartconvergence_archive.ht
ml
[5] http://www.3gpp.org 3GPP home page
[6] IPTV architecture: Dedicated subsystem for IPTV
functions in NGN ETSI DTS 02049 V0.0.9 (2007-09)