Architecting the Telecommunication Evolution: Toward Converged Network Services Vijay K. Gurbani and Xian-He Sun ISBN: 0-8493-9567-4 Business Strategies for the Next-Generation Network Nigel Seel ISBN: 0-8493-8035-9 Chaos Applications in Telecommunications Peter Stavroulakis ISBN: 0-8493-3832-8 Context-Aware Pervasive Systems: Architectures for a New Breed of Applications Seng Loke ISBN: 0-8493-7255-0 Fundamentals of DSL Technology Philip Golden, Herve Dedieu, Krista S Jacobsen ISBN: 0-8493-1913-7 Introduction to Mobile Communications: Technology, Services, Markets Tony Wakefield ISBN: 1-4200-4653-5 IP Multimedia Subsystem: Service Infrastructure to Converge NGN, 3G and the Internet Rebecca Copeland ISBN: 0-8493-9250-0 MPLS for Metropolitan Area Networks Nam-Kee Tan ISBN: 0-8493-2212-X Performance Modeling and Analysis of Bluetooth Networks: Polling, Scheduling, and Traffic Control Jelena Misic and Vojislav B Misic ISBN: 0-8493-3157-9 A Practical Guide to Content Delivery Networks Gilbert Held ISBN: 0-8493-3649-X Resource, Mobility and Security Management in Wireless Networks and Mobile Communications Yan Zhang, Honglin Hu, and Masayuki Fujise ISBN: 0-8493-8036-7 Security in Distributed, Grid, Mobile, and Pervasive Computing Yang Xiao ISBN: 0-8493-7921-0 TCP Performance over UMTS-HSDPA Systems Mohamad Assaad and Djamal Zeghlache ISBN: 0-8493-6838-3 Testing Integrated QoS of VoIP: Packets to Perceptual Voice Quality Vlatko Lipovac ISBN: 0-8493-3521-3 The Handbook of Mobile Middleware Paolo Bellavista and Antonio Corradi ISBN: 0-8493-3833-6 Traffic Management in IP-Based Communications Trinh Anh Tuan ISBN: 0-8493-9577-1 Understanding Broadband over Power Line Gilbert Held ISBN: 0-8493-9846-0 Understanding IPTV Gilbert Held ISBN: 0-8493-7415-4 WiMAX: A Wireless Technology Revolution G.S.V. Radha Krishna Rao, G. Radhamani ISBN: 0-8493-7059-0 WiMAX: Taking Wireless to the MAX Deepak Pareek ISBN: 0-8493-7186-4 Wireless Mesh Networking: Architectures, Protocols and Standards Yan Zhang, Jijun Luo and Honglin HU ISBN: 0-8493-7399-9 Wireless Mesh Networks Gilbert Held ISBN: 0-8493-2960-4

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-.copyright. Gilbert. No part of this book may be reprinted. LLC Auerbach is an imprint of Taylor & Francis Group. paper) 1. copyright. ISBN 0-8493-7415-4 (alk. p.com (http://www. (CCC) 222 Rosewood Drive. 3) Includes bibliographical references and index.388’17--dc22 Visit the Taylor & Francis Web site at http://www. 1943Understanding IPTV / Gilbert Held. Inc. or in any information storage or retrieval system. Multicasting (Computer networks) I. 2. but the author and the publisher cannot assume responsibility for the validity of all materials or for the consequences of their use.com 2006043033 . Title.auerbach-publications. CCC is a not-for-profit organization that provides licenses and registration for a variety of users. II. MA 01923. please access www.com and the Auerbach Web site at http://www. Digital television. Title: Understanding IP television. FL 33487-2742 © 2007 by Taylor & Francis Group. mechanical.taylorandfrancis. and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. microfilming. Suite 300 Boca Raton. reproduced.com/) or contact the Copyright Clearance Center. 978-750-8400.S. and sources are indicated. including photocopying. an Informa business No claim to original U. Danvers. For organizations that have been granted a photocopy license by the CCC. Television broadcasting--Technological innovations. or utilized in any form by any electronic. and recording.H35 2006 621. Trademark Notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks. cm. A wide variety of references are listed. Reasonable efforts have been made to publish reliable data and information. a separate system of payment has been arranged. transmitted. For permission to photocopy or use material electronically from this work.(Informa telecoms and media .Auerbach Publications Taylor & Francis Group 6000 Broken Sound Parkway NW. 3. now known or hereafter invented. Government works Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-8493-7415-4 (Hardcover) International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-8493-7415-9 (Hardcover) This book contains information obtained from authentic and highly regarded sources. TK6678. Reprinted material is quoted with permission. or other means. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Held. without written permission from the publishers.

In recognition of their inquisitive nature. when I commenced work at my first full-time job. A long time ago. v .Dedication Over the past two decades I have had the privilege to teach a series of graduate courses focused on various aspects of communications technology for Georgia College and State University. at the IBM Corporation in upstate New York.” For more than 20 years. this book is dedicated to the students of Georgia College and State University. my graduate school students have made me remember the information that sign at IBM conveyed. “Think. Teaching graduate school has enabled me to both convey information as well as learn from the inquisitive minds of students. many desks were most notable by the placement of a sign that simply stated the word.


..................................3 Lossy Compression ..........................................................1 2.............................41 Evolution of Video Compression ................................................................................................... 127 vii .....21 2............................2 Applications........................................................................................................ xi About the Author........................... xiii 1 Introduction to IPTV ..............................1 VDSL ..................................................................4 Telephone Company Landline Erosion..................1 The TCP/IP Protocol Suite.................................57 3..........................................................................................................................11 1............44 3 Television Concepts ...................................................... 105 5 Last Mile Solutions ................35 Convergence of Voice......49 3....64 4 The TCP/IP Protocol Suite and IPTV ...........1 Analog Television .............................................................................................................................................................................. Data.........................2 Distribution into the Home ....................... ix Acknowledgments ............Contents Preface .......................22 The Pay-TV Market................................1 1..........................1 The Concept of IPTV ...............85 4.........................................................................................85 4..........................2 Delivering IPTV .......................115 5........49 3....16 2 Market Drivers and Developing IPTV Infrastructure ............................................................................................... and Video ..2 Digital Television .................................................1 1....................................3 The Potential Impact of IPTV................3 2....................................................................2 2.............. 116 5...........................................................................

..................... IPTV ...........................................................................1 Set-Top Boxes ................................................................................................................................ 143 6...........153 7..................3 Servers ............................... 165 Other Media Players ..............................................................1 Internet Television vs....................................................................................... 145 7 Software Solutions.................................3 Summary...................................................................................................................2 Internet Television ................... 154 Apple Computer’s QuickTime ..2 7............viii Contents 6 Hardware Components.........4 Microsoft’s Windows Media Player .......................................................................... 174 8 Internet Television ............................ 178 8..2 Media Center and Center Extenders ............ 173 Summary....................177 8....................................185 ..................... 135 6.................................. 177 8...................................... 184 Index ...................1 7............................................................................3 7............135 6..............................................................................................

that term merely references the protocol used to transport television and does not mean that content has to be delivered over the Internet. Because readers can reasonably be expected to have diverse backgrounds. operate our personal computers. represents an emerging technology that could change the manner by which we receive home entertainment. and the hardware and software that will make it a reality. I will also review several popular compression standards. obtain training. how it may reach the home or office. and other types of combined audio and video offerings. the use of which is integral to enabling the large number ix . music videos. Instead. but it can also represent a series of technologies that provide television services to screens ranging in size from cell phone displays and personal computer monitors to large plasma and LCD televisions mounted on walls in homes or hung from the ceilings in airports. and even use our cell phones. IPTV. how it will compete with traditional cable.Preface Just when we thought we had mastered modern communications-related acronyms. In this book the reader will obtain a solid understanding of IP television in the form of IPTV. a new one has appeared. overthe-air broadcast stations. That content can include conventional television shows. In my review of television concepts. The acronym is an abbreviation for television transmitted over an Internet Protocol (IP) network. and satellite television. which is the subject of this book. I review both television concepts and the TCP/IP protocol suite in separate chapters in this book. The text focuses on how IPTV operates. movies. Although the acronym IPTV represents the “Internet” as its first character pair. IPTV refers to the use of the Internet Protocol that is required to be used to deliver television content. That acronym.

the development of IPTV resulted in a number of industry alliances as well as individual companies focusing their efforts on this technology. but not least. Let me know if I dwelt too long on a particular topic or if I should add material on a particular topic. Last.com. Because I frequently travel. I will attempt to answer all persons within a week or two. I may not be able to immediately answer your letter or e-mail. Thus. or any other comments you may wish to share with me. Please feel free to write me either in care of my publisher. the concluding chapter of this book provides examples of the use of IPTV that will illustrate the potential of this evolving technology.x Preface of channels we can select for viewing when we subscribe to certain types of television services. Although this is an area that can be expected to undergo considerable change over the next few years. As an emerging technology. including the Internet. I truly value reader comments. or via e-mail to gil_held@yahoo. whose address is on the jacket of this book. As a professional author. we will examine the operation and utilization of hardware and software components required to view television content delivered over different types of IP networks. GA . this discussion will provide the reader with a firm understanding of companies that are working with the technology and how their efforts can alter the manner by which television content is delivered. Gilbert Held Macon. Because IPTV represents a series of technologies that can be used over any type of IP network. any examination of the technology would not be complete without also discussing industry players and alliances. however. This examination will include so-called “last mile” solutions that in actuality can represent the manner by which communications organizations connect homes and offices to their infrastructure either directly via fiber or via short spans of a few hundred to a few thousand feet of copper cable.

there is a literal army of men and women whose efforts are crucial in producing the book you are now reading. my penmanship leaves a lot to be desired and makes me truly grateful for the efforts of my wife. First and foremost. but also to type the index for each book.Acknowledgments A long time ago. every book idea will come to naught unless an author works with an editor who has the foresight and vision to back an effort focused on an emerging technology. as long as I have paper and pen I do not have to worry about whether or not I can use my computer on an airline or if my outlet converter will mate to the receptacle used in a hotel. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge their efforts. Regardless of where one travels. Although this method of manuscript generation may appear awkward in today’s era of electronic gadgets. Although this author has many laptop and notebook computers. The preparation of a manuscript is a long and lengthy pr ocess. xi . Beverly now uses Microsoft Word under Windows XP on both desktop and notebook computers to not only type this author’s manuscripts. I became aware of the many persons involved in the book production process. long ago he gave up modern technology for pen and paper. after I completed my first manuscript. soul mate. the differences in electrical outlets and airline policies do not have an effect on pen and paper. Of course. Beverly. I am indebted to Rich O’Hanley at CRC Press for supporting my writing efforts. and excellent typist. Once again. through the cover design process and binding effort. From the typing of an initial manuscript to the editing process and the production of galley pages. Commencing her effort on a 128kB Macintosh to type my first book almost 30 years ago.

Florida. Once again.xii Acknowledgments Once a manuscript reaches the publisher a number of behind-thescenes efforts occur. I would also like to thank the Taylor & Francis/Auerbach team in Boca Raton. I am indebted to Claire Miller for guiding the manuscript through the book production process. for their efforts in reviewing and editing my manuscript as well as for guiding the reviewed galley pages into the book you are reading. Concerning that process. .

a Macon. and even fourth editions of several books that were researched and written over a long period of time. After earning a BS in Electrical Engineering from Widener University. Although the number of books Gil has authored may appear to be quite high.About the Author Gilbert Held is an award-winning author and lecturer who specializes in the application of communications technology. In recognition of Gil’s writing talents. Presently Gil is the director of 4-Degree Consulting. third. he twice received the Karp Award for technical excellence in writing. that number includes second. xiii . Georgia-based organization that specializes in the application of communications technology. Gil has also received awards from the American Publishers Institute and Federal Week. Gil has authored approximately 100 books and 300 articles focused on communications technology and personal computing. Over the past 30 years. Gil earned an MSEE degree from New York University and the MSTM and MBA degrees from The American University.


1 The Concept of IPTV We can define IPTV as representing “digital video content. we will primarily focus on the delivery of television shows. Using the preceding information as a base. 1. This information will enable us to obtain an appreciation for how IPTV can be used as well as allow us to note the advantages and disadvantages associated with its use. that is delivered via the use of the Internet Protocol (IP). and cable television. we will examine the network elements common to different types of IPTV services to obtain an appreciation for the general manner by which video content can be delivered to consumers over both public and private IP-based networks. including television. including standard over-the-air. prior to doing so. let’s grab a soda and perhaps a few munchies and begin our exploration of IPTV. Because IPTV represents a series of technologies.Chapter 1 Introduction to IPTV The purpose of this introductory chapter is to acquaint the reader with the technology the book will focus on. we will conclude this chapter by examining the existing and potential utilization of IPTV. we will compare that definition to other television delivery methods. beginning with a definition of the technology. In concluding this chapter we will examine the potential impact of IPTV. However. So.” This definition of IPTV not only is very simple but also stresses that the Internet does not need to play a role in the delivery of television or any other 1 . Once that is accomplished. digital satellite. movies. and similar content via private IP-based networks.

and a variety of special events. including the Internet. or even Broadway musicals. Other examples of the use of IPTV on the Internet range from the downloading of music videos. Some examples. trademark owned by Cisco. and full feature movies to various types of special events. To obtain a better appreciation for the operation of IPTV over the Internet. full feature movies. the term IPTV does not restrict content to that provided by broadcast television nor does it imply that delivery of content has to occur over the Internet. let’s turn our attention to two major Internet-based video services. such as the launch of the Space Shuttle to the movement of the Mars lander when it made its first steps on the Red Planet. television shows. the company best known for its routers. such as the now famous Victoria’s Secret annual fashion show. rock concerts. IP can be used to deliver various types of content over both the Internet and private IP-based networks. Prior to discussing in more detail a few examples of the delivery of video content via IP-based networks. a few words are in order concerning the mnemonic “IPTV.S. As we will note both later in this chapter as well as in other chapters throughout this book. IPTV can operate over any IP-based network. Cisco uses IP/TV to reference a series of products developed to transport television content over the Internet or via private IP-based networks. registered U.” That mnemonic should not be confused with IP/TV. such as boxing matches. Thus. Instead. . As previously mentioned. Public IP-Based Network Utilization In this section we will turn our attention to the delivery of video content via the Internet. Some of those activities could include downloading a movie or music video via the Internet for viewing now or at a later date or subscribing to a television service that will be delivered to a homeowner via the installation of a private network that will provide the delivery of television content through the use of the IP. football games. IPTV refers to the use of the IP as a delivery mechanism that can use the Internet. Examples of IPTV content can range in scope from music videos to television shows. Because IPTV requires the use of the IP only as a delivery mechanism. This means that our brief definition of IPTV covers a wide range of both existing and potential activities.2 Understanding IPTV type of video content. which represents a public IP-based network. or IPTV can be used to deliver video content over a private IP-based network. represent the free broadcast of a video stream. which is an active. There are literally hundreds of examples of the use of this technology on the Internet. IPTV represents a broad term used to reference the delivery of a wide variety of video content using the IP as a mechanism for transporting content.

movielink. we will follow industry practice and use the term IPTV to refer to the delivery of all types of video content. MovieLink represents an online video-rental service that was founded by . Inc. we will now look at each organization in more detail. this explains why our definition of IPTV included the phrase “digital video content. CinemaNow announced in September 2005 that it would make its download service available on new portable video players from the French consumer electronics manufacturer Archos as well as bundle new players with two free downloads from the company. MovieLink A second major player in the IPTV market where delivery occurs over the Internet is MovieLink. Blockbuster. CinemaNow CinemaNow.” because IPTV can be used to deliver movies.cinemanow. two major Internet-based video services provide on-demand digital content to people operating personal computers via a broadband connection. and music videos from more than 200 licensors via downloading from its Web site (www.Introduction to IPTV 3 Currently. Concerning the latter. TV shows. and Microsoft. Currently. music concerts. Cisco Systems. Those Internet-based video services are operated by CinemaNow and MovieLink. users could download and select from approximately 550 feature-length titles and 200 music videos that are available for compatible portable video players or connect their video players to a television set for viewing. CinemaNow was founded in 1999 and is financially backed by several key companies. Under the agreement. Thus. whose Web address is www.com) or as streaming content. including Lions Gate Entertainment. Although both CinemaNow and MovieLink offer thousands of movies on an on-demand basis. and in general a wide range of videos that have in common the fact that delivery occurs via an IP network. including television. as of the time this book was prepared they were not providing the typical content associated with a television viewing audience. In the latter part of 2005 CinemaNow announced the availability of high-definition content and support for portable media devices. live events. including television. Although the term “IP video” is probably better suited for the delivery of all types of video via an IP network.com. represents one of two key players in the delivery of IPTV content to consumers over the Internet.. Because CinemaNow and MovieLink are representative of public IP-based content delivery. CinemaNow offers legal content from a library of more than 6500 movies. television programs.

the computer must run a version of Windows at or above Windows 98. MovieLink allows users to purchase an additional 24 hours of movie viewing and supports both RealPlayer and Windows Media formats. with 2 GB of free disk space.com/itunes) began offering the latest episodes of ABC and Disney television shows. In September 2005 MovieLink had a library of approximately 900 films. Although iPod downloading was in its infancy at the time this book was written. in 2005. or XP. The MoveLink Web site allows customers to search for movies by category. it takes approximately 80 minutes to download a movie. In this section we will examine . Users can also search for movies by actor. such as action. the new iPod.apple. The Web site also allows customers to select from a list of more than 2000 music videos. which can be purchased with either a 30-GB or a 60-GB disk. or Oscar films. Apple Computer’s iPod In concluding our brief examination of IPTV occurring over the public IP-based network. such as Windows 2000. including Lost and Desperate Housewives. its consumer-friendly ability to store and replay video makes it a market driver for the use of the Internet to download video onto PCs and then transfer the downloaded video content onto the new iPod. Although the iPod does not transmit video. the availability of thousands of video music and television shows should significantly increase the use of the Internet for various types of IPTV operations. or title. a program that controls the movie downloading process as well as its playback. a public-based IP network. for $1. Currently the MovieLink Web site is accessible only to U. director.99 per show. they have 24 hours to finish viewing it. drama. Featuring a 2. Once they begin viewing the film. According to the company. is capable of storing up to 150 hours of video. ME. and Warner Brothers.4 Understanding IPTV five major movie studios: MGM. at which point the film is automatically deleted. Apple Computer’s iTunes Web site (www.5-inch color display. a few words are in order concerning Apple Computer’s newest iPod that became available to the consumer during October 2005. In addition.S. Viewers pay from 99 cents to $4. Universal. residents who have a broadband connection with a minimum data rate of 128 kbps. Sony Pictures. Private IP-Based Network Utilization We have discussed a few IPTV-related applications that are occurring over the Internet. Paramount. In fact. Renting a movie requires that you first download and install the MovieLink Manager.99 per title to download a film and store it on their computer for up to 30 days.

Thus. who. prior to doing so. cable television providers have introduced Voice-over-IP (VoIP) on their cable networks. Rationale Conventional telephone companies are under a gun that is causing them to lose their customer base. conventional telephone companies are experiencing a significant loss in both customers and revenue that could be replaced by providing an IPTV service in competition with cable television and satellite television. sufficient bandwidth becomes available to provide television services in competition with cable television and satellite operators. When subscribers add high-speed Internet access and VoIP telephone service to their cable TV bill. Thus. Through the installation of fiber. said he did so because “that’s where the money is. In this section we will briefly discuss the plans of SBC Communications and Verizon concerning the delivery of video services over the fiber networks they are in the process of constructing. In comparison. and the addition of unlimited long distance typically increases the phone bill by another $20 per month. and data communications services to their customers. which operate large private IP-based networks. For example. either to the neighborhood or directly to the customer’s premises. when asked why he robbed banks.Introduction to IPTV 5 some examples of the use of private IP-based networks for the delivery of video content. telephone companies are entering the IPTV market because that’s where the money resides. so too has the number of homeowners and apartment renters who have disconnected their landlines. At the time this book was prepared both SBC Communications and Verizon. However. Over the past five years. A second reason for providing an IPTV service resembles the response of the famous criminal Willie Sutton. Projections indicate that by 2010 more than 10 million Americans will have either disconnected a second telephone line or dropped their primary landline altogether in favor of VoIP or wireless cell phone service or due to the use of both technologies. telephone companies that can develop .” Similarly. a few words are in order concerning the rationale for firms we think of as telephone companies entering the IPTV marketplace. basic cable TV video service costs more than $40 per month. video. which now have approximately two million subscribers. local telephone service typically costs the consumer between $30 and $40 per month. were in the process of installing several billion dollars’ worth of fiber communications in their service areas as a mechanism to provide voice. the bill approaches or exceeds $100 per month. As wireless phone usage has grown. with digital video adding approximately $20 per month to one’s cable TV bill.

set-top boxes. let’s turn our attention to the services being rolled out by SBC Communications and Verizon. video on demand. SBC Communications began testing an IP-based television service built on Microsoft’s TV IPTV Edition platform in June 2004.6 Understanding IPTV a competitive IPTV service can look forward to a potential revenue stream in addition to retaining a portion of their customer base that is migrating to cable television. using both fiber-to-the-neighborhood (FTTN) and fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP). and telephones. and both companies began field trials of IPTV during mid-2005. SBC Communications At the time this book was written. Because SBC Communications’ IPTV offering will occur via two-way broadband communications. digital video recording. Although the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved SBC Communications’ takeover of AT&T and Verizon Communications’ purchase of MCI on October 31. Thus. Under Project Lightspeed. SBC Communications had announced that it would adopt the AT&T name once its planned acquisition of that company was approved. The IP-based TV service is expected to include instant channel changing. and other features. SBC Communications had not renamed itself by the time this book was developed. VoIP. 2005. SBC Communications could configure its system to allow customers to enable the display of caller ID and instant messaging on their TV screens. such as PCs. According to SBC. it is able to transmit alerts and notifications to customers watching television beyond the simple setting of program notifications available from cable television and digital satellite. For both services . such as IP television. PDAs. the company expects to connect 18 million homes to its network by the end of 2007. and ultra-fast Internet access. For example. event notifications. this author will refer to the company by both its pre-merger name and its anticipated post-merger name. SBC’s Project Lightspeed represents the company’s initiative to deploy fiber closer to customer locations to enable provision of a variety of IP-based services. TVs. Now that we have an appreciation for the reasons why telephone companies are expanding into providing IPTV. The FTTN service will provide 20 to 25 Mbps of capacity to each customer whereas the FTTP service will enable up to 39 Mbps of capacity to the customer. multimedia interactive programming guides. SBC Communications announced its Project Lightspeed in early 2005 to take advantage of its collaboration with Microsoft. customers will be able to access all services over a single network connection as well as have the ability to share access to those services from any number of IP-enabled household devices. customizable channel lineups.

and California. for $39. now that we have a general appreciation for IPTV. whereas the 15-Mbps connection should provide the ability to simultaneously view three or four different programs on different television sets while another person in the home is surfing the Web. The third type of set-top box combines high definition with a digital video recorder and can be rented for $12. and a 5-Mbps connection costs $35 per month. Marketed under the name “Fios TV. and satellite television. During September 2005 Verizon began selling its IPTV service after commencing the construction of fiber connections to homes in half of the 29 states where it offers telephone service. we can compare its general capability to a trio of competitive television delivery services — over-the-air broadcast television. However. FiOS for the home provides a 15-Mbps connection for $45 per month. like SBC Communications. when we turn our attention to industry players and alliances. Verizon was expanding its service to several other cities in Texas as well as expanded its offerings to cities in Florida. Verizon expanded its offerings to 1800 video-on-demand titles by the end of 2005. Later in this book. Texas. Along with its FiOS service. the single SBC Communications customer connection will support VoIP and data services that will provide a 6-Mbps downstream and 1-Mbps upstream capability.95 per month. We will discuss Verizon’s offerings in more detail later in this book. including more than 20 in high definition.Introduction to IPTV 7 IPTV will allow up to four high-quality TV str eams. whereas an HDTV set-top box is rented for $9. cable television.95 per month. a city 30 miles west of Dallas. including highdefinition TV (HDTV). a 30-Mbps connection is available at a preliminary cost of $200 per month. Although video compression can significantly reduce bandwidth requirements. represents a large former Regional Bell Operating Company (RBOC) that has significantly grown in both service area and offerings since its divesture by AT&T during the l980s. The speed of the connection governs the number of multiple TV services (different programs) that can be viewed at the same time. Verizon’s FiOS service was first launched in Keller. Verizon Verizon.” the service offered customers more than 180 digital video and music channels. For customers with deep pockets. Verizon offers three set-top boxes.95 per month. we will discuss SBC Communications’ Lightspeed offering in additional detail. Virginia. A standard-definition set-top box can be rented for $3.95 per month. a 5-Mbps connection may enable the viewing of only a single channel while using the Internet. In addition. In addition to IPTV. .


Understanding IPTV

Comparison to Other TV Delivery Methods
We can subdivide our comparison into two areas: financial and technical. Thus, we will compare and contrast IPTV delivered over a private IP-based network to over-the-air broadcast television, cable television, and satellite television by briefly examining the financial and technical aspects of each. Of course, later in this book we will probe much deeper into the technical aspects of television in general and, specifically, the manner by which IPTV is delivered to customers.

From a broad financial perspective, IPTV delivered over a private IP-based network represents a subscription service that requires customers to pay a monthly fee for service plus the monthly cost for one or more set-top boxes. Although over-the-air broadcast television is a free service to consumers, it is paid for by advertising revenue. In addition, unless a consumer is located in a large metropolitan area, the number of over-the-air broadcast stations that may be viewable through the use of built-in television or rooftop antennas is usually very limited. This explains why a high percentage of homeowners subscribe to cable television and satellite television services. That is, such services provide access to hundreds of television channels. IPTV is best compared and financially equivalent to cable television and satellite television. Concerning cable television services, although most cable operators offer a basic package of analog stations without requiring the homeowner to rent a set-top box, such boxes are necessary to subscribe to digital and premium services. If a homeowner subscribes to satellite television, because all offerings are in digital format, a set-top box or decoder is required for each television. Table 1.1 provides a general financial comparison between IPTV delivered via a private IP-based network and the troika of existing television delivery methods.

Table 1.1 Financial Comparison of IPTV to Existing TV Delivery Methods
Financial Feature IPTV Over-the-Air Broadcast TV Cable TV Satellite TV

Monthly subscription fee Set-top box fee Digital channel fee

Yes Yes No

No N/A No*

Yes Yes Yes

Yes Yes No

* Existing over-the-air analog broadcasting is scheduled to terminate within two years, to be replaced by digital broadcasting. Analog television sets will then require a converter box to receive over-the-air digital broadcast signals.

Introduction to IPTV


From a technical perspective, over-the-air broadcast television stations, cable television operators, and satellite television providers operate similarly, broadcasting television channels at predefined frequencies, which enables subscribers to tune their television sets or set-top boxes to the channel they wish to view. Figure 1.1 illustrates an example of the manner by which a subscriber would view a channel when subscribing to a cable television or satellite service. In this example, note that both cable television and satellite operators simultaneously broadcast all of their channel offerings over a range of frequencies. Customers control a tuner built into their television or set-top box directly by pressing up and down buttons on the TV or set-top box or they use a remote control unit that turns the tuner on the TV or set-top box to a different frequency range when they change the channel. Because analog television channels require approximately 6 MHz of bandwidth, when you use the remote control to switch from channel 2 to channel 3, in effect your timer is switched to display a different 6 MHz of bandwidth on the coaxial cable that provides cable television service to your home. If you subscribe to a satellite television service, switching from channel 2 to channel 3 also switches the bandwidth. However, satellite operators provide an all-digital service in which data compression reduces the bandwidth of each channel, which reduces the frequency that is switched. Although both cable television and satellite operate very similarly with respect to the use of a tuner to select the fr equency for a particular channel, IPTV is a completely different technology with respect to the delivery of video content. IPTV can be considered to represent a softwarebased “pull–push” technology. Here the term “pull” represents the subscriber transmitting via an IP a request for a particular TV channel, movie, video musical, or similar product. The request is received by the IPTV provider, which pushes the video stream from a server to the requestor using the IP address of the requestor as the destination address. Note that because a single video stream flows in response to a request, this

Figure 1.1 Viewing a cable television or satellite television channel.


Understanding IPTV

minimizes the bandwidth required for the delivery of a television channel. Whereas cable television and satellite operators broadcast a large selection of channels at the same time, which requires the use of a tuner to select a desired channel, IPTV can be considered to represent an on-demand service, although as we will note later in this book, some types of video may be transmitted as broadcast streams to selected locations within an IPTV network. Thus, in most cases the 600+-MHz bandwidth required by cable television and satellite operators can be significantly reduced by an IPTV provider. In fact, according to SBC Communications and Verizon, a typical home with a 15- to 20-Mbps data channel connection to the network can receive between three and four simultaneous television channels via IPTV as well as obtain a VoIP capability and a high-speed Internet connection. Although the amount of bandwidth required to provide an IPTV capability is significantly less than the bandwidth provided by cable television and satellite operators, it is still more than that available from many types of Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) facilities provided by RBOCs. This explains why SBC Communications and Verizon are currently installing extensive fiber-optic-based networks as a mechanism to provide IPTV-based subscription services. The higher bandwidth of fiber-optic cable routed either to the neighborhood or to the customer premises enables each subscriber to obtain sufficient bandwidth to view three or four different television channels while receiving a VoIP capability and a high-speed Internet connection.

Potential IPTV Features
Because IPTV represents an all-digital service that can have its video presentation scaled to different types of monitors, it has the ability to provide features beyond the capability of other television distribution mechanisms. For example, IPTV set-top boxes via software could enable the simultaneous placement of four pictures on the screen that represent four customer channel requests. In addition, incoming telephone Short Message Service (SMS) messages, e-mail, and caller ID could be displayed on a customer’s television at a predefined location. Combine this with the ability to enable customers to select the viewing of video rentals and a virtually unlimited number of high-definition content and IPTV could represent a quantum leap over existing television delivered via over-the-air broadcast stations and cable and satellite operators. This probably explains why many forecasting organizations predict that by 2008 as many as 20 million homes will subscribe to an IPTV service. If we use a fee of $50 per month for the IPTV service, to include one set-top box, the revenue stream from this emerging service could be approximately $12 billion per year in a few years. Thus, any way one examines the potential of IPTV, it is hard

Introduction to IPTV


not to note that it provides the potential to enable the RBOCs to negate the revenue loss associated with what until recently represented their core revenue market, the home telephone. Otherwise, without IPTV, it is possible that the telephone companies we grew up with could go the way of the companies that delivered ice blocks to homes prior to the development of the refrigerator. Now that we have an appreciation for the lower bandwidth requirements of IPTV in comparison to the conventional manner by which we view television, let’s turn our attention to some of the applications that can be supported by this relatively new technology.

1.2 Applications
Although there are many “flavors” of IPTV, we can view the technology as a mechanism for delivering high-quality digital video content over public and private IP-based networks. Because IP-based networks have a bidirectional communications capability, developers can create IPTV technology that enables customers to select what they want to watch as well as when they want to watch it. With the preceding in mind, let’s turn our attention to a few of the potential applications that IPTV can support.

Homeowner Entertainment
First and foremost, IPTV represents a technology that will enable telephone companies to compete with standard over-the-air television, cable television, and satellite operators for the entertainment budget of homeowners. Although homeowner entertainment is expected to represent the largest application of IPTV in terms of both subscribers and revenue, it is just one of a series of applications that can be supported by the technology. Table 1.2 lists eight IPTV applications, including the general category of

Table 1.2 Potential IPTV Applications
Homeowner entertainment Digital television On-demand video Business TV to the desktop Distance learning Corporate communications Mobile phone television Video chat


Understanding IPTV

homeowner entertainment, that can be expected to achieve significant growth over the next few years. In the remainder of this section we will briefly describe and discuss each of the other seven applications.

Digital Television
As previously discussed in this chapter, IPTV can be considered to represent a pull–push technology whereby a subscriber makes a request to a service provider for a particular video stream. Because digitized television is both a very popular entertainment provider as well as very suitable for being compressed and carried via IPTV, it represents the primary application for the technology. In addition, because a service provider may have to transmit only what is requested, unlike cable and satellite, IPTV could theoretically provide an unlimited number of viewing channels, which would enable the service provider to offer a more diverse content than conventional competitors that simultaneously broadcast every channel regardless of whether anyone is watching them. Thus, the architectural difference between IPTV and broadcast television enables the former to offer a more diverse content, assuming the service provider can acquire significant content to match subscriber requirements.

On-Demand Video
Although subscribers to cable and satellite television have been able for many years to obtain pay-per-view movies and sporting events, that capability pales in comparison to on-demand video that can be provided through IPTV technology. The key reason why IPTV on-demand video can be considered far superior to pay-per-view resides in the fact that the former can provide virtually unlimited program content whereas the latter is restricted to a handful of broadcast channels. One recent example of IPTV on-demand video is the Apple Computer iTunes Music Store, which in October 2005 began selling episodes of the hit television series Lost for $1.99 the day after the show aired on broadcast television. In a deal with Walt Disney Co., the parent of ABC Television, Apple also offers past and current episodes of Desperate Housewives, Night Stalker, and That’s So Raven to its customers. By the end of October 2005, Apple Computer Company was offering more than two million songs, 20,000 podcasts, 2000 music videos, and a variety of ABC and Disney television series that customers could download to their Mac or PC and then synchronize the content onto their iPod. Apple’s newest iPod, released in October 2005, could be obtained with either a 30-GB

Introduction to IPTV


or 60-GB disk and a 2.5-inch 320 × 240 pixel Thin Film Transistor (TFT) display, enabling customers to store up to 25,000 photos, 15,000 songs, and up to 150 hours of video.

Business TV to Desktop
Although the primary market for IPTV is the individual consumer and household, the technology is also well suited for business applications. One such application is streaming business television to the desktop. In a business environment, each LAN workstation can be assigned a distinct IP address. Doing so makes it possible for different video streams to be directed to different employees. For example, some employees might require instant access to CNBC whereas other employees could require access to Bloomberg, Reuters, or another finance-oriented program. Because IPTV can be scaled on a screen, it also becomes possible for employees to view the requested business channel or channels while performing other computer operations using a different portion of their PC screen.

Distance Learning
In an academic environment it is possible to be in two places at the same time through the power of distance learning facilities. In fact, this author has used distant learning to teach a data communications course in Macon, Georgia, that was simultaneously broadcast onto video monitors located in Millegeville, Georgia, the home of Georgia College & State University, and the learning center at Robbins Air Force Base. Although distance learning can be accomplished through the use of conventional teleconferencing equipment, when performed through the use of IPTV the efficiency associated with reaching students at distant locations can significantly increase. This is because conventional distance learning that is based on the use of teleconferencing equipment results in a central monitor at distant locations. Not only do all students have to focus their attention on a single monitor, but in addition, a microphone has to be passed around by a proctor at each distant location to the students who wish to talk to the instructor giving the lecture. In comparison, the use of IPTV can significantly improve distance learning because the image of the distant instructor can be directed onto the PC monitor of each student workstation while a microphone connected to each computer enables students to converse with the instructor without having to wait for a microphone to be passed through the classroom.


Understanding IPTV

Another significant advantage of IPTV within a distance learning environment is the fact that, similar to the previous discussion about business TV to the desktop, it can be scaled on a PC screen. This would allow distance learning courses on programming and other topics to have students both view and hear the instructor while they perform different exercises. Because software can be developed to enable an instructor to view student activities, it’s possible for a student’s work to be viewed by the instructor. Similarly, with appropriate programming, the instructor could display the efforts of one student on a designated portion of each student’s PC screen, which would significantly enhance instructor–student interaction.

Corporate Communications
In most organizations, the president or a corporate officer often needs to address employees. In a conventional environment this requirement is commonly satisfied by scheduling the use of one or several auditorium sessions during which the corporate officer explains the reason why earnings went up or down, the effect of a new product line, changes to the employee benefit plan, or another subject that needs to be disseminated to a broad range of employees. The conventional use of an auditorium to announce a new policy or shed light on a recent event can require a significant amount of time and effort. If the auditorium was previously scheduled for another event, then the logistics of moving that event to a different time and venue could be considerable. In addition, there can be a considerable loss of employee productivity because the use of an auditorium requires time for employees to arrive and depart from the site as well as time for employees to move through the facility to a seat. In comparison, the use of IPTV can result in corporate communications being only a mouse-click away from any employee. That is, a corporate officer can tape a message that becomes available for downloading via IPTV. Employees could then be alerted to the availability of the newly created video via an e-mail containing a URL to click. Then, employees could view the video at their leisure, with no need to stop what they are working on to visit the auditorium or a conference room. Thus, the use of IPTV for corporate communications can significantly enhance employee productivity.

Mobile Phone Television
Currently, mobile phone television is being developed to allow reception of broadcast television. This means that the first generation of mobile

Through the use of IPTV it becomes possible to develop a video chat facility. This capability will enable mobile phone users to obtain access to significantly increased content. each person could mount a camera with a built-in microphone on their monitor that would transmit audio and video to the video chat room operator. it becomes possible for users to download video content into their phone. ranging in scope from American Idol and current events to science and education. which allows certain other people to communicate with that person via text messages. especially when the chat facility requires individuals to provide identification prior to being able to access the facility. As this action occurs. Once a person joins a chat room they can observe the identifiers of the other members currently in the room as well as what they are saying in the form of typed text. Then. a user’s screen could be subdivided to display a number of chat room participants. hotels. the need to type responses significantly delays the interaction between people. Through applicable software. motels. Although chat rooms are a popular mechanism for exchanging ideas and political views. and other locations where mobile phone operators can connect to the Internet. a person creates a “buddy” or “friends” list. through the inclusion of either a secure digital card slot or a miniature disk drive.Introduction to IPTV 15 phones with a television viewing capability will be limited to viewing over-the-air broadcast television offerings. Video Chat One of the more popular features associated with the use of the Internet is chat rooms. Using a messenger program. allowing each user to scroll through the screen to view other members of the chat room as well as to click on the image of a person to display that person’s image on the full screen. In addition. this is not always true. Similar to current chat programs. Thus. messenger . they could view the content at their leisure. Chat rooms are used primarily to discuss a variety of topics. WiFi. A variation of video chat can be expected to result in a change in the commonly used “messenger” programs offered by Yahoo and other Web portals. and other communications capabilities to the product. As mobile phones with television viewing capability evolve. Although people usually enter a chat room anonymously. similar to the manner by which users of the relatively new Apple Computer video iPod can view video. commonly hosted by different Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Web portals. mobile phones can be expected to be used in hot zones at airports. users with that type of phone will be limited with respect to the content they can watch. we can reasonably expect the addition of higher capacity secure digital cards. Starbucks. perhaps miniature disk drives.

if a consumer is using IPTV simply to download a movie or music video via the public Internet. Network Elements An IPTV system can be considered to represent four major elements that are both generic and common to any system provider’s infrastructure.16 Understanding IPTV programs depend on the skill of the people typing queries and responses and could be significantly enhanced through the use of a video capability. 1. and the home or residence network. Those elements include a video headend. a service provider’s access network. the video headend could represent one company and the service Figure 1. Each of the applications mentioned has significant advantages when performed through the use of IPTV instead of conventional video services. a service provider’s IP network. In examining the relationship of the four key IPTV network elements shown in Figure 1.2 illustrates the relationship of the IPTV network elements and the data flow from the content provider to the consumer. the use of IPTV technology can be expected to be driven by the advantages it provides in convenience and worker productivity.2.2 Key IPTV network elements. Thus. For example. Summary In this section we briefly looked at eight existing and emerging applications that could occur via IPTV. it is important to note that the network elements can be provided by more than a single vendor.3 The Potential Impact of IPTV In this introductory chapter we briefly examined the concept behind IPTV and a few of its existing and potential applications. . Figure 1. In concluding this chapter we will focus attention on the network elements required to provide an IPTV system that can compete with cable and satellite providers and the impact the technology can be expected to have on both the consumer and the industry.

Later in this book we will examine several MPEG standards in some detail. is encapsulated into an IP data stream and transmitted to a specific IP destination address in response to a customer request for a particular channel. let’s focus our attention on each of the elements and their function. a series of TV channels in the form of data streams is simultaneously broadcast over each link of a network. such as HBO and Showtime. Customers on each network branch then join a multicast group. so it can flow onto the branch. MPEG is a mnemonic for Motion Picture Experts Group. Then. That is. it is quite possible that that company would provide an end-to-end service. an organization that develops standards for compressing still and moving images and audio. the IP network video headend could be connected to satellite receivers to receive broadcast television and premium television. if the consumer were accessing a movie or TV show via a private IP network. which enables multiple customers to view a single data stream that flows . Each data stream is copied only when there is a network branch. which can be thought of as representing a conventional TV channel. which minimizes the amount of data that flows over the network. the video headend. After encoding. each data stream. In fact. service provider IP network. popular IPTV channels are more than likely transmitted as IP multicast data streams. such as MPEG-2 or MPEG-4. and service provider access network would be provided by a single company. Now that we have an appreciation for how different organizations can provide different elements of an IPTV system. In comparison.Introduction to IPTV 17 provider’s IP network could consist of a series of IP networks interconnected at a peering point to form the Internet backbone. The Video Headend The video headend represents the point within a network where content is captured and formatted for distribution over the IP network. and the home network could consist of a router and wireless LAN products obtained from one or more manufacturers. including any required home networking equipment. with a single copy of each data stream flowing over the network. With multicast transmission. which are broadcast via satellite. The video headend for an IP network is similar to the headends used by cable television and digital satellite systems. which is technically referred to as unicast transmission. The headend takes each data stream and encodes it into a digital video format. Other programming could be received via a terrestrial fiber-based connection or occur via the use of DVD or hard disk servers to provide a content-on-demand service. the service provider’s access network could represent an ISP. As an alternative to the transmission of TV channels to individual destinations.

. over a majority of the IP network. For example. multicast addressing can be viewed as falling between the two. a service provider can transmit one IP data stream per broadcast channel from the video headend through the IP network onto the service provider’s access network. and broadcast transmission. broadcast. Multicast transmission can significantly reduce the flow of data over the network. the IPTV operator could transmit the match as a multicast broadcast. With unicast addressing data is sent to a specific destination. a specially requested movie could be transmitted directly to a single subscriber via unicast transmission. The TV guide that flows to each subscriber could be a broadcast transmission. Then. The Service Provider Network The service provider network can be considered as a delivery system that enables data to flow from the core of the network that is connected to the video headend to the network edge. multicast.18 Understanding IPTV Figure 1. Thus. which minimizes transmission on the backbone as well as represents a TV channel under an IPTV service. Using multicast transmission. Instead of having separate data streams of the match sent to each individual subscriber. requiring stations to become a member of a multicast group in order to view an IPTV multicast transmission. and multicast. Figure 1.3 compares three popular methods of IP addressing: unicast. the channel lineup flows in the form of encoded video streams. consider a heavyweight boxing match that tens of thousands of people may wish to view. Over the service provider network.3 Comparing addressing methods. Those flows can consist of data transmitted as unicast. whereas with broadcast addressing data is read by every station. tens of thousands of subscribers could tune into the match by joining the multicast group that carries the match. In comparison.

are the primary developers of IPTV networks used to transport television content along with movies and other types of video content. Currently. The Access Network The access network provides connectivity from the customer’s premises to the backbone network operated by the service provider. The Home Network The last major network element in an IPTV environment is the home network. Those offerings include several versions of Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Lines (ADSL). the method used for the transport facility on the access network corresponds to the offering of RBOCs. and interactivity. The home network is responsible for distributing IPTV services throughout the home. VoIP. such as passive optical networking (PON). let’s focus our attention on the potential impact of this evolving television service.Introduction to IPTV 19 whereas the popular channel lineup could flow to all subscribers via multicast transmission. the home network is in an evolutionary stage of development. Impact of IPTV The impact of IPTV on the delivery of video can be expected to be most pronounced in three areas. Because telephone companies. The endpoints in the home network are telephones. Wireless Ethernet can provide data rates up to approximately 100 Mbps. and the HomePlug AV specification enables data rates up to 200 Mbps to be transmitted over the electrical wiring in a home or office. and the set-top boxes that are required for each television. Those areas are content. and different types of fiber-optic technology. the access network is commonly referred to as the “last mile” connection. the home computer or computers. such as SBC Communications (AT&T) and Verizon. Now that we have an appreciation for the major network elements associated with an IPTV service. convergence. and high-speed Internet access to be provided over a common connection to the service provider’s network. . with a transition occurring from wired Ethernet to wireless Ethernet and HomePlug audio-visual (AV) equipment. the service provider will use the access network to the subscriber’s premises to provide a single high-bandwidth connection. That connection will enable multiple television channels. In telephone terminology. very-high-bitrate Digital Subscriber Lines (VDSL). In an IPTV environment.

. Interactivity Interactivity represents the third major impact that IPTV can be expected to have on the existing industry method of delivering television. This means that the ability to promote the advantage of IPTV will require the service provider to negotiate agreements with broadcast television and movie studios to offer an expanded content above and beyond that available from conventional television delivery entities. videos. may eventually occur over the common access line. or other device to select viewing content. game console. the bidirectional capability of IP networks can be expected to result in the development of applications that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to perform with conventional television delivery systems.20 Understanding IPTV Content As previously explained in this chapter. Thus. it becomes possible to provide customers with the ability to receive video content access the Internet and use VoIP via a common connection to the service provider’s network. An IP network provides a bidirectional transmission facility. other applications. or perform other functions that currently represent items on a drawing board rather than reality. and other types of content that will be delivered on demand. computer keyboard. Convergence Through the installation of a high-speed access line. in effect promoting the convergence of applications onto a common transport facility. such as cable television and satellite television operators. In addition. Thus. the use of an IP network can be expected to facilitate many applications to occur over a single service delivery network. we can reasonably expect available content to be several orders of magnitude beyond what conventional television now provides. IPTV enables the consumer not only to select television channels but also to choose from a virtually unlimited number of movies. initiate a video chat session. This makes it possible to use a television remote control. Assuming IPTV service providers are successful. answer a telephone call through the speakers of a television. that provide only a handful of on-demand programming. such as meter reading.

we will also examine several additional drivers. Those drivers include the pay-TV market. and competition. In this chapter we will probe that reasoning a bit further as well as expand on our examination of market drivers for different types of IPTV applications. data. Concerning the latter. which introduced the different applications associated with IPTV technology. and video services.Chapter 2 Market Drivers and Developing IPTV Infrastructure In Chapter 1. the home of the future will make use of a Voice-over-IP (VoIP) service. In addition. we briefly examined the rationale for telephone companies beginning to offer television-type services to their customers. we will describe and discuss several new technologies and marketing techniques of competitive companies that serve as market drivers for different types of IPTV services. the evolution of broadband and video compression technologies. the convergence of voice. In doing so we will examine the requirements of what this author considers to represent the home of the future. where voice 21 . As we describe and discuss different market drivers. Commencing our effort by revisiting problems that are eroding telephone company core wireline voice communications services. we will also examine the IPTV infrastructure being developed or used to provide different types of IPTV services. which will have two standarddefinition televisions (SDTVs) and two high-definition televisions (HDTVs) as well as a high-data-rate Internet connection.

For other consumers. call forwarding. or more accurately the Regional Bell Operating Company (RBOC). Revenue Retention Measures Although the traditional telephone company landline business is under attack by wireless cell phone and cable television companies. In this section we will review those reasons as well as focus our attention on revenue retention measures telephone companies are conducting in the form of using technology to both minimize their revenue loss as well as enter the IPTV market.22 Understanding IPTV conversations are digitized at a data rate significantly below the 64-kbps data rate used by conventional telephone services.1 Telephone Company Landline Erosion In Chapter 1 we discussed several reasons why the telephone landline business is contracting. In fact. but the addition of call waiting. began offering telephone service to its customers at rates as low as $14. the ability to obtain telephone service via VoIP offerings from their cable television operator allows them to obtain their required communications services from a vendor other than their local telephone provider. This in turn has resulted in consumers abandoning their second telephone line and. Overview The telephone company. With more than a million telephone customers. Cox Communications. Cox Communications has significantly eroded the customer base of RBOCs where it provides cable service.70 per month for basic telephone service. Georgia. 2. Some RBOCs. and unlimited long distance within the United States increased the monthly cost to approximately $45. such as Bell South and AT&T (formerly known as SBC Communications until SBC acquired AT&T). Competition from wireless cell phones and cable television Internet offerings has significantly reduced the use of dial-up Internet access. their primary landline because wireless cell phones and Internet access via cable television operators can be used to satisfy their data and voice communications requirements. beginning in January 2006. in some cases. which is the local cable television operator in Macon. . faces a series of competitive technologies that are eroding their “bread and butter” in the form of revenues they receive from landlines or wired telephone service. the RBOCs are not standing still nor are they letting the attack on their revenue stream occur without countermeasures.

Under that standard.1 standard. Because most homes have multiple televisions.1 illustrates the subdivision of the twisted wire telephone line by frequency to accommodate the transmission and reception of data . ADSL The original ADSL standard was referred to as G.5 Mbps at distances of approximately 18. reaching approximately 1. This is because one HDTV show or movie when compressed requires between 8 and 10 Mbps.dmt by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and designated as the G. the maximum achievable data rate significantly decreases. As the distance between the serving telephone company office and the customer’s premises increases. In actuality.000 feet in length. cell phone. Bell South was also offering potential customers up to $150 cash back if they signed up for two or more services. Use of Fiber When FTTN is employed to route fiber into a neighborhood. telephone companies using FTTN in their rollout of IPTV are using ADSL2+ to provide an enhanced capability into customer premises. conventional ADSL service does not provide a sufficient data transmission rate at long distances to transport IPTV. are installing fiber-to-the-neighborhood (FTTN) or fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) as the backbone infrastructure necessary to offer IPTV to their customers as well as provide a mechanism to take subscribers from cable television and satellite television operators. which exceeds the capacity of ADSL at distances commonly encountered between a fiber hub and a subscriber’s premises. and television delivered via satellite. ADSL enables a maximum data rate of approximately 8 Mbps over twisted copper wire less than 14. such as Verizon and AT&T. customers who need to simultaneously view two or more HDTV channels or a single HDTV channel and an SDTV channel cannot obtain the necessary bandwidth through the use of ADSL. Figure 2. To sweeten the pot. operations at data rates up to 8 Mbps downstream to the subscriber and up to 768 kbps upstream to the telephone company are supported at distances up to 18. Thus.Market Drivers and Developing IPTV Infrastructure 23 entered into agreements with satellite television operators and their cell phone affiliates to offer bundled discounts for telephone.000 feet. Other RBOCs.000 feet.992. Unfortunately. although it enables high-speed Internet access. the RBOC uses copper-based Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Lines (ADSL) or veryhigh-bit-rate Digital Subscriber Lines (VDSL) to cover the “last mile” from the termination of the neighborhood fiber into the subscriber’s premises.

Under QAM. Data bits are modulated using QAM on each subchannel. CAP was the de facto standard for ADSL use until the mid-1990s. Modulation There are three modulation methods used by ADSL for encoding data onto the local loop: carrierless amplitude and phase (CAP). the downstream frequency band is significantly larger than the upstream frequency band. Also note that because the data rate is proportional to bandwidth.lite standard.24 Understanding IPTV Figure 2. under ADSL concurrent with voice communications.1 ADSL frequency utilization. it does not require in-phase and quadrature components of the carrier to first be generated. when DMT usage increased. a double-sideband suppressed carrier signal is constructed from two multilevel pulse amplitude modulated (PAM) signals applied in phase quadrature to one another. and now represents the preferred modulation method. with up to 15 bits per subchannel being encoded when transmission occurs over a good quantity line. CAP modulation can be considered to represent a nonstandard version of quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM). Note that the voice channel of approximately 4 kHz is not affected by the data channels because the latter uses blocks of frequencies well beyond the 0 to 4 kHz of frequency used for voice. however. Under DMT the upstream and downstream bands are subdivided into a sequence of smaller frequency ranges of approximately 4 kHz that are referred to as subchannels. Because DMT enables the transmission bandwidth to be divided into a sequence of subchannels that may or may not be used depending on the quality of the line. discr ete multitone (DMT). and a simplified DMT technology used by equipment adhering to the G. CAP results in the same form of signal as QAM. this .

bis do not have the capacity to transport multiple video channels. Fortunately. This framing reduction is accomplished by providing a frame with a programmable number of overhead bits.4 represents the splitterless version of the more modern standard. referred to as G. a reduction in framing overhead.dmt.lite and G. most modern ADSL modems support CAP and several versions of DMT. This modulation method enables the achievement of higher data rates for extended distances when the signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio is low.992. Framing Overhead Reduction A second feature of ADSL2 that facilitates a data rate and transmission distance improvement is a reduction of framing overhead.lite.4 standard.992. In comparison. respectively.lite was approved by the ITU as the G.3 and G. G.bis was approved as the G.lite.Market Drivers and Developing IPTV Infrastructure 25 modulation technique allows the distinct characteristics of each line to have a maximum transmission rate. G.992. Both ADSL2 standards were approved by the ITU in 2002 and supersede previously developed ADSL standards. G.2 standard and a revision to the standard referred to as G. RBOCs will have to upgrade customers using that technology as well as many ADSL lines if they want their subscribers to participate in the rollout of IPTV services.3 represents ADSL2 for full-rate ADSL.bis and G. the original versions of ADSL . higher coding gain.992. Because G. This improvement is accomplished by an enhanced modulation efficiency. were standardized by the ITU as G.bis.lite. Concerning the latter.992. 16-state trellis-coded and 1-bit QAM constellation is employed.4. Both the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the ITU have specified DMT as the standard modulation method for full-rate ADSL and a modified version of DMT for G.lite.992.lite provides a maximum transmission rate of approximately 4 Mbps downstream and 512 kbps upstream. which may facilitate the upgrading of customers. ADSL2 was developed to improve the data transmission rate and transmission range of ADSL. whereas G. Enhanced Modulation Under ADSL2 a four-dimensional. ADSL2 The two versions of the ADSL2 standard. and the use of enhanced signal processing algorithms.

which represents a block-based method of error correction. This means that a Reed–Solomon encoder takes k data symbols of s bits each and adds parity symbols to make an n-symbol codeword. A Reed–Solomon decoder can correct up to t symbols that contain the errors in a codeword. of which 223 represent data and 32 bytes represent redundant parity bits. where 2t = n – k. Because ADSL2 enables overhead bits to be programmed from 4 to 32 kbps. a Reed–Solomon decoder processes each block and attempts to correct errors and recover the original data in the block. Coding Gain ADSL2 specifies the use of Reed–Solomon coding for forward error correction. Codewords A Reed–Solomon codeword is specified as RS(n. extra or “redundant” bits are added to each block of digital data. a higher coding gain occurs from the use of Reed–Solomon coding due to improvements in the framing.26 Understanding IPTV used a fixed number of overhead bits per frame that consumed 32 kbps of transmission.k) with s-symbol bits. Under Reed–Solomon coding. up to 28 kbps of additional bandwidth can be used for payload data.2 illustrates a typical Reed–Solomon codeword. Figure 2. Here each codeword contains 255 bytes.2 A Reed–Solomon codeword. In this example the codeword is referred to as a systematic code because the data is left unchanged while parity symbols are added. there are n – k parity symbols of s bits each. One popular example of a Reed–Solomon code is RS(255. Thus. which in turn improves the flexibility and programmability in the construction of Reed–Solomon codewords.223) with 8-bit symbols. Under ADSL2. . Figure 2. At the receiver.

expressed in terms of 1-bit error in 10x bits transmitted.Market Drivers and Developing IPTV Infrastructure 27 For this code: n = 255. in effect. One of the key properties of Reed–Solomon codes is that they can be conceptually shortened by setting a number of data symbols to 0 at the encoder. Thus. For example.223) Reed–Solomon code can be shortened to (200.223) codeword. Thus. errors anywhere in the codeword that do not exceed 16 bytes in length. and then reinserting them at the decoder . the ratio of the probability of an error occurring if Reed–Solomon coding is not used to the probability of an error not detected when Reed–Solomon coding is used is referred to as the coding gain. From Shannon’s Law. add 55 zero bytes to create a (255. k = 223. The maximum codeword length (n) for a Reed–Solomon code is n = 2s − 1 where s represents a given symbol size. which increases the S/N ratio. In a Reed–Solomon coding environment. The second method that can be used to enhance the bit error . a (255. s = 8 2t = 32. the maximum length of a code with 8-bit symbols (s = 8) becomes: n = 28 – 1 or 255 bytes Key properties. First. t = 16 In this example the Reed–Solomon decoder can correct any 16 symbol errors in the codeword. skipping their transmission. the signal strength of the transmitter can be increased. the bit error rate of a communications system. where the capacity of a channel (C) in bits per second (bps) is proportional to the bandwidth (W) in hertz and S/N ratio. C = Wlog2 (1 + S/N) An increase in the S/N ratio will boost the capacity of the channel in bits per second. the 55 zero bytes would be added to the received data. can be enhanced in two ways. but transmit only the 168 data bytes and 32 parity bytes. At the decoder.168). Enhancing channel capacity. Her e the Reed–Solomon encoder would operate on blocks of 168 data bytes.

Other Improvements In addition to the previously mentioned improvements of enhanced modulation efficiency. on long lines where data rates are lower. and higher Reed–Solomon coding gain. which avoids channel nulls from bridged taps as well as narrow-band interference from AM radio and improvements in the determination of training signals.2 MHz under ADSL2+.3 illustrates ADSL2+ frequency utilization. Returning to our discussion of ADSL2. This increased gain occurs due to improvements in the ADSL2 frames that enhance the construction of Reed–Solomon codewords. reduced framing overhead. such systems can provide a 50-kbps increase in data rate and approximate 600-foot transmission extension in comparison to ADSL. ADSL2+ Whereas ADSL2 represents a small improvement over ADSL. ADSL2+ represents a significant improvement with respect to the transmission rate obtainable at distances of 5000 feet or less.28 Understanding IPTV rate is through the addition of Reed–Solomon coding or.1 MHz under ADSL and ADSL2 to 2. which reduces both near-end echo and cross-talk levels and the determination by the receiver of the DMT carriers used to transmit initialization messages. more specifically. As a result of the additional improvements and features added to ADSL2. Comparison to ADSL2 Previously we noted that under Shannon’s Law the data rate obtainable on a channel is proportional to available bandwidth and the signal-tonoise ratio on the channel. ADSL2 obtains higher coding gain fr om the use of Reed–Solomon coding. ADSL2 provides many additional improvements over ADSL that result in an increased data rate being obtained by ADSL2 systems. with the downstream frequency band extended from 1. its coding gain. Some of those additional improvements include power reduction capabilities at each end of the telephone line. Doubling the available bandwidth while . Figure 2. ADSL2+ approximately doubles the bandwidth used to transport data. Frequency Utilization To obtain a higher data transmission rate.

5 24. ADSL2+ includes an optional operational mode that can be used to double upstream bandwidth. However.5 12. Table 2.2 MHz.0 26.0 .5 11.5 6. holding the S/N ratio constant results in the obtainable data rate on the downstream channel of approximately double on the local loop at distances up to 3000 feet.1 provides an approximate comparison of the maximum obtainable data rate of ADSL2 and ADSL2+ with respect to the length of the local loop.5 12.5 7.5 12.5 6.0 9.000 3. because Web surfing and the use of IPTV results in relatively small upstream queries followed by larger delivery of downstream data.000 9.0 10.Market Drivers and Developing IPTV Infrastructure 29 Figure 2.000 7. with the increase in the downstream data rate of ADSL2+ decreasing as the length of the local loop incr eases.5 20.000 10.5 12.0 26.000 12.3 ADSL2+ frequency utilization.000 5.000 8.5 7.000 4.000 2. Table 2.5 12.0 25. this option may not be important for most ADSL2+ subscribers. In addition to increasing the downstream frequency band to 2.5 9.000 6.1 Comparing ADSL2 and ADSL2+ Maximum Data Rates (Mbps) Downstream Local Loop Distance (ft) ADSL2 ADSL2+ 1.0 15.

high-speed data (HSD) between 2 and 4 Mbps should be more than sufficient for Webbased activities.30 Understanding IPTV FTTN and ADSL In concluding our discussion of the different versions of ADSL.4. of which two are HD and two are SD. the use of two SDTVs would require between 2 and 4 Mbps. the future home with four televisions. Figure 2. would require between 18 and 24 Mbps of bandwidth. In examining Figure 2. and digitized voice into a typical home. of which two will be high definition. the total bandwidth required to support the home of the future can be expected to be between 20 and 28 Mbps. . which would result in a mass market for this type of flat-panel television. Figure 2. and digitized voice requires significantly less bandwidth than the 64 kbps required by a conventional landline telephone system. it is important to note that the price of both plasma and LCD TVs are rapidly dropping. Because compressed HDTV can currently be transported at a data rate between 8 and 10 Mbps. Similarly. Thus. we will examine why telephone companies will need to support ADSL2+ if they intend to provide IPTV services via FTTN. Thus. SDTV. assuming all four televisions were in use simultaneously.4 illustrates the approximate bandwidth capacity required to deliver HDTV. Although readers may question the number of HDTVs in a typical home of the future due to their current cost. note that the typical home of the future will probably have four televisions. the simultaneous transmission of two HDTV signals would require between 16 and 20 Mbps of bandwidth. In comparison. Within a few years the price of a 32-inch high-definition LCD TV may be under $400.4 IPTV bandwidth requirements.

multiplexers. and line drivers. In 1993 Deutsche Telekom began the installation of PON architecture on a massive scale in Eastern Germany. their use is practical only if the subscriber does not require the ability to view HDTV in real-time. and other devices that are active and process information. for FTTN to be successful. PON technology has rapidly increased in use and provides a reasonable-cost method for RBOCs to create the backbone infrastructure necessary to deploy FTTN or fiber-to-the-curb (FTTC). Such components operate by consuming power and normally consist of memory.Market Drivers and Developing IPTV Infrastructure 31 From Table 2. note that ADSL2+ can support a data rate at or above 20 Mbps at distances up to 5000 feet. Because ADSL and ADSL2 support lower data rates. the mean time between failures (MTBF) of a PON is . Through the replacement of active components by passive devices. Overview Today most telecommunications networks are constructed using active components. and in 1999 Bell South completed its beta testing of PON architecture to 400 homes in the Atlanta area. the service provider eliminates the need to power and service active components in the transmission loop. Such devices have neither power nor processing requirements. As a result.1. processors. such as routers. This in turn reduces the service provider’s cost of operations. Equipment The backbone of a PON is couplers and splitters that passively restrict or pass light. it wasn’t until 1987 that early field trials in the use of the technology occurred. the fiber terminal point within a neighborhood needs to be positioned such that the maximum local loop into a potential subscriber’s premises is less than or equal to 5000 feet. Passive Optical Network Although the passive optical network (PON) was invented at British Telecom laboratories in 1982. In comparison. all active components between a telephone company central office and the customer premises are eliminated when a PON is employed. In this section we turn our attention to PON to obtain an understanding of how the technology operates. Employment of a PON results in the installation of passive optical components that guide communications traffic based on splitting the power of optical wavelengths to endpoints along the route. Based on the success of numerous field trials around the globe. Thus.

turning our attention to Figure 2. or VDSL can be used to provide short-distance but high-speed transmission over existing copper into subscriber homes and offices. and a set of associated optical network terminations (ONTs) and optical network units (ONUs) are installed at locations where optical fiber terminates at the neighborhood (FTTN) or at a building (FTTB). Between the two fiber endpoints is the optical distribution network (ODN). where the light signal flows until it reaches an applicable ONU or ONT. The OLT then broadcasts traffic through one or more outbound ports. which further lowers the operating cost of this type of network. passive splitters. The OLT either generates light signals on its own or receives SONET (synchronous optical network) signals.32 Understanding IPTV virtually unlimited. note that the ONTs are shown when fiber is routed into a building (FTTB) whereas ONUs are employed when fiber is routed to a neighborhood (FTTN). whereas ONUs are used when fiber terminates outside the customer facility. As illustrated in Figure 2. from a colocated SONET crossconnect.5. ADSL2+. Thus. such as an OC-12.5 Using a passive optical network as a backbone linking ADSL2 connections. which consists of fiber. At the central office an optical line terminator (OLT) is installed. Figure 2. ONTs are used when the fiber extends into the customer premises. a single fiber can be split several times.5. and couplers.5 illustrates the potential use of a PON to interconnect a telephone company central office and subscriber premises by providing a backbone to neighborhoods where ADSL2. . which then converts the optical signal into an electrical signal. enabling fiber’s large data transmission capacity to be routed directly to National hub Regional hub Regional hub Local hub Local hub Local hub Local hub To subscribers Figure 2.

or 2. data is transmitted using a time division multiple access (TDMA) protocol. Because the time slots are synchronized.Market Drivers and Developing IPTV Infrastructure 33 buildings where multiple offices and apartments are located as well as into neighborhoods. For example. Thus. with each ONT processing the data destined to it by matching the address located in the protocol header. Table 2.25 Gbps. it is broadcast from the OLT to each ONT. Types of PONs Today communications carriers employ several types of PONs.5 Gbps. lowering the overall cost of deploying the optical network. In addition. a PON that delivers 622 Mbps downstream to users might provide a 155-Mbps upstream capacity. In a PON upstream direction. this ensures that transmissions from different ONTs do not collide. Operation The transmission of data between the central office and customer premises differs from the manner by which data flows from the customer premises to the central office. where dedicated transmission slots are assigned to each ONT. PON represents a strong complement to ADSL and VDSL that can be used within buildings or within a neighborhood. the PON backbone is shared among many customers. Due to the need to synchronize upstream transmissions. a version of ADSL or VDSL is used to enable high-speed communications over existing metallic wiring into the subscriber’s premises.2 lists four common types of PONs. At each terminal’s location by or in a building or neighborhood. The main fiber run on a PON can occur at 155 Mbps. the ability to use existing metallic wiring instead of providing individual fiber connections to subscribers further reduces the cost associated with establishing a PON. 622 Mbps. the use of different upper layer protocols results in the use of different physical layers. with the key difference among types being the upper layer pr otocols used. Because movies and Web surfing involve relatively small user upstream requests that are followed by large downstream transmissions. upstream transmission is a bit more complicated due to the shared media functionality of the ODN. This is because transmission of each ONT to the OL T needs to be coordinated to avoid the occurrence of collisions. In comparison. PONs normally represent an asymmetrical transmission method. when data is transmitted toward the customer premises. 1. Although in general the technology remains the same. . In the downstream direction. The end result is that the transmission rates obtainable on different types of PONs can vary considerably.

BPON The initial PON specification used ATM as its signaling protocol. which is referred to by the phrase “Ethernet in the first mile (EFM).2 Common Types of Passive Optical Networks ATM PON (APON) Broadband PON (BPON) Ethernet PON (EPON) Gigabit PON (GPON) APON An ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode)-based PON operates similarly to an ATM network. which represents a new function defined within the MAC sublayer.34 Understanding IPTV Table 2. EPON Ethernet-based PONs (EPONs) evolved from the set of extensions developed by the IEEE for its 802. . resulting in the term APON being used to reference this type of network.x series of standards. A number of VCs are bundled into a virtual path (VP) for faster switching through the carrier’s network.” The extensions to Ethernet’s physical layers included optical fi ber and unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) copper cable used for point-to-point connections. That is.3 Media Access Control (MAC) and MAC sublayers with a family of physical (PHY) layers. such as an Internet service provider’s premises. Data rates up to 620 Mbps symmetrical and 1240/622 asymmetrical have been standardized by the ITU in the G983. These extensions were developed to enable the use of Ethernet for subscriber access networks. resulting in EFM providing support for EPONs in which a pointto-multipoint network topology is implemented through the use of passive optical splitters and couplers. and Gigabit Ethernet. This name can reference the use of ATM. Ethernet. For both APON and ATM used by BPON a 53-byte ATM cell is used to transport data. Because that term could be misleading (that only ATM services could be provided to end users). subscribers establish virtual circuits (VCs) across the APON to a specific destination. the Full Service Access Network (FSAN) group decided to broaden the name to Broadband PON (BPON). EPON is based on the use of the Multi-Point Control Protocol (MPCP).

whereas the rentals and sales of movies and television shows over the Internet are currently less than $50 million. music videos.5 Gbps downstream and 1. TDM. and television shows . GPON provides support for data rates of 622 Mbps and 1.25 Gbps symmetrically as well as 2.25 Gbps upstream.4 uses the work of BPON to develop this new standard. GPON The fourth type of PON is based on the use of high-speed Ethernet.1 through G. ATM. Although revenues from cable television and satellite TV providers were greater than $50 billion in 2005. the GPON system standardized as G. In this section we will discuss both the conventional pay-TV market as well as evolving competition for consumer funds and the effect of this driver on the emerging IPTV infrastructure. GPON provides support for Ethernet 10 Mbps and 100 Mbps. Although GPON is not backward compatible with BPON because its goals to operate at higher data rates required a modified physical layer. which was ratified during 2003 and 2004. EPON was standardized by the IEEE as the 802. and SONET connectivity.2 The Pay-TV Market A second market driver for IPTV is the pay-TV market.Market Drivers and Developing IPTV Infrastructure 35 Under MPCP.3 standard. messages and timers are used to control access to the point-to-multipoint networks. a profound market shift is based on the following four factors: The substitution of broadband access for dial-up service The introduction of the video iPod and similar products The availability of TV shows for sale by major television networks The growth in the number of Internet sites offering the sale and rental of movies.984. resulting in the term GPON being used to reference this network access method. Overview The pay-TV market has evolved from cable television and satellite TV providers to a variety of businesses that offer television shows and movies over the Internet. referred to as Gigabit Ethernet. 2.984.

DSL subscribers can select from a variety of offerings ranging from a slow service at 256 kbps. Cable Modem Offerings Cable modem subscribers more often than not are offered a low-speed data rate similar to those provided to DSL subscribers for competitive purposes. Downloading a one-hour television show or relatively short movie could require 1. either for direct viewing on their computer or for transfer to another device. a key difference between DSL and cable modem rates is in their high-speed offerings. which can be used for Web surfing but is still impractical for downloading full-length videos in a timely manner. with.175 GB of data to be received.6 hours! This relatively long time to download a onehour video via dial-up explains why dial-up Internet access makes it almost impossible to download anything but relatively short video clips. or approximately 46. At a download data rate of 56 kbps. where the maximum data rate was 56 kbps. consumers were restricted to using dial-up. television shows. music videos. .857 seconds The above computed download time is equivalent to 2797 minutes. and videos of special events. This in turn has created a growing market of consumers who download movies.36 Understanding IPTV Broadband Access The substitution of broadband for dial-up Internet access resulted in millions of subscribers being able to download large data files within a reasonable period of time. to faster services that can provide data rates as high as 20 Mbps at distances up to approximately 5000 feet from a central office or fiber termination point. this activity would require: 1. such as directly onto a video iPod or by creating a DVD that can be viewed on their television using a DVD player or while traveling by using a portable DVD player. Dial-Up Delays Until broadband transmission became commonly available at a relatively low monthly cost. for example. However.175 Gbytes × 8 bits/byte = 167. Most cable modem high-speed offerings begin at data rates where DSL offerings stop. DSL Offerings In comparison to dial-up.

Market Drivers and Developing IPTV Infrastructure 37 Cablevision announcing during November 2005 that it was increasing the maximum download speed to 15 Mbps from 10 Mbps. Table 2. Download times are shown in terms of the approximate number of hours required to download the one-hour video at each data rate. both are reasonable time periods. it is obvious that the higher data rates provided by broadband communications significantly lower the time required to download a video. and other regional phone companies resulted in an increase in DSL data rates as the copper “last mile” is either shortened by FTTN or replaced by the routing of fiber to the premises.3 compares the time required to download a onehour video at a 56-kbps dial-up rate to seven popular DSL and cable modem rates. This action has resulted in some locations now being offered DSL download speeds from 5 to 30 Mbps.3 Download Time for One-Hour Video Data Rate Hours Required 56 kbps 256 kbps 1024 kbps 2048 kbps 4096 kbps 8192 kbps 16.16 2.54 1.64 0.16 0.08 .64 10.3. Thus. especially when compared to almost 46 hours when downloading occurs via dial-up.32 0. In examining the entries in Table 2.27 0. For many consumers. which was already higher than most DSL offerings. Table 2.384 kbps 32. whereas at a data rate of 8192 kbps only approximately a third of an hour is required. Verizon. the growth in the number of people subscribing to broadband Internet access increases the potential of those subscribers to download different types of video for viewing on their PC or on another device. Download Time Comparison The rollout of IPTV services by AT&T (formerly known as SBC Communications). Note that at a data rate of 4096 kbps which is representative of high-speed DSL and medium-speed cable modem services. the download time is reduced to slightly more than a half hour.768 kbps 46.

Because portable DVD players have a larger screen than the Apple Computer video iPod and a virtually unlimited storage capacity because multiple DVDs are easily packed and do not take up much storage space. chances are high that you will see several people in the railway car or the airplane cabin watching a video using a portable video player. The announced deals allow viewers to order episodes of such primetime shows as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Survivor for 99 cents apiece. for the foreseeable future they will more than likely represent the preferred method for viewing videos in a mobile environment. Availability of TV Shows A third factor that is facilitating a market shift away from conventional pay TV is the significant increase in the availability of TV shows. the majority of portable video players are DVD devices with 5-. then NBC and CBS announced deals with cable and satellite providers in November 2005 that would commence operation at the beginning of 2006. Although the majority of people currently using portable DVD players view purchased or rented DVDs.38 Understanding IPTV Introduction of Video Products Although the introduction of the Apple Computer video iPod in October 2005 received considerable press attention. 7-. customers of the cable television firm with digital service would be able to purchase episodes of four primetime shows beginning in January 2006 starting a few hours after the shows aired on the network. . If you travel by train or airplane. viewers would be able to fast-forward through them. Under the deals struck with CBS and NBC. Currently. Although the shows would include commercials. or 11-inch displays. it is just one of many types of portable video products to reach the market. This technique of viewing previously recorded video at a different time is referred to as time-shifting. whereas viewing video at a different location is referred to as video-shifting or view-shifting. CBS Shows Under the deal between Comcast and CBS. the ability to download many types of video via the Internet as well as to use a digital video recorder (DVR) to create DVDs for later viewing can be expected to alter the use of players. cable and satellite providers would be able to watch popular shows anytime after those shows were aired. 10-. First there was Apple Computer’s agreement with ABC in October 2005 to make several television programs available for downloading via the Internet.

The DirecTV VOD service will be available to subscribers who obtain a new set-top box and have a TiVo set-top DVR. Because Comcast’s infrastructure includes many on-demand channels. video delivery will occur via video feeds.Market Drivers and Developing IPTV Infrastructure 39 NBC Shows In a separate agreement that was announced at the same time.” this service was scheduled to commence in January 2006 with six channels providing shows ranging from comedy to drama. including some that air on its cable channels.. vintage television shows made by Warner Brothers. which will prevent viewers from recording shows. Unlike CBS. That is. Although it is difficult to compete with a free product. such as Sci-Fi. I would be remiss if I did not mention an agreement between AOL and Warner Brothers that was announced in mid-November 2005. the fact that the Warner Brothers offerings cannot be time-shifted or place-shifted leaves questions about its viability. its subscribers have more flexibility than the subscribers to DirecTV. the AOL–Warner Brothers agreement at a minimum will increase the availability of TV shows on the Internet. The recorder will have 160 hours of recording capacity. Customers can then purchase and view the stored programs. with each show being billed at 99 cents. the AOL–Warner Brothers service will include 15-second commercials that viewers cannot bypass. Comcast is providing a more flexible strategy by adding TV shows to its library of 3800 on-demand offerings. such as real estate listings. Kotter. although their offerings pale in comparison to the potential of virtually unlimited offerings that can be expected to be provided by IPTV systems. NBC agreed with Direct TV to make a series of programs available. The other disk space in the recorder will be used to store approximately five hours per week of NBC primetime television shows as well as other programming transmitted by DirecTV. how many people will want to watch an entire TV show on their PC screen. Whereas DirecTV’s offering is not a conventional on-demand offering. Bravo. and Kung Fu. and USA. NBC is making available commercial-free shows. Wonder Woman. Referred to as “In2TV. such as Welcome Back. Under the announced agreement by these two divisions of Time Warner Inc. will be offered free online by AOL. and will decades-old fare be a draw? Although such questions may take awhile to be answered. In addition. Although it will be free to view the programs. but only 100 hours will be available for consumers to use. most of which represent free content. . AOL and Warner Brothers In concluding our discussion of the availability of TV shows.

Growth in Internet Video Content Just a few years ago. including Comcast. Although it is still premature to discuss the fees that will be associated with cell phone television. many movies that made . In addition. In November 2005 Sprint Nextel Corporation announced a deal with several of the largest cable television companies. and customers would be able to watch shows stored on their home DVRs as well as program their home recorders via their cell phones. it becomes possible for cell phone users to select a particular program that they could view on an “on-demand” channel. because each IP datacast-ready cell phone would have a unique IP address. that lets the cable companies sell Sprint wireless services along with their own TV. the majority of television viewed on cell phones will be broadcast TV. it’s quite possible that hundreds of small-screen TV channels could become available. Cox Communications.40 Understanding IPTV Cell Phone Television Another area of pay television that is emerging as a market driver for IPTV is cell phone television. With IP datacast. and Time Warner. Because analog transmission will be phased out over the next few years. in the future we can expect a combination of digital broadcast and the IP to provide a new broadcast technology referred to as IP datacast over DVB-H (digital video broadcast — handheld). In fact. However. subscribers can expect to pay between $99 and $250 for an applicable cell phone and approximately $15 per month for the ability to view television on the “small screen. the amount of content available for watching on certain types of cell phones would significantly increase.” IP Datacast Initially. resulting in the development of another screen version of wireless IPTV. which for simplicity is referred to as IP datacast. a single voice mailbox would be available for both the cellular and the wired phone. and high-speed Internet access. the quantity of data transmitted to represent a TV channel is reduced to between 128 and 384 kbps because the screen on which the video will be observed is smaller than a regular television. the availability of videos on the Internet was more than likely from “hacker” Web sites that provided free copies of movies prior to the release of the movie on DVD. This reduction in the required data rate permits approximately 30 smallscreen TV channels to be broadcast over the bandwidth now used to broadcast a single analog channel. phone. Under this deal.

Data. including video on demand and TV shows delivered to cell phones. with the latter term adding fax to . and other content providers. which resulted in some rather interesting movements when the person making the bootleg copy had an itch to scratch. providing tens of thousands of music videos.Market Drivers and Developing IPTV Infrastructure 41 their way to the Web were the result of a person visiting a movie theater with a hand-held digital camcorder. At their destination. In this section we will note how each individual data stream can be transported within a common IP data stream. it is both possible and easy to transmit voice. data. data. and television shows. such as a home computer. to be successful they must be competitive. and video. a television set-top box. Voice Until a few years ago the primary buzz when discussing convergence was VoIP. 2. Today the number of pay-video sites offering legitimate first-rate movies has significantly expanded. movies. Thus. Because traditional telephone companies are investing billions of dollars in IPTV. Because AT&T (previously known as SBC Communications) and Verizon also operate cell phone service. TV networks. and video can be stored on a common device. such as an Apple video iPod. or another addressable device. it is reasonable to expect their IPTV delivery to eventually provide a mechanism by which subscribers can download video into their homes as well as onto their cell phones. and Video Another key market driver for IPTV is the convergence of voice. also referred to as IP telephony. or they can be delivered to a destination defined by an IP address. one can expect the various types of pay TV mentioned in this section to represent benchmarks for IPTV delivery. most have a similar capability in that they allow a subscriber to time-shift a video to a more convenient time. Although the technology used for each submarket differs. and video over a common network infrastructure.3 Convergence of Voice. Summary The pay-TV market consists of a series of submarkets. voice. data. The growth in Internet video content enables diverse subscriber viewing habits to be accommodated and provides the developers of IPTV with a potential revenue stream once the infrastructure is developed to enable rapid downloads of content as well as negotiate the availability of content from movie studios. Because each can be represented in digital format.

.723. expressed in milliseconds (ms). their digital data rate.42 Understanding IPTV Table 2.728 G. and the quality of the conversation in terms of its MOS degrades.2 3.2 3. 32 5.726 G. and a mean opinion score (MOS).3.98 4. and MOS.3 16 8 5.4 lists six voice coding standards.12 5 0. delay. digitized voice as being capable of being transmitted over a public or private IP data network.1 Pulse code modulation (PCM) Adaptive differential PCM (ADPCM) Algebraic codebook excited linear predictor (ACELP) Low-delay codebook excited linear predictors (LD-CELP) Conjugate-structured algebraic CELP (CS-ACELP) Multipulse maximum likelihood quantizer (MP-MLQ)** 64 16. 24. Other delays include the egress and ingress data links and the delay time packets experience flowing through a network. ** LD-CELP variation. As you might surmise from examining the entries in Table 2. representing a subjective scale from 1 (bad) to 5 (excellent) of the perceived clarity of a conversation.1 G.711 G. note that PCM and ADPCM are used primarily by RBOCs when calls flow through their legacy switches.0 30. In examining the entries in Table 2.3 0.4. Associated with the use of each coder is a delay time.8 4.0 4. as the data rate required to transport a digitized voice conversation decreases.5 * Mean opinion score. its delay increases. Table 2.4. When digitized voice is transmitted over an IP network an analog conversation is digitized through the use of a voice coder into a digital data stream.5 10.2 4. 6. The other voice digitization standards are used primarily in a VoIP environment because they significantly reduce the data transport needed to convey a voice conversation. The codec delay time is extremely important because it is one of several delays that cumulatively need to be less than 150 ms to obtain a high MOS.4 Popular Voice Coding Standards Standard Description Data Rate (kbps) Delay (ms) MOS* G.729 G.5 2. The coder converts voice at a specific data rate based on the type of coder employed.12 5 37.723.

Video The convergence of video onto the same pipe with voice and data is similar to the delivery of voice under certain situations and data under other conditions. However. Whereas the driving force behind real estate pricing is location.” Data Both RBOCs and cable television operators offer subscribers various Internet access offerings. video. ranging in monthly price and data rate from a minimal monthly cost at a data rate five times dial-up to more costly and higher data rate offerings. true convergence will occur in an IPTV environment. and video will share a common bandwidth. the ability to provide convergence can be summed up as “bandwidth. data. . where data. In comparison. Internet access [data].Market Drivers and Developing IPTV Infrastructure 43 The delay listed in Table 2. This means that real-time video packets must be tagged to enable routers to prioritize the content of such packets. and data to their customers over a common IP network. which enables routers to reduce delay by giving voice traffic a higher priority than data. However. with the latter requiring such traffic to be tagged to indicate its need for prioritization. video must be delivered with minimum delay so that frames are not distorted in time. we can say that technically data is physically converged on the same “pipe” into homes. being distinguished from one another by the header in each packet that will indicate the type of data carried. although voice.4 is only a portion of the end-to-end delay that can adversely affect VoIP. Because RBOCs provide this service over their existing last mile line and cable television operators provide a similar capability within their coaxial cable routed into homes. This is broadly referred to as quality of service (QoS). and video flow over a common coaxial cable. In comparison. voice. AT&T and Verizon are rapidly constructing a large fiber-based backbone to provide the capability to deliver voice. the troika of services does not flow over a common IP network. and video) from one vendor. Today cable television operators are providing a VoIP service to entice subscribers to obtain a troika of services (voice. delay between frames is not an issue because once the video is downloaded it will then be viewed from disk. To ensure high-quality voice communications requires both sufficient bandwidth to minimize transmission delays as well as routers within the network that can prioritize voice traffic. That is. when a video is downloaded. when viewing a real-time video stream.

providers must license applicable material. Figure 2. the local hub would insert more localized advertisements as well as transmit content directly to the subscriber. In addition to facilitating delivery of VOD content. . The national hub would encode and compress video as well as serve as a central repository for VOD content. In addition. National Hub At the national level a central bank of servers connected to terrestrial and satellite feeds would provide national video content.4 Evolution of Video Compression In concluding this chapter we will briefly discuss the key technology that enables IPTV to be a reality. so will the probability of a customer ordering a pay-per-view video or subscribing to the service due to the content matching the subscriber’s preference. regional.6 illustrates the video distribution network hierarchy described. That network will consist of a three-tier series of hubs at the national. This facility would receive national and local content from a regional hub. Regional Hubs Regional hubs would receive national content from the national hub as well as connect to and receive local content and insert local advertisements. That technology is video compression. Video Distribution Network The ability to deliver requested content will require the development of a video distribution network. and local level. such as new pay-per-view movies. As their digital library expands. Local Hub The lowest level in the video distribution network would be the local hub.44 Understanding IPTV A second constraint concerning the convergence of video is not technical but concerns content availability. the regional hub would temporarily store popular movies and other content. 2. With the ability of IPTV to provide a virtually unlimited number of shows.

Israel’s equivalent of MIT.6 Video distribution network hierarchy. Overview Prior to the development of digital video. compressed data can be decompressed into its original data stream. lossy compression was . in which repeating strings of the same character are replaced by a trio of characters that indicate compression has occurred. A second popular text-based data compression technique is actually a series of string-based techniques based on the work of Lempel and Ziv. most data compression techniques were developed to operate on text data. the character that was compressed. In comparison. The problem with these techniques is the fact that their typical compression ratio is between 2:1 and 3:1. Lossy The two previously mentioned text-based compression techniques are referred to as lossless compression. two professors who worked at the Technion. That is.Market Drivers and Developing IPTV Infrastructure 45 ONU FTTN ONT FTTB Telephone central office ADSL2+ OLT ONU FTTN ADSL2+ ONT FTTB Legend: OLT: Optical line termination ONU: Optical network unit ONT: Optical network terminal FTTN: Fiber to the neighborhood FTTB: Fiber to the building Figure 2. One common text-based data compression technique is run-length encoding. and the number of characters that were compressed. Lossless vs. which is insufficient for video.

whereas one of several HDTV standards requires 1920 × 1080 pixels. Whereas movies use a frame rate of 24. Examples of lossy compression techniques include Joint Photography Experts Group (JPEG) for still photos and the Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG) series of compression techniques used for digital video. 3 bytes (or 24 bits) are required for HDTV. a technique referred to as true color.46 Understanding IPTV initially developed to reduce the storage and transmission requirements of pictures under which blocks of pixels are compared and assumed to be equivalent even if they differ by a few pixels. Each pixel has a luminance and chrominance value. lossy compression has a significantly higher compression ratio than lossless compression. the noncompressed data rate for SDTV becomes 30 × 640 × 480 × 16 or 147. the noncompressed data rate becomes 30 × 1920 × 1080 × 24 or 1. North American television has a frame rate of approximately 30 (29. We can think of digital video as a sequence of images displayed to convey the illusion of motion. and different frame rates are used for different types of digital video applications.456. Because blocks of pixels are compared to one another and assumed to be equal even when they differ by a few pixels.97) and European television’s frame rate is 25. In addition. The width and height of each digital video image comparable to analog television is 640 × 480 for SDTV. Compression Requirements We can think of digital video as representing a sequence of images. This makes lossy compression more suitable for compressing digital video. where luminance represents a pixel’s intensity and chrominance represents the color of the pixel. Here the images are referred to as frames. Thus.000 bps The preceding computations for SDTV and HDTV makes it obvious that the ability of an RBOC or another service provider to enable subscribers to access multiple television channels over a common access line is severely limited without the use of a lossy compression method.992. lossy compression is not fully reversible. at a frame rate of 30 frames per second (fps). whereas 2 bytes (or 16 bits) can be used for SDTV color depth. A high-quality image would use 3 bytes (or 24 bits) per pixel to represent color. This is because the use of copper-based ADSL2+ is limited to allowing a data . each of which is a two-dimensional frame made up of picture elements (pels) or pixels. Thus.492.000 bps For HDTV.

we can note that advances in the development of different data compression techniques made it possible for the transmission of video to the desktop and into subscribers’ homes in the form of IPTV.Market Drivers and Developing IPTV Infrastructure 47 rate of approximately 25 Mbps at distances up to 5000 feet. whereas the use of PON enables a bandwidth of approximately 30 Mbps into the subscriber’s premises. For now. In the next chapter we will examine compression in much more detail. . The purpose of this section was to briefly examine the evolution of compression and the rationale for the use of lossy compression for delivering digital video.


and high-definition television. Figure 3.1 are also applicable to a digital television system. By obtaining an appreciation for the bandwidth requirements of standard.1 Analog Television The original development of television was based on analog technology. Television shows were created using an analog video camera to create a video signal that was then formatted and transmitted via a broadcasting station. receivers would translate the received formatted signal and present the results on the television’s display. Thus. First we will reacquaint ourselves with analog television concepts and the evolution from analog to digital television. In this chapter we turn our attention to obtaining an understanding of television concepts.Chapter 3 Television Concepts An understanding of IPTV depends on knowledge of basic television concepts and the Internet Protocol (IP) used to transport television as a sequence of packetized frames. In actuality. the next chapter will focus on the IP. In the home analog television. in concluding this chapter we will examine several data compression techniques whose use enables IPTV to become a reality. As we examine basic television concepts we will become familiar with a variety of terms associated with the technology. including pixels. frames. 3. the components shown in Figure 3.1 illustrates the major components of an analog video television system. when we replace an analog video camera with a digital camera and use digital formatting. we will note the need for lossy compression. and interlacing and how they affect bandwidth. 49 .

50 Understanding IPTV Figure 3. Table 3. Russia. blue. The Phase Alternating Line (PAL) standard is similar to NTSC but uses a subcarrier alteration technique that results in certain types of transmission errors appearing as if they have canceled each other out. Signal Formatting The signal formatting shown in Figure 3. Italy France.1 represents a standardized method of taking analog camera signals represented by red. and green (RBG) primary colors and a luminance signal such that they are transmitted at certain frequencies. Japan.1 Major components of an analog television system. Japan. In the United States.2 5.0 5. and Mexico analog television is formatted based on standards developed by the National Television Systems Committee (NTSC). The Séquentiel Couleur à Mémoire (SECAM) standard was developed in France and is used primarily in that country. Two additional analog color systems are used in many countries: PAL and SECAM. Under SECAM.1 compares the bandwidth requirements of the three previously mentioned analog color television systems in megahertz.1 Analog Color TV System Bandwidth System Country Bandwidth (MHz) NTSC PAL PAL SECAM United States.0 . Mexico Great Britain Austria. instead of using a high-frequency subcarrier according to the NTSC standards. Russia 4. Canada. two FM subcarriers are used to transmit a color-difference component. Note that the Table 3. PAL is used in most of Europe but not in France and Russia. Canada. and ex-French colonies. Germany.5 6.

At the end of the image the sensing spot snaps back to begin a new line. In addition to the three primary signals. are derived from the primary color components. this is referred to as retracing. A complete scan of the image area is referred to as a frame. As the sensing spot begins a new line.Television Concepts 51 table contains two entries for PAL. Figure 3. because different systems require slight differences in bandwidth. The term “interlaced” refers to the fact that the screen is first scanned on all evennumbered lines. At this point the sensing image performs both horizontal and vertical retrace operations. The later signal components. This means that the picture is created by scanning across the screen horizontally from left to right with 480 lines. it does so slightly below the previous line until it reaches the end of the last scanned line. 480 interlaced lines are used to create a picture. As we probe further into analog television we will primarily reference the NTSC system. Scanning Scanning represents the process of converting optical images into electrical signals and is used by all types of video systems. Under the NTSC system. and EB. the amplitudes of each signal are proportional to the spectral energy in the scene being viewed. using it as a basis for comparison. Under the NTSC television system.S. Five months later this analog broadcasting system was approved for use. and blue visual components of the scene being viewed. a luminance signal based on the relative sensitivity of the human eye to the primary colors is generated as well as two chrominance signal components. EG. Under this system a video camera generates three primary signals referred to as ER. referred to as I and Q signals. The sensing spot converts each image point it sees into an electrical voltage. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in July 1953. scanning occurs in a television camera via the movement of an electronic sensing spot across the image from left to right horizontally to form a scanning line. Because camera signals at that time were analog. NTSC Operation The color broadcasting scheme standard developed by the NTSC was proposed to the U. green.2 illustrates the scanning process. which results in the sensing spot returning to its original position in the upper left portion of the screen. then a vertical synchronization pulse returns the electron . These primary signals are the electrical analog values of the red.


Understanding IPTV

Figure 3.2 The scanning process.

beam to the top of the picture tube, after which all odd-numbered lines are scanned. The vertical synchronization pulse can be viewed as an inter-frame timing gap equal to about the time required to scan 45 lines. During this timing gap the television that will display the transmitted image has time to receive the next frame; however, no picture information occurs. Instead, this time gap is used to transmit control information, such as closedcaption data. Thus, the total number of lines in each video frame can be thought of as being 525, but only 480 contain active video information that is displayed. Sometimes this standard analog TV format is referred to as 525i, which means 525 interlaced lines. However, because only 480 lines are displayed, another common term used is 480i. Each scan of even and odd lines occurs in one-sixtieth of a second, resulting in one full picture being displayed every one-thirtieth of a second. Thus, the frame rate is 30 frames per second (fps), whereas in a movie theater a slightly different rate of 24 fps is used. As previously noted, the 525 lines specified by the NTSC television format actually result in 480 lines of resolution. This is because during the timing gap interval equivalent to 45 lines, 22 lines ar e used for transmitting test signals, vertical synchronization of the picture, closed captioning, and program guides, and a few additional lines are used for the mask of the picture. The term 480i, which is used to reference 480 lines of interlaced scanning, represents what is referred to as analog standarddefinition television (SDTV). Standard analog television has been in use for approximately 55 years, during which time it has provided a reasonably good-quality picture.

Television Concepts


However, to obtain a good-quality picture, a television set must be relatively small. As television sets reached the market with 30-, 32-, 40-, 42-, and even 50-inch diagonally measur ed screens, the scan lines used in analog television have become mor e visible. Although one solution to the image quality problem is to move to a digital television format that provides additional lines of resolution, which will be discussed later in this chapter, many manufacturers of large-screen televisions use double painting to enhance the analog image. With double painting, each of the 480 lines ar e displayed twice, with each line slightly offset from the prior line, improving image clarity. With double painting it becomes possible to obtain a decent analog image on a large-screen TV.

Overcoming Bandwidth Problems
The amplitude of the three primary colors — R (red), G (green), and B (blue) — represents a bandwidth hog. To conserve bandwidth, RGB is converted into a more compact format referred to as component video. Component video consists of three signals. The first component video signal is luminance, which indicates the brightness of the original RGB signal. Luminance is referred to as the “Y” component. The second and third signals are color difference signals, which indicate how much blue and red there are relative to luminance. The blue component (B-Y) and red component (R-Y) are mathematical derivatives of the RGB signal. Because green can be determined from the Y, B-Y, and R-Y signals, it does not have to be transmitted as a separate signal. Thus, once video information is converted into a component video for mat, bandwidth requirements are reduced by a factor of 3 to 2. All of the component information is then broadcast as a single signal that combines amplitude and phase modulation, reducing required bandwidth to 4.2 MHz under the NTSC system. This single signal, known as composite video, is broadcast to the TV’s antenna or onto the coaxial cable routed into the home. The yellow “video out” jacks on the back of the VCR or DVD player represent composite video signal sources.

Video Image Information
Seven types of electronic information are used to define a video image when the NTSC format is used. Together, these seven types of electronic information that form a television composite waveform are commonly referred to as composite video (Table 3.2).


Understanding IPTV

Table 3.2 Electronic Information That Forms Composite Video
Horizontal line sync pulse Color reference burst Reference black level Picture luminance Color saturation Color hue Vertical sync pulse

Horizontal Line Sync Pulse
The purpose of the horizontal line sync pulse is to set the electronic beam to a locked position. Doing so ensures that each line of picture information commences at the same position during scanning. Thus, the horizontal line sync pulse is generated before each line is scanned. In addition, it controls a horizontal blanking interval. Within that interval are both the horizontal sync pulse and the color reference burst.

Color Reference Burst
The purpose of the color reference burst is to ensure standard hue and color saturation. To accomplish this task, a 3.58-MHz color reference burst in the form of a sine wave is added before the picture information on each scan line.

Reference Black Level
The reference black level represents the level corresponding to the specified maximum excursion of the luminance signal in the black direction. Black level is also referred to as “setup” or “pedestal” and is defined as 7.5 IEEE units.

Picture Luminance
Picture luminance describes the brightness level and ranges from 7.5 IEEE units for black to 100 IEEE units for peak white.

Television Concepts


Color Saturation
Color has three distinct properties, referred to as hue, value, and saturation. Hue represents the spectral color name whereas value represents lightness or darkness. Saturation represents brightness or dullness. Under the NTSC format, color information is interleaved with picture luminance information through the use of a 3.58-MHz subcarrier. The saturation of the colors is determined by the amplitude of the subcarrier.

Color Hue
As previously noted, hue represents the spectral color name. Color hue is also present in the 3.58-MHz subcarrier signal used to transport color information and luminance.

Vertical Sync Pulse
The purpose of the vertical sync pulse is to control the length of time the television screen is blanked between the end of one field and the beginning of the next field. This delay is necessary because the electron beam, which is controlled by a magnetic field, cannot instantly reposition itself to the first line of the television screen. This delay period is referred to as the vertical blanking interval and is sometimes used for the insertion of time code, automatic color tuning, and captioning information into the video signal.

Comparison to PAL and SECAM
The major difference between NTSC and PAL and SECAM color television resides in their use of subcarrier frequencies, phases, and formats, which affect the required bandwidth in megahertz per broadcast channel. Table 3.3 provides a comparison of the three analog color television standards.
Table 3.3 Comparing Analog Color Television Standards
System Aspect Ratio Interlace Frames per Second Total of Active Lines Bandwidth (MHz)

NTSC PAL England Japan SECAM

4:3 4.3 4:3 4:3

2:1 2:1 2:1 2:1

30 25 29.97 25

525/480 625/580 525/480 625/580

4.2 5.5 4.2 6.0

0) (0. green. sufficient to provide a display of approximately 16 million colors.0.4 24-Bit True Color Coding Examples (0. it is convenient to consider the concept of pixels when referring to such systems.255. Next we will compute the data rate required to convey a 4. Each picture element or pixel has a third dimension referred to as color depth. a color monitor that has a VGA (Video Graphics Array) capability will have a resolution of 640 × 480 pixels and its color depth would be 24 bits. Table 3.255) (255. We can do this by defining the width of a pixel as one-half the cycle of the highest video Table 3. Pixels In a digital system an image consists of a series of digital values that represent individual points or picture elements along the path taken to scan the image. Thus.0) (0. and blue intensities that range between 0 and 255. For example.0.255. many times it is beneficial to consider the required capacity of analog television in terms of a data rate necessary to convey the signal.0) (255.0) (0.255) Black Red Green Blue Yellow Cyan Magenta White .2-MHz NTSC color television signal.0.255) (255. In this section we will first review the concept of pixels.0.255.4 provides eight examples of RGB values encoded as 24-bit true color.255) (255. which is referred to as true color. the resolution and color capability of a digital system depend on both its pixel count and the number of bits used to define the color representation capability of each pixel.255. Data Rate Requirement Although an analog video system does not use pixels. The 3 bytes used for true color represent red.56 Understanding IPTV Comparison to Digital Although an analog television system uses a continuous carrier for modulation instead of discrete values.

which uses one UHF or VHF channel to broadcast each television channel.84 = 448 Thus. In December 1996 the FCC mandated the conversion of analog television into a digital broadcast TV standard. digital television can be considered to represent a method of transmitting video and audio by turning them into a sequence of 1s and 0s associated with computerized data. a number of compressed digital television program streams are multiplexed into one transmission stream. This results in a combined transmission stream carrying multiple television channels and greatly increases the transmission of digital TV over analog television. Broadcasters were initially given a ten-year transition period. let’s turn our attention to digital television.2 Digital Television On a simplified basis.200. the data rate required to transport an analog color television signal as digital data is 215.734 × 0. which was r ecently extended to February 17. 2009. the number of pixels per line (PPL) becomes PPL = 2B/FH *CH where B = bandwidth in Hz FH = horizontal scanning frequency CH = fraction of the horizontal scanning interval used to signal transmission For the analog color NTSC television system with a bandwidth of 4.299 bps Now that we have an appreciation for the fundamentals of analog television. Because NTSC operates at 30 fps. . Unlike analog television.2 MHz. and the height of a pixel can be considered to represent the height of one scanning line.451. Thus.040 × 30 or 6.040 because 480 represents the number of visible scanning lines.Television Concepts 57 frequency.000/15. 3. the pixels per frame (PPF) becomes PPF = 448 × 480 or 215. the PPL becomes PPL = 2 × 4.

digital television has 18 formats that we will examine later in this chapter. Thus. allowing them to directly view digital content.5 provides a general comparison between analog and digital television. color. Table 3. Sampling refers to how often an analog-to-digital converter samples the signal and quantization references the number of discrete levels to which an analog signal can be converted. several key differences exist between conventional analog color television (SDTV) and digital television. let’s briefly discuss each one. picture scanning. In comparison. for now we can note that 480. In an analog TV system.58 Understanding IPTV Overview Digital television refers to the transmission of a television signal and its reception on a digital TV or a set-top box that will convert the picture and sound so it can be displayed and heard on an analog set. Advantages The conversion of an analog signal to digital enables data to be easily manipulated. Those differences include the resolution. Today most cable television and satellite operators transmit digital TV to subscribers by flowing content into a settop box that unbundles and decodes programs for viewing. Comparison to Analog Previously. digital television signals result from the direct transmission of digital camera output or from the transformation of analog video camera output through the process of sampling and quantization of the analog signal. In addition. Some of the listed features may require a bit of explanation. Some newer digital televisions have an equivalent set-top box built in. Thus. . the ability to compress digital television permits a number of compressed program streams to be transmitted while minimizing bandwidth requirements. however. Resolution Resolution plays an important part in the clarity of a picture. This in turn allows the development of compression techniques that minimize both the transmission bandwidth and the storage of information. 480 active lines are used to paint a picture on the television receiver. and sound transported. resulting in the latter providing both a superior picture and superior sound. we noted several advantages associated with the ability to digitize television. Thus.

…). the aspect ratio is 4:3 (1.3. For analog NTSC. During the latter part of . various digital television for mats include support for both interlaced and progressive scanning.2. Picture Scanning Analog television is limited to interlaced scanning. Aspect Ratio The ratio between the width and the height of a picture is the aspect ratio. Under progressive scanning. with the latter two representing highdefinition television (HDTV) resolutions. the odd and even lines of a picture are scanned sequentially (1. This aspect ratio was initially selected to match the ratio used in cinema films that were popular when television was initially developed.3. and 1080 lines are supported.6.4. vertical blanking interval Color added as a separate carrier Two-channel FM sound on separate carrier Picture scanning Aspect ratio Synchronization 720 and 1080 lines for HDTV.Television Concepts 59 Table 3.33:1). Odd-numbered lines are scanned in the first one-sixtieth of a second and even-numbered lines are scanned during the second onesixtieth of a second.…) every one-sixtieth of a second for several popular digital formats. 480 for digital standard TV Interlaced or progressive 16:9 (or 4:3) Frame sync signal Color Sound Color included in data Six-channel Dolby 5.1 surround sound 720. Combining the two fields results in the creation of a frame every one-thirtieth of a second.4.…) and even lines (2. This results in 60 frames produced every second.5. In comparison. which creates a smoother. more vivid picture with considerably less flicker than analog television. This results in an NTSC analog frame rate of 30 fps. In interlaced scanning a frame is subdivided into two fields: odd lines (1.5 Comparing Analog and Digital Television Feature Analog Digital Resolution 525 lines with 480 active Interlaced 4:3 Horizontal and vertical sync pulses.

Table 3.60 Understanding IPTV the 1950s. digital television manufacturers began using an aspect ratio of 16:9 (1. . digital television transports color information in each pixel. many modern laptops provide a 16:10 aspect ratio. Although not matching the 16:9 ratio of digital television. which was well received for use in many westerns and biblical-themed movies. In comparison. Synchronization In the area of synchronization. enhanced-definition television (EDTV). in a widescreen format. and the type of television system the previously mentioned parameters represent. Digital Television Formats In examining the entries in Table 3.6 summarizes the 18 flavors of digital television. In comparison. including television and data. its availability indicates a growing preference for the ability of consumers to view information. NTSC analog television uses horizontal and vertical sync pulses as well as a vertical blanking interval to keep the output of a camera in step with the television r eceiver’s display.5. Analog television uses two-channel FM sound modulated on a separate carrier. Sound The last major difference between analog and digital television is sound. Recognizing the advantages of being able to provide a panoramic view. digital TV uses frame sync signals to pr ovide a similar capability.85:1). digital television uses six-channel Dolby 5. movie studios gravitated toward widescreen aspect ratios to distance their products from television as well as to provide a more panoramic vision. color information is added as a separate carrier that is multiplexed with monochrome.1 surround sound. aspect ratio. In comparison. digital television can be classified as SDTV. As indicated in Table 3. including their vertical and horizontal resolution. we need to note that there are a total of 18 digital television formats.6. Color In an NTSC analog system. of which six are considered to represent HDTV. This technique enables color broadcasts to be received on a legacy black-and-white television. refresh rate in Hz. and HDTV. Widescreen television and cinema has now spread to computing.

Because SDTV uses a data rate between 4 and 7 Mbps.Television Concepts 61 Table 3. In addition. with horizontal resolution varying from 640 to 704 lines. because its refresh rate is 30 fps. between three and six SDTV channels can be multiplexed into the same bandwidth required to support one HDTV channel. This SDTV digital format is equivalent to the interlaced output of DVDvideo in a 4:3 aspect ratio. The vertical resolution is limited to 480 lines. including both progressive and interlaced screen painting. It is used when bandwidth is a larger concern than picture quality. Both 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios are supported as well as refresh .6 Digital Television Formats Format Index Vertical Resolution Horizontal Resolution Aspect Ratio Scan Type Refresh Rate System Type 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 480 480 480 480 480 480 480 480 480 480 480 480 720 720 750 1080 1080 1080 640 640 640 640 704 704 704 704 704 704 704 704 1280 1280 1280 1280 1920 1920 4:3 4:3 4:3 4:3 4:3 4:3 4:3 4:3 16:9 16:9 16:9 16:9 16:9 16:9 16:9 16:9 16:9 16:9 Interlaced Progressive Progressive Progressive Interlaced Progressive Progressive Progressive Interlaced Progressive Progressive Progressive Progressive Progressive Progressive Interlaced Progressive Progressive 30 24 30 60 30 24 30 60 30 24 30 60 24 30 60 30 24 30 SDTV EDTV EDTV EDTV EDTV EDTV EDTV EDTV EDTV EDTV EDTV EDTV HDTV HDTV HDTV HDTV HDTV HDTV Standard-Definition Television The first digital TV format shown in Table 3. Enhanced Definition Television Enhanced-definition television (EDTV) consists of 11 formats. Because it uses 480 lines of vertical resolution that are interlaced. this digital format is also often referred to as 480i/30.6 represents SDTV. it is referred to as 480i.

30. you will receive an HDTV set-top box that has a monthly rental approximately twice to three times that of the provider’s regular digital box. EDTV is used when a better picture quality than SDTV is desired but bandwidth constraints preclude the use of true HDTV. two independent HDTV channels that show movies and special events. the HDTV set-top box will allow you to view one or more high-definition premium channels. providing a widescreen view.200 pixels. and 60 fps are supported. resulting in a display consisting of 307. Such plasma TVs typically are limited to supporting EDTV and although they produce a brilliant color picture with very good clarity they are not as good as a true HDTV. In addition. Although the box is billed as an HDTV set-top box. which has a resolution of 480 × 640.62 Understanding IPTV rates of 24. Typically. 30.073. High-Definition Television HDTV has six distinct formats. When a 720-line vertical resolution is employed. which represents almost a seven-fold improvement in picture detail over SDTV. such as HBO in high definition. Later in this chapter we will discuss the use of . that resolution is used primarily for interlaced scanning due to current limitations of broadcasting equipment and consumer television products. In addition to an enhanced resolution. The 1080p format can be viewed as providing a path for future growth as imaging and display technologies evolve. HDTV offers an image consisting of 2. in reality only a handful of channels are broadcast in HDTV mode. they cost less than sets with an HDTV receiver. each providing a picture superior to SDTV and EDTV.600 pixels. assuming you subscribe to one or more premium channels. and 60 fps. and a sports channel in high definition. All six HDTV formats are in a 16:9 aspect ratio. At its highest resolution of 1080 × 1920. If you visit an electronics store you may notice many low-cost plasma televisions available for purchase. color resolution is also improved over SDTV by a factor of two. your television provider will carry the three major networks. Each of the digital television formats listed in Table 3. If you subscribe to cable or satellite television service and enroll in their HDTV service.6 indicates that both interlaced and progressive scanning are supported in a vertical resolution of 1080 lines. scanning occurs progressively and refresh rates of 24. Because an EDTV set lacks the electronics to generate 720 or 1080 lines of resolution. Although Table 3.6 uses MPEG-2 for video compression.

A second type of HDTV receiver is emerging in popularity due to the FCC mandate that will require all broadcast analog television stations to convert to digital on or before February 17. it is also possible to receive HDTV via over-the-air broadcasts. In addition. Dolby Digital can scale upward to 6. Under what many people refer to as NTSC legacy analog television. sound is provided through two-channel FM that is transported on a separate carrier from the TV signal. In comparison.0 channels (stereo) when the original programming being transmitted has only a mono or stereo soundtrack.0 channel (mono) and 2. HDTV Reception Although you can receive HDTV through the use of an appropriate settop box when you subscribe to a cable or satellite television service. 720p. or 1080i. Dolby Digital represents a scalable digital encoding algorithm that supports 1.1 extended surround sound. such as 480p. 2009 arrives. Although Dolby Digital is familiar to readers who have a home theater or visit the movies. which is the focus of the third section of this chapter. because the set-top box performs any required conversion. it is actually more flexible than just a 5. which makes it possible to connect the receiver to any of the three types of digital televisions available for purchase.1-channel (four speakers and woofer) surround-sound format. 2009. When February 17. Sound One aspect of digital television commonly overlooked is its sound quality. more than 30 million analog television sets in use do not have cable or satellite service. . digital television supports Dolby Digital audio encoding for all 18 digital TV formats. To do this you normally will need to connect your antenna to an HDTV terrestrial receiver that tunes and decodes all 18 digital television for mats. Although this mandate will not affect analog television sets connected to cable or satellite television. Now that we have an appreciation for analog and digital television. those television sets will not be able to receive any TV signal unless they use a conversion box that receives digital TV signals and converts those to analog. we will conclude this chapter by examining the technique that enables digital television to be transported using considerably less bandwidth than its unaltered series of frames requires. That technique is lossy compression. Most HDTV receivers allow you to specify the output format.Television Concepts 63 compression to minimize the bandwidth required to transport a digital television signal.

This ratio. Characteristics of Digital Video Digital video can be viewed as a sequence of images. One method is by specifying an appropriate mixture of the three primary colors (red. Associated with each pixel are two values — luminance and chrominance. is used. Parts of MPEG-1 MPEG-1 was primarily developed for the coding of moving pictures and associated audio for digital storage media at up to approximately a data . and blue). which returns data to its exact original form. can be much greater than the ratio obtained when a lossless compression method. Thus. where the term MPEG refers to the Motion Picture Experts Group. lossy compression provides a mechanism to considerably increase the ratio of noncompressed original data to its compressed equivalent. This standard was used for the development of such products as the video CD and MP3 players. MPEG-1 MPEG-1 represents the first of a series of MPEG standards developed by the Motion Picture Experts Group.64 Understanding IPTV 3. each of which represents a two-dimensional frame of picture elements that are commonly referred to as pixels or pels. technically referred to as the compression ratio. the YUV system allows color to be approximated using only two variables and represents one of several mechanisms by which lossy compression obtains a high compression ratio when operating on a digital video stream.3 Lossy Compression As briefly indicated in Chapter 2. As we will note later in this chapter. in this section. Several methods can be used to represent the color of a pixel. The luminance is a value proportional to the pixel’s intensity and the chrominance is a value that represents the color of the pixel. to paraphrase a popular tune from The Sound of Music. since its founding in 1988. developed a series of standards for the compressed representation of audio and video. Another method is to specify the luminance (Y) and chrominance (U and V). a working group of the International Standards Organization (ISO) that has. The majority of digital video broadcasting (DVB) uses MPEG-2 compression. “we will begin at the beginning” our examination of MPEG by first turning our attention to MPEG-1. green.

Motion is predicted from frame to frame in the temporal direction in the luminance (Y) channel on 16 × 16 blocks. and the discrete cosine transformation (DCT) operates on 8 × 8 pixel blocks to organize redundancy in the spatial direction. B frames. Then. Overview The MPEG-1 standard covers three types of coded frames: I. for each 16 × 16 pixel block in the current frame. The DCT coefficients are quantized. and other data are Huffman coded using fixed tables.Television Concepts 65 Table 3.5 Mbps. In this section we will first examine each of the encoding processes specified under . motion vectors. quantization parameters.7. Although images are in color. they are converted into YUV space (luminance and two chrominance values). Each frame represents a still image. a search is performed for a close match to that block in a previous or future block.7. resulting in many coefficients being 0. are predicted from the closest I or P frames. or bidirectional frames. In examining the entries in Table 3. Although this is important for transmission and storage.5 Mbps Defines a coded representation that can be used for compressing both mono and stereo audio sequences Defines how tests can be used to verify if bitstreams and decoders meet the requirements of the prior parts of the standard A technical report that provides a full software implementation of the first three parts of the standard rate of 1. we will focus our attention on Parts 2 and 3 of the standard. The standard is defi ned in five parts. Thus. which are summarized in Table 3. respectively. which results in strings of 0s suitable for compression. which define techniques used to compress video and audio. I frames are intra-frames whereas P (predicted) frames are produced from the most recently reconstructed I or P frame. the DCT coefficients. note that Part 1 of the standard represents an important function because it enables audio and video to be stored or transmitted as a single entity.7 The Parts of the MPEG-1 Standard Part Description 1 2 3 4 5 Addresses the problem of combining one or more data streams from the video and audio parts of the standard with timing information to form a single data stream Defines a coded representation that can be used for compressing both 525 and 625 lines to bit rates of approximately 1. and B. P.

where neighboring images in a video sequence are similar. we will tur n our attention to how intra-frame and inter-frame coding are performed under the standard. Y’s resolution is four times the resolution of the CbCr subsample. It reduces the amount of data by simply discarding some of it. Video Compression In the MPEG-1 standard. the average pixel value is substituted in the appropriate location in the approximated image. Cr. Subsampling After the previously mentioned conversion. with each picture treated as a two-dimensional array of pixels (picture elements or pels). Under MPEG-1. and blue (B) components. that component is encoded with full resolution. A second method requires first computing the average pixel value for each group of several pixels. Figure 3.66 Understanding IPTV the MPEG-1 standard. . which consists of red (R). green (G). Once this is accomplished. This second technique is more complex but normally results in better quality images. MPEG-1 uses coding techniques to reduce both spatial redundancy. video is represented as a sequence of pictures. is converted to Y. This is done because human vision is much less sensitive to chrominance than it is to luminance. the luminance component remains intact. Cb (first chrominance component). This results in a reduction of data without affecting the visual quality of the image. There are two primary methods of subsampling. and temporal redundancy. To obtain a high compression ratio. In Figure 3. which means that the former can be coded more efficiently. whereas the CbCr components are subsampled. subsampling by 2 in both the x and y directions results in every second line and second column being ignor ed.B. Because human sight is more sensitive to Y. each pel is represented as Y. where neighboring samples on a scanning line are similar. Subsampling represents the most basic of all image compression techniques. The color of each pel is defined by three components: Y (luminance). Color Space Conversion Under the MPEG-1 standard. and Cr (second chrominance component). The first method involves copying the original image but only using a portion of the original pixels.3 illustrates the subsample process. each pel in a picture.3. Cb. Cb. This is less correlated than R. Cr. While the color component of the image is subsampled by 2 in both directions. Next.G.

a quantifier matrix (Q[i.j]) occurs. Thus. subsampling color images in this manner reduces the number of bits required to specify the chrominance component by three fourths. To do this.j]) with the same size as (Q[i. Then.3 An example of the subsample process.j]) is used to define quantization steps.j]) = Round (X[i. Thus. the use of quantization enables a lesser number of bits to represent a continuous set of values. the values of the missing in-between pixels can be approximated through interpolation. the receiver or decoder can attempt to restore pixels that were removed due to subsampling. adjacent pixels of the subsampled image are compared. the pel matrix is divided by the quantized value matrix (Xq[i. Each time a pel’s matrix (X[i. Quantization Once color space conversion and subsampling of chrominance information are completed. we obtain (Xq[i. Although the subsampling process relies on the ability of human visual perception to fill in the gaps. Subsampling is obviously nonreversible and thus lossy.j]). As a refresher.Television Concepts 67 Figure 3. quantization refers to the process of approximating the continuous set of values in an image so that they have a finite set of values.j]/Q[i.j]) . the next step is to reduce the resulting data through the process of quantization. In the MPEG-1 standard. Because we can round a real to an integer.

the visual quality of the quantized image will appear to the human eye reasonably similar to the original image. Discrete Cosine Transform Under the MPEG-1 standard. which is expressed mathematically as follows: X1[i.j] = Xq[i. For an m × n matrix S.j] Because the quantization equation uses the round function to obtain the nearest integer value.j].4 An example of the quantization process when Q[i. Figure 3. and two-dimensional DCT is required for the analysis of two-dimensional signals. the .4 illustrates an example of the quantization process on an 8 × 8 block based on Q[i.j] * Q[i.68 Understanding IPTV Non-Quantized 487 1 3 2 1 2 3-3 -5 1 2 1 4 1 0 0 21311125 -2 -1 0 1 1 2 2 2 -1 -2 0 0-1 0 1 2 2 -1 0 0 1 1 2 1 3 -1 0 0 0 0 1 0 -1 -1 -2 -1 0 0 1 0 Quantization Result 293 0 1 1 0 1 1-1 -1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 10100012 -1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0-1 0 0 0 0 0 1 10000010 10000000 0 0 -1 0 0 0 0 0 Figure 3. 8 × 8 pel blocks are converted to another 8 × 8 using the discrete cosine transform. such as images. A onedimensional DCT is used in processing one-dimensional signals. such as speech waveforms.j] equals 2. The difference between the actual and reconstructed values is referred to as the quantization error and explains why MPEG-1 is referred to as a lossy compression method.j] equal to 2. the reconstructed or dequantized value will not be the same as the original value. Through the careful design of Q[i. The inverse of quantization is referred to as inverse quantization. The DCT represents a technique for converting a signal into elementary frequency components.

We can view the DCT as changing the representation of data as an array of 64 values (8 × 8) into a varying signal that can be approximated by a set of 64 cosine functions with a series of amplitudes that can be represented as a matrix of coefficients. the other coefficient values are called AC coefficients. y = 0. then frequency domain data results in low-frequency data being larger and high-frequency data being smaller. the resulting coefficients. The coefficient location (0. run-length encoding (RLE) is used to compress the results of the DCT and quantization process.0) in DCT is referred to as the DC coefficient. This action retains a high level of precision.y )Cos(2Π + 1) 16 Cos(2y + 1) 16 y =0 x=0 7 7 uΠ vΠ (3. RLE is used only on the AC component. To do so. For the DC component. After the application of the DCT process and quantization. DPCM can be viewed as an extension of pulse code modulation in which the difference between the previous output and a new source are encoded . we obtain S(u. the bitstream is encoded as (skip.y )Cos y =0 x =0 m −1 n −1 (2 x + 1)uΠ Cos(2 y + 1)uΠ 2n 2m (3. x. resulting in large quantization steps being used to quantize AC coefficients whereas small quantization steps are used to quantize the DC coefficient. Thus. value) pairs. If there is little variation of data in the time domain. a majority of the AC values will be 0.Television Concepts 69 two-dimensional DCT is applied to each row of the matrix S and then to each column of the result. otherwise C(u) = 1 Through the use of DCT. differential pulse code modulation (DPCM) is used.…m C(u) = 2–1/2 for u = 0.2) where: u. For sequences of 0s. v. when scanned in an applicable zig-zag order. tend to be good candidates for compression.1) where: u = 0. Although the DCT process by itself does not result in compression.v ) = 2C(u ) nm ∑ ∑ S(x.…n v = 0. the transform of S is S(u. =1 otherwise For the two-dimensional 8 × 8 pel DCT transform. 1…7 C(u) = 2–1/2 for u = 0. data in the time domain is converted to data in the frequency domain. where “skip” represents the number of 0s and “value” is the next nonzer o value encountered. In comparison.v ) = 1/ 4 2C(u )C( v ) ∑ ∑ S(x.

.6 illustrates a portion of the zig-zag scanning process applied to an 8 × 8 block and the resulting data. . 0. most AC values will be set to 0. 0. 1. Instead. 293 0 1 –1 0 1 1 0 1 –1 0 0 0 –1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 –1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 –1 0 0 1 2 1 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 Zigzag data: 293. data is further reduced through motion estimation.6 A portion of a zig-zag scan. Motion estimation is used to predict the values of a block of pixels in the current picture. At this point a zig-zag scan process is used to gather more consecutive 0s. 0. 1. A frame is selected as a reference and subsequent frames are predicted from the reference. 0. Motion Estimation Under the MPEG-1 standard. 0.5 Differential pulse code modulation. Figure 3.. –1..5 illustrates the creation of differences between a previous output sequence and a new source sequence. DPCM is used to predict the DC coefficient. Once the zig-zag process is applied to the block. Figure 3. 1. 1. 0. 1. the resulting bitstream is encoded as (skip. Figure 3.. –1.70 Understanding IPTV New Source Previous Output Differential Values 132574103 012483012 1 2 0 1 -1 1 0 -1 1 Figure 3. value) pairs. 0. instead of the actual values of the new source. After the application of DCT and quantization. The value 293 is the DC coefficient and is not coded. This process of video compression using motion estimation is also referred to as inter-frame coding. Note that by encoding the difference instead of the new source values a lesser number of bits is required.

In this example. When both forward and backward predictions are used together. Figure 3. Under the MPEG-1 standard. Next. Variable-Length Coding As a mechanism to further reduce data redundancy. a process referred to as motion compensation. Inter-frame coding or motion estimation occurs by dividing the current frame into macroblocks. Variable-length coding can be considered to represent a statistical coding technique in which short codewords are used to represent . Frame N serves as a reference for motion estimation on Frame N + 1.7 can also be considered to represent a forward prediction process. the reference frame is used to predict the current frame based on the use of the motion vectors. when the reference frame represents a future frame. this technique is referred to as bidirectional prediction. the encoder computes motion vectors and their associated prediction errors. MPEG-1 specifies the use of variable-length coding (VLC) as the last step of the encoding process. a vector that denotes the displacement of the macroblock in the reference frame with respect to the macroblock in the current frame is computed. Figure 3.7 Motion estimation example. motion compensation is the inverse of motion estimation. This vector is referred to as the motion vector and the difference between the two blocks is known as the prediction error. As you might surmise.7 shows an example of the motion estimation process on a 4 × 5 pixel block for ease of illustration. In comparison. During the decoding process the decoder uses this information to reconstruct frames. Thus. the prediction is referred to as backward prediction.Television Concepts 71 Frame N 76 81 79 80 81 78 82 79 80 81 79 82 83 79 80 80 81 81 80 80 Frame N+1 79 80 79 81 81 79 81 79 80 81 80 81 82 80 80 80 81 82 81 80 Motion vector 3 –1 0 1 0 –1 1 –1 –1 0 –1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 Figure 3. typically 8 × 8 or 16 × 16 pixels in size. When a previous frame is used as a reference. Motion Compensation During the reconstruction process. the prediction is referred to as forward prediction. Each macroblock is then compared to a macroblock in the reference frame and the best matching macroblock is selected.

Thus. s2 When we assign codes to symbols based on the probability of symbols occurring in data we create the well-known Huffman code.72 Understanding IPTV frequently occurring values and longer codewords are used to represent less frequently occurring values. One entry represents the possible symbols or original data. The actual encoding of an . The basic coding unit of the I frame is a block. encoding and decoding employ the use of a code table with two entries. s3. If the code alphabet is binary we can assign the following values to s1 through s5. s1. That block is an 8 × 8 matrix. and one of Cr chrominance. When I frames are coded only the spatial redundancy is reduced because the frame serves as a reference for P and B frames. and the second entry stores the corresponding codewords for each data symbol. s1 through s5. s4. For example. so that we obtain an instantaneous code in which no symbol is a pr efix of any other symbol and a decoding tree is easily constructed: s1 = 0 s2 = 10 s3 = 110 s4 = 1110 s5 = 1111 The preceding code is an instantaneous code because no symbol is a prefix of any other symbol. whereas a macroblock consists of six blocks: four of luminance. in the source code 5. let’s assume the following binary data occurs at the receiver: 01101110010… This binary string is instantly decoded as s1. one of Cb chrominance. with the latter predicted from the closest I or P frames. To illustrate its instantaneously decoding capability. consider a VLC with five symbols. we can view an I frame as a beginning or reference for predicted (P) frames and bidirectional (B) frames. Intra-Frame Coding An I (or intra-) frame is a frame coded as a still image without any past history. Under the MPEG-1 standard.

.8 Intra-Frame Encoding Steps Decompose image into RGB components Convert RGB to YCbCr Divide image into macroblocks Perform DCT on each block Quantize each coefficient in block Gather AC value Use DPCM to encode DC value. First. it has to decide how to divide the picture into macroblocks. use VLC to encode it I frame follows an eight-step process.Television Concepts 73 Table 3. When this occurs.9 lists the steps required to perform inter-frame encoding. As you might expect. Once this is accomplished the encoder must decide whether to code each macroblock as an intra. the coding of P and B frames is mor e complex than for I frames because motion-compensated macroblocks may be created. although intra-frame coding can obtain a significant degree of compression. Thus. Note that the encoder has to make a series of decisions when it performs motion compensation. Inter-Frame Coding Inter-frame coding represents the process by which P and B frames are created. Once the frame coding method is determined. it needs to determine the best motion vectors to use.or predicted frame. Table 3. use VLC to encode it Use RLE to encode AC value. it is not as effective as inter-frame coding. it focuses on reducing the data required to represent a single frame.8 summarizes the steps involved in encoding an I frame. the dif ference between the motioncompensated macroblock and the current macroblock is transformed through the use of two-dimensional DCT. the encoder must then determine how to set the quantizer scale so that a balance is obtained between the level of compression obtained and the quality of the decompr essed frame. Instead. which can take advantage of the fact that motion estimation can significantly reduce the amount of data required to represent P and B frames. Intra-frame coding does not examine the differences between frames. Next. The resulting coefficients are quantized and then encoded using a run-length data compression technique. Table 3. resulting in the creation of an array of 8 × 8 transform coefficients. similar to the manner by which JPEG operates.

The encoder searches for matching blocks in those frames. .9 Inter-Frame Encoding Steps Decompose image into three RGB components Convert RGB to YCbCr Perform motion estimation between encoding frame and reference frame Divide image into macroblock consisting of 6 blocks (4 for Y. 1 for Cb. subtracting the average from the block being coded. B. the encoder computes a forward vector and a backward vector and averages the two blocks from the future and past frames. 1 for Cr) Perform DCT on each block Quantize each coefficient Gather AC value Reconstruct frame and store it in frame buffer Apply DPCM to encode DC value and use VLC to encode it Use RLE to encode AC value and then use VLC to encode it B-Frame Coding The B (or bidirectional) frames are predicted from the closest two I or P frames — one in the past and one in the future. and P frames. and P frames. Figure 3. That is.74 Understanding IPTV Table 3.8 Relationships among I.8 illustrates the relationships among I. B. trying three different approaches to determine which approach works best. Note that P frames use motion to define the dependence between continuous Figure 3.

after which VLC is used to encode the compressed AC value. Once a motion compensation mode is selected and required computations are performed. MPEG-1 uses intra-frame and inter-frame coding to reduce the quantity of data that needs to be transmitted. delay. inter-frame coding reduces the encoded bit rate by coding frames with respect to the previous encoded frame (P) and sometimes the subsequent (B) frame. This method of coding results in a higher compression ratio than intra-frame coding but requires a large computational effort. First. Next. This requires an averaging process to form an interpolated motion-compensated macroblock. . Thus. the MPEG-1 standard defines 12 types of macroblocks for B frames. the motioncompensated macroblocks need to be constructed from both future and previous frames. additional delay is introduced in the encoding process because the frame used for backward prediction has to be transmitted to the decoder before the intermediate B frame can be decoded and displayed. the computational complexity. a DCT operation occurs on each block. However. the encoding process requires more types of macroblocks to be considered. Coding decisions.Television Concepts 75 frames whereas the B frame functions as a mechanism for increasing the frame rate without having to significantly increase the bit rate. In addition. After this. In comparison. after which DPCM is applied to encode the DC value. we focused on MPEG-1 video. One advantage associated with B frames is that they reduce noise at low bit rates. Intraframe coding can be considered to represent a starting point for further reduction of data because this results in compressed I frames. bandwidth. when both forward and backward motion vectors are present. Concerning delay. In this section we turn our attention to the manner by which sound is digitized under the MPEG-1 standard. The coding of the B frame involves a series of decisions. MPEG-1 Audio Previously. which are used as a reference for the creation of B and P frames. which provide additional types over P frames due to the introduction of a backward motion vector. each coefficient is quantized and AC values are gathered via a zig-zag scan process. Summary As indicated in this section. VLC is used to encode the DC value and RLE is used to encode the AC value. and buffer requirements are negative aspects associated with the use of B frames.

mp3 file extension was created with the development of MPEG-1 Layer III encoder and decoder software for the Windows operating system. and whether the frame is Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) protected. perceptual coding eliminates those parts of a sound signal that are not applicable to the human ear. the sampling frequency. In effect. Stereo Mode Support MPEG-1 audio supports one. . A low sampling frequency extension included in MPEG-2 extends the data rate downward to 8 kbps. However.and two-channel audio signals. whereas in Layers II and III there are 1152 samples in a block. Perceptual audio coding occurs instead of lossy coding. The header is then followed by the encoded sound data. Those coding schemes are referred to as Layers I. Under the MPEG-1 audio standard. which is divided into data blocks. an MPEG-1 audio encoder transforms sound signals into the frequency domain and eliminates those frequency components that cannot be heard due to their masking by stronger frequency components.76 Understanding IPTV Coding Schemes There are three different coding schemes for digitized sound under the MPEG-1 standard. the remaining audio is quantized into a bitstream. Bit Rate Support MPEG-1 audio supports a wide range of bit rates from 32 kbps to 320 kbps. II. Although Layer III supports a variable bit rate. most MPEG-1 audio decoders support variable bit rates for all layers. an audio frame consists of a header that contains such information as the MPEG layer. Those modes are mono. Each block is encoded within an MPEG-1 audio frame. Similar to video frames. After removal of the portions of audio signals that cannot be heard. and III. the type of information an encoder has to produce and not the encoder is standardized. Four different audio modes are supported by the standard. with an MPEG-1 audio stream consisting of a series of consecutive audio frames. The well-known . the number of channels. In Layer I. blocks consist of 384 audio samples. lower layer support is optional. Audio Layers MPEG-1 audio layers increase in complexity and coding efficiency as they progress from Layer I to Layer II and then to Layer III.

when the Motion Picture Experts Group realized it was necessary to develop a requirement for coding video broadcasts at higher data rates than MPEG-1’s support of bit rates up to 1. Part 2 of MPEG-2 builds on the video compression capabilities defined by the prior MPEG-1 standard. and so on. Under Part 2 the header and bitstreams are defined. The primary purpose of Part 1 is to define a syntax for transporting packets of audio and video bitstreams and a syntax for their synchronization. MPEG-2 MPEG-2 is the most commonly used method to compress audio and video signals. and dual channel. Fast Forward. In addition.Television Concepts 77 stereo. Part 2 also defines a series of profiles that offer different functionalities. Part 4 defines the meaning of conformance for system. ranging from coding high-bit-rate data to pictures with different color resolutions. Part 6 of MPEG-2. video. joint stereo. which has five parts. represents a set of protocols that controls MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 bitstreams. MPEG-2 is a standard with many parts. MPEG-2 extends the stereo audio capabilities of MPEG-1 to multichannel surroundsound coding. A syntax for controlling VCR-style and random-access disks is defined. Overview Similar to MPEG-1. including such commands as Still Frame. . Parts 4 and 5 of MPEG-2 correspond to Parts 4 and 5 of MPEG-1. MPEG-2 has nine parts. with the latter providing two independent channels that can be used to support two languages. Part 3 of MPEG-2 represents a backward-compatible multichannel extension of the MPEG-1 audio standard. and audio. as are the algorithms used to process video. Goto. Digital Storage Media Command and Control (DSM-CC). and Part 5 contains an example C language software encoder and compliant decoder for video and audio. This extension to the MPEG-1 standard dates to 1990. The r esulting MPEG-2 standard is capable of encoding SDTV at bit rates from approximately 3 to 15 Mbps and HDTV at bit rates from 15 to 30 Mbps. Parts of MPEG-2 Part 1 of MPEG-2 addresses how one or more elementary video and audio streams as well as other data can be combined into one or more data streams suitable for storage or transmission. However.5 Mbps. unlike MPEG-1.

Using B frames increases video quality. MPEG-2 video represents an extension to MPEG-1 video. Part 7 removes the constraint of having audio that is backward compatible with MPEG-1. Part 9 of MPEG-2 defines the specification of the Real-Time Interface (RTI) for transporting video-on-demand control signals between set-top boxes and headend servers.10 provides a summary of the key differences between MPEG-2 and MPEG-1. Work on Part 8 was discontinued due to a lack of industry interest. Profiles With MPEG-2 a small number of subsets of the complete toolkit ar e defined. there are no backward or interpreted predictions. are defined. The simple profile uses no B frames. where the overall endto-end delay is approximately 100 ms. Thus. MPEG-2 provides extra algorithms beyond those supported by MPEG-1 that can be used to efficiently code interlaced video at a wide range of data rates. however. such as the picture size or bit rate. Referred to as profiles and levels. The main profile adds support for B frames and is the more widely used profile. which reduces both processing requirements and the delay associated with the computations. Under MPEG-2 two nonscalable profiles.78 Understanding IPTV Part 7 of MPEG-2 represents a specification for a multichannel audio coding algorithm that is not backward compatible with the MPEG-1 audio specification. Thus. Comparison to MPEG-1 As previously mentioned. Table 3. Part 8 introduces a 10-bit video extension whose primary application is for studio video that requires 10 bits of sample precision. a profile represents a subset of algorithmic tools and a level identifies a set of constraints on parameter values.10 MPEG-2 Additions Defines nonscalable and scalable profiles Defines four levels of coding parameters Supports interlaced or progressive video sequences Changes meaning of aspect ratio information variable . This profile is suitable for low-delay applications. such as videoconferencing. simple and main. it adds Table 3.

In comparison. including frame resolution.2 Mbps. . Note that SDTV requires main level.Television Concepts 79 Table 3. referred to as the high profile. frame rate. and buffer size required for each level. The SNR profile adds support for the enhancement layers of DCT coefficient refinement by using a signal-tonoise (S/N) ratio scalability tool. where the terms represent the sampling structure of the digital picture such that chrominance is horizontally subsampled by a factor of 2 relative to the luminance. which required a data rate of 1. The spatial profile adds support for enhancement layers that transport coded images at different resolutions. adds support for coding a 4:2:2 video signal. maximum bit rate. Levels MPEG-2 defines four levels of coding parameter constraints. Video Sequencing Under the MPEG-2 standard. MPEG-1 is limited to the support of progressive sequences because the target application was the compact video disk. the spatial profile provides a way to broadcast HDTV with a main profile-compatible SDTV service.11 MPEG-2 Upper Limit Coding Parameter Constraints Level Frame Width (Pixels) Frame Height (Pixels) Frame Rate (Hz) Bit Rate (Mbps) Buffer Size (Bits) Low Main High-1440 High 352 720 1440 1920 288 576 1152 1152 30 30 60 60 4 15 60 80 475136 1835008 7340032 9781248 approximately 120 ms to the coding delay to support frame reordering. The SNR profile can be used for digital terrestrial television as a method of providing for graceful degradation. The main profile is backward compatible with MPEG-1 video. both interlaced and pr ogressive video sequencing are supported. MPEG-2 also supports two scalable profiles. whereas HDTV requires a high-1440 level.11 lists the upper limits of the constraints for each level. the simple profile is not. A third profile. referred to as the SNR profile and the spatial profile. Table 3.

Another difference concerns the support for scanning quantized coefficients. In addition to the zig-zag scanning process that is supported by both MPEG-2 and MPEG-1. The relationship of the width and height in pixels to the SAR and DAR is as follows: Width/height = DAR/SAR Frame Rate Another difference between MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 is the meaning of the variable used to define the frame rate. In fact. we will . vertical and horizontal range specifiers. have an aspect ratio of width:height (W:H). In addition. under the MPEG-1 standard the aspect ratio refers to the particular pixel. or 2. such as 4:3 or 16:9. where a square pixel used in computer graphics has a pixel aspect ratio. there are a significant number of minute differences between the two standards. 16:9. the MPEG-2 specification uses the video stream header to specify the intended display aspect ratio instead of the pixel aspect ratio. aspect ratio information refers to the overall display aspect ratio. Other Differences In addition to the previously mentioned differences between MPEG-2 and MPEG-1.21:1. In comparison. video pixels. Because the purpose of this chapter is to become acquainted with the manner by which the MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 standards reduce the data transmission requirements of digital video signals. of 1:1. With MPEG-2. The display aspect ratio can be 4:3. which are rectangular. where W and H are not equal. the latter describes the shape of the physically displayed image as measured with a ruler. the former added support for an additional scan pattern that is used to scan quantized coefficients resulting from interlaced source frames. Those differences include the concept of the slice. also known as the sample aspect ratio (SAR). and the ability to perform nonlinear macroblock quantization. The pixel aspect ratio should not be confused with the display aspect ratio (DAR).80 Understanding IPTV Aspect Ratio The MPEG-2 standard changed the meaning behind the variable used to define aspect ratio information as well as significantly reduced the number of defined aspect ratios. under MPEG-1 the variable references the coded frame rate. In comparison. Under MPEG-2 the variable references the intended display rate. which were added under the MPEG-2 standard. under MPEG-2 two new variables were defined that can be used with the frame rate variable to specify a much wider variety of display frame rates.

Overview The H. including providing DVD-quality video at a data rate under 1 Mbps. which increases its computational complexity in order to obtain a greater compression capability. Where it differs from its predecessors is in additional algorithms. The NAL is r esponsible for packing coded data based on the characteristics of the network that will be used as the transport facility.264 standard is a video compression standard that provides a significantly greater compression capability than its predecessors. The result is the achievement of an approximate 50 percent reduction in the bit rate required to transport multimedia in comparison to previously developed standards.264 standard has two distinct layers: the network abstraction layer (NAL) and the video coding layer (VCL). H.264 standard supports both IP and non-IP-based operations. Layers The H. In effect. we will briefly discuss a video coding standard developed by both the ISO/IEC (International Engineering Consortium) and ITU-T (the Telecommunication Standardization Sector of the International Telecommunications Union). Thus. this standard is also known as MPEG-4 AVC (advanced video coding). Goal The primary goal of the H. such as quarter-pixel motion accuracy.Television Concepts 81 not probe deeper into the differences.264 standard is to obtain a high compression ratio while preserving video quality. the NAL manages transport over the network and the VCL represents a networkindependent interface. The H. In comparison.264 multimedia compression standard is similar to its predecessors in that its design is based on a sequence of actions referred to as building blocks. Referred to as the H. The H. Many books and Internet-accessible white papers specialize in this information.264 standard . the H.264 In concluding our discussion of lossy compression.264 standard. including both fixed and wireless operations. the VCL is responsible for generating an efficient representation of the data.

Table 3. DVDs. and content delivery servers streaming data to set-top boxes.264 standard differs in the techniques it uses. Use of an Integer DCT-Like Transform The H. However.264 standard defines the use of an integer DCT-like transform.264 standard predicts the pixel value of a block from adjacent blocks. eliminating the transform mismatch between the encoder and decode that occurs when a conventional fixed-point DCT is used.82 Understanding IPTV Table 3.12 lists some of the more prominent features associated with H.264 standard. coding the difference between the actual value and the predicted value. the H. Nine different intra-prediction modes for macroblocks are supported by the H. Up to seven modes of variable block sizes and 16 motion . motion compensation occurs using variable block sizes. This transform is an approximate of the conventional DCT designed to enable its core functions to be computed via adders and shifters. which enables a better quality result to be obtained during decoding.264 video coding.264 standard. Variable Block Motion Compensation Under the H. the H.12 Key Features of H.264 Video Coding Grouping of macroblocks for intra-prediction Use of an integer DCT-like transform Variable-block motion compensation Quantization parameters can be considered a Swiss Army knife of multimedia compression capability because it can be used with PDAs. In addition.264 standard is similar to other multimedia compression techniques because it uses the spatial and temporal redundancies within and between frames to reduce the quantity of data. the block size of the transform is reduced to 4 × 4. Operation The H. Intra-Prediction To exploit the spatial redundancies between adjacent blocks of a picture. satellite.

which enhances the coding gain obtainable in the quantization process.Television Concepts 83 vectors are supported for each macroblock. with an approximate 12 percent increase in the magnitude of the step size from one quantization parameter to another. As the processing power of chips increases. Under the H. . Although the use of variable block sizes improves prediction capability. Quantization Parameters Perhaps the most important factor in a multimedia compression specification is the coding gain obtained due to quantization. a total of 52 quantization parameters are supported by the standard.264 standard to have an increased level of implementation.264 standard. it also increases the complexity of its codec computations.264 standard supports a wide range of network operations from ADSL to cable television. its higher complexity than MPEG-2 resulted in the vast majority of current set-top boxes supporting the earlier standard. In addition. a nonlinear quantization process is supported. we can reasonably expect the H. Although the H.


video iPod. 4. The first type of video.1 The TCP/IP Protocol Suite When we discuss the TCP/IP protocol suite and IPTV it is important to note that there are two types of video that can be delivered through the use of the TCP/IP protocol suite. First. In comparison. Commencing with a review of the architecture of the TCP/IP protocol suite and its comparison to the well-known seven-layer reference model. 85 . Those types of video can be categorized as realtime and stored for replay. we will review the major characteristics of the TCP/IP protocol suite. video that will be stored and later viewed on a PC. requires the use of a jitter buffer to smooth out delay variations experienced by packets as they flow through an IP network. This section will focus on the TCP/IP protocol suite. we will use our knowledge of the protocol suite to obtain an understanding of the manner by which video can be transported in a TCP/IP environment.Chapter 4 The TCP/IP Protocol Suite and IPTV The purpose of this chapter is twofold. or other device does not require the use of a jitter buffer. Once this is accomplished. real-time. we will then examine the network and common transport layer headers included in the protocol suite.

layers 5 through 7. Figure 4. Instead. and application layers in the ISO reference model. is prefixed to application data. . In actuality. typically either a TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) or UDP (User Datagram Protocol) header. which represent the session.86 Understanding IPTV Overview The TCP/IP protocol suite represents a layered protocol similar to the International Standards Organization (ISO) Open System Interconnection (OSI) seven-layer reference model. In examining Figure 4. but it predates that model and consists of five layers. In addition. the destination port number indicates the application because a receiving device will “listen” on predefined port numbers to support one or more predefined applications associated with certain port numbers. note that the TCP/IP protocol suite does not define a physical layer (layer 1). Figure 4. which indicates the type of application data being transported. a transport layer header. are a single application layer in the TCP/IP protocol suite.1 TCP/IP encapsulated in a LAN header.1. presentation. Both TCP and UDP headers include a source and destination numeric port number identifier.1 illustrates the five layers of the TCP/IP protocol suite during the formation of a LAN frame as well as the relationship between the layers in the ISO reference model and the TCP/IP protocol suite. As a LAN frame is formed in the TCP/IP protocol suite. the source port is normally set to either a value of 0 or a randomly selected value. In comparison. the TCP/IP protocol suite defines a series of address resolution protocols (ARPs) that enable the network layer’s addressing to be adapted to operate on the Media Access Control layer (MAC layer) supported by a particular LAN.

IPTV primarily uses UDP at the transport layer. As indicated in Figure 4. the physical and data link layers are responsible for transporting raw data in the form of binary 1s and 0s. the prefix of a TCP header to an application data unit is referred to as a TCP segment. the . Thus. The network layer is responsible for delivering data to its destination over one or more router “hops” based on the destination IP address in the IP header. Both the formation of TCP segments and UDP datagrams occur at the transport layer of the TCP/IP protocol suite. Because data flows through routers. When an IP header is prefixed to a TCP segment or UDP datagram. This is because TCP corrects for lost packets and transmission errors by retransmission. which is responsible for the delivery of packets. which identify the application being transported through the use of destination port numbers. we will note some of the well-known field assignments. The physical layer can be twisted-pair.1. or a wireless link. However. or unreliable and possibly out of sequence when UDP is used. which represents layer 4 in the ISO reference model. which causes latency that adversely affects realtime applications. as more subscribers select this service. But UDP can be considered an unreliable protocol that depends on the upper-layer application for error detection and correction. In comparison to TCP and UDP headers. when TCP is used. the probability of packets becoming lost was virtually zero. the result is an IP datagram. Returning our attention to Figure 4. whereas the data link layer can be a form of Ethernet or another type of network.1. Although many traditional Internet applications use TCP for the transport layer protocol. the prefix of a UDP header to an application data unit results in the formation of a UDP datagram. this action occurs at layer 3 in the ISO reference model. In comparison.The TCP/IP Protocol Suite and IPTV 87 Segments and Datagrams Several terms are used to reference headers prefixed onto application data units. That delivery can be reliable. in sequence. sequencing of packets. First. it is not suitable for digitized voice and data. Moving up the protocol stack. the IP header denotes the sending and receiving interfaces through the use of source and destination address fields. fiber. and other actions that developers may elect to add to the application. Thus. both an IP header as well as a TCP or UDP header are required to identify both the type of data transported by an IP datagram and the originator and receiver of the datagram. As we probe deeper into the relevant fields of the protocol headers that must be considered when transporting video through firewalls and routes. this layer is sometimes referred to as the routing layer. Because early trials of IPTV had more than enough bandwidth devoted to the video streams. we come to the transport layer.

The IP Figure 4.2 An ICMP message is transported by the prefix of an IP header to the message.88 Understanding IPTV probability of packets being dropped by routers can be expected to increase. The Network Layer Because the data link layer represents a transport facility on a LAN or serial communications on a WAN. resulting in the encapsulation of an ICMP message within an IP datagram. As we probe deeper into the use of the TCP/IP protocol suite to convey video. Both raw UDP and RTP will be discussed later in this chapter. which provides time stamping and sequencing.2. we will commence our investigation of the operation of the TCP/IP protocol suite at the network layer. This means that an ICMP message is prefixed with an IP header. although what is referred to as “raw UDP” is sufficient for delivering video today. we will note how encapsulation of data through a sequence of headers is used to control the flow of video. in the future UDP will more than likely be used in conjunction with the Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP). . Through the prefix of an IP header. ICMP Messages Although not shown in Figure 4. ICMP messages are transported as an IP datagram. as shown in Figure 4. ICMP is used to generate the well-known and frequently used echo request and echo reply messages that are collectively better known as ping messages. Thus. Both routers and hosts use ICMP to transmit reports concerning received datagrams back to the originator.1. In addition. Thus. it is similar to the physical layer in that both are not defined in the TCP/IP protocol suite. ICMP messages convey error and control information such that they represent an integral part of the TCP/IP protocol suite. the transport of an Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) message warrants mention. an IP datagram is formed.

Note that this header consists of 12 fields plus optional options and padding fields.3. the time-to-live field. flags.The TCP/IP Protocol Suite and IPTV 89 Figure 4. flags. For IPv4. The first field in the header is a 4-bit version field. recipient. Those fields include three that provide fragmentation control (identification. but also enables the originator. and the source and destination address fields. header includes a series of fields that controls the delivery of data. we will limit our discussion of the header fields to the delivery of video. and fragment offset). Those are the identification. we will focus our attention on the IPv4 header even though the more modern IPv6 header is considered to represent a replacement for the prior network layer protocol. and routers between the source and destination to agree on the format of the datagram. The IPv4 Header The IPv4 header is illustrated in Figure 4. . Although all of the fields in the IPv4 header are important. the value of the version field is binary 0100 or decimal 4. We will also focus on IP addressing and the subnet mask because several methods based on addressing can be used to deliver video over an IP network.3 The IPv4 header. the protocol field. in a video operating environment. Because IPv4 is currently used by more than 95 percent of all TCP/IP users. and fragment offset fields. This field not only specifies the version of the IP in use. Fragment Control Fields Previously we noted that three fields in the IP header control fragmentation. we need to concentrate on several IP header fields. Thus.

let’s move on and discuss the TTL field. When a datagram is fragmented. this bit is referred to as the “more fragments bit. Thus. the datagram is sent to the great bit bucket in the sky. Thus. the value of the TTL field is decremented by 1 as the datagram reaches a router.” The third field associated with fragmentation is the 13-bit fragment offset field. Similarly.” The low-ordered bit in the flags field indicates whether the fragment is the last one or if more fragments follow. the TTL field is used to denote the number of router hops a datagram can traverse. . a datagram could remain on the Internet. Now that we understand the use of the three fields of the IP header associated with fragmentation. this bit is referred to as the “do not fragment bit. whereas a value of 17 would indicate it is transporting UDP. The next field in the IP header that is associated with fragmentation is the flags field. the TTL field provides a mechanism to prevent a datagram from continuously flowing over the Internet due to a variety of erroneous conditions. The two low-ordered bits in this 3-bit field are used to control fragmentation. with the initial value being 0. the receiving device will reassemble the fragments based on the identification and source IP address field values because the contents of both fields uniquely identify a sequence of fragments generated by a common source. to indicate the first fragment of a datagram. At the destination. When the value of the TTL field reaches 0. The first bit setting is used to denote if a datagram can be fragmented.90 Understanding IPTV The 16-bit identification field contains a unique number that serves to identify the datagram. Protocol Field The purpose of the 8-bit protocol field is to identify the higher-layer protocol that is transported by the IP header as a datagram. in seconds. each fragment is prefixed with an IP header that has the same number in the identification field. For example. Because setting this bit to binary 1 indicates that the datagram should not be fragmented. the protocol field will have a value of 1 when IP transports an ICMP message as an IP datagram. The purpose of this field is to denote the offset of the fragment from the original datagram. the protocol field will have a value of 6 when it transports TCP. Time-to-Live Field The original intention of the time-to-live (TTL) field was to specify how long. The value of this field is specified in units of 8 bytes. That is. Because it is extremely difficult to time synchronize all routers.

Source and Destination IP Address Fields Both the source and destination IP address fields are 32 bits in length under IPv4. Class D addresses represent multicast addresses. Class D addresses used for multicast fall into the address block 224. whereas a Class C address has the largest number of definable networks but the smallest number of definable hosts. and C addresses are subdivided into network and host address portions and are collectively referred to as classful IPv4 addresses.0. where source traffic is transmitted to multiple receivers as a bandwidth conservation method.255. a Class B address is identified by a binary 1 followed by a binary 0 in its second bit position.255. B. Similarly. and a Class C address is identified by the bit sequence 110 in its first three bit positions. which is used for experimental purposes. Thus. the network portion of the address increases while the host portion of the address decreases. Class A. .1 Examples of IPv4 Protocol Field Assigned Values Decimal Value Keyword Protocol Defined 1 6 8 17 41 46 58 ICMP TCP EGP UDP IPv6 RSVP IPv6 = ICMP Internet Control Message Protocol Transmission Control Protocol Exterior Gateway Protocol User Datagram Protocol IPv6 Resource Reservation Protocol ICMP for IPv6 Table 4. As we move from a Class A network address to a Class B and then a Class C address.255. this enables 256 (0 through 255) protocols to be assigned. referred to as Class A through Class E. Because the first bit in a Class A network is set to a binary 0. In examining Figure 4.0.1 lists seven examples of the assignment of IP numbers. Those IP addresses are further broken down into five classes. the first three bits in a Class D address are set to indicate that the address represents a multicast address. a Class A address has the smallest number of definable networks but the largest number of definable hosts.4 illustrates the three classful IPv4 address formats. note that a Class A address is identified by a binary 0 in its first bit position.0 through 239. Thus. Figure 4.4.The TCP/IP Protocol Suite and IPTV 91 Table 4. The fifth type of IPv4 address is a Class E address. Because the protocol field in the IP header is an 8-bit byte. However. this reduces the number of Class A networks to a maximum of 127.

the general structure of a Class C address becomes (N) (N) (N) (H) Due to a significant increase in the number of devices being connected to the Internet. further reducing available Class A network addresses to a maximum of 126. classful addresses have become a rare and valuable resource. Thus. we can note the general structure of a Class A address as follows: (N) (H) (H) (H) As previously noted.0. each successive classful address byte increases the number of hosts that can be defined on a network while decreasing the number of unique networks that can be defined.4 Classful IPv4 address formats. General Classful Address Structure Using N to represent a network byte and H to represent a host byte.92 Understanding IPTV Figure 4. Although such techniques as network address translation (NAT) .0. the 127. the general structure of a Class B address becomes (N) (N) (H) (H) Similarly.0 address represents the well-known loopback address.

Figure 4. Thus. For example. This in turn would save one Class C address. consider an organization that has two LANs — one with 15 workstations used by accountants and one with 20 workstations used by engineers. each permitting 256 unique hosts (0 through 255) to be identified.The TCP/IP Protocol Suite and IPTV 93 and the use of private IP addresses behind a NAT device have extended the useful life of IPv4. Thus. because a host address of 0 could be confused with the basic network address and a host address of 255 is reserved as a broadcast address (hexFF or all 1s is 255). the maximum number of distinct hosts that can be supported on a Class C network address is reduced by 2 to 254. The subnetting process results in the subdivision of the host portion of a classful IPv4 address into a subnet portion and a host portion. Without subnetting. the organization would use two Class C addresses. . subnetting has no effect on routing on the Internet because the network portion of the address is not modified. let’s turn our attention to these topics. which could be used to support up to 254 additional workstations. the use of a single Class C address would accommodate the 35 workstations of the two LANs. However. with the network portion of the address remaining as is. the process of subnetting has allowed organizations to considerably conserve on the use of IP addresses.5 The subnetting process converts a two-level address into a three-level address.5 illustrates the Figure 4. further extending the useful life of IPv4. Thus. The key to the ability to assign a common IP address to multiple networks is the process of subnetting and the use of the subnet mask. Subnetting Subnetting represents the process of subdividing a classful IPv4 address into two or more separate entities. for the previously mentioned organization with two LANs.

64. which is formed by a sequence of binary 1s to extend .00xxxxxx Subnet 1 11000000. this reduces the number of hosts on each subnet to 26 – 2. subnet. and host portions of the Class C address would appear as illustrated in Figure 4.01001110. 78.78.5 it is obvious that as the number of subnets increases the number of hosts that can reside on each subnet decreases. we can have up to 2 6 – 2. which is more than sufficient for each LAN.01000000.01001110. distinct hosts on each subnet. resulting in 64 distinct values that range from 000000 to 111111. Assuming the Class C IP address provided to the organization is 198. we need two bits for the subnet. an unanswered question concerns how one determines the subnet within an address.0.94 Understanding IPTV Network 198.64. reducing the number of bits used to represent a host on each subnet to 6 (8 – 2).01000000. Thus. which converts a two-level classful address into a threelevel address.6 An example of the relationships among the Class C network address of 198. or 62.01001110 .78. As an example of the use of subnetting. Let’s further assume that your organization can obtain only a single Class C address. which would eliminate the need for three additional Class C addresses. with a maximum of 25 hosts on any network.01001110.6. In examining Figure 4. Because there are four LANs. Because a subnet is similar to a classful network address in that it cannot have a host address of all 0s or all 1s.11xxxxxx Figure 4. and the host portion of each subnet.6. The Subnet Mask Although the process of subnetting a classful IPv4 address is relatively straightforward. subnetting process. 64. The answer to this question is the use of the subnet mask. let’s assume an organization has four LANs located in a building.10xxxxxx Subnet 3 11000000. note that the host portion of each subnet is represented by six bit positions indicated by Xs. then the relationships among the network address.01000000. let’s focus our attention on how that one Class C address can be subnetted.0. 0 Subnet 0 11000000.01xxxxxx Subnet 2 11000000.01000000. or 62. four subnets. From Figure 4. Thus.

the subtraction of the number of bits in the network portion of the address from the number of 1s in the subnet mask indicates the number of bit positions in the subnet. the subnet mask required to have a two-position subnet becomes: 11111111. Thus. the router obtains the ability to transfer the datagram onto the correct subnet. Then. noting that the first two bits in the byte are set. Because the first few bits in a classful IPv4 address identify the address type. prior to doing so. it is important to obtain an appreciation of the capability of ICMP messages. This enables the router to examine the first two bits in the host portion of the address to determine the subnet onto which the datagram should be routed. For example.64. Understanding ICMP Messages Although it is true that some ICMP messages can be used to exploit network defenses. Because ICMP messages are used to perform a variety of functions ranging from providing the foundation for the well-known ping test to determining the subnet mask.78.192. the router notes that it has 26 set 1 bits. By subtracting the number of bits in the network address (24) from the length of the set bits in the subnet mask (26). That IP datagram consists of an IP header used to transport an ICMP message. The receipt of a datagram with the network address 198. Thus. Now that we understand the use of the IP header.11000000 In dotted decimal notation the subnet mask would be entered as 255. consider the previous example in which the network address was 198.0. the router determines that the subnet is 2 bits in length. the router examines the first byte of the network address. by examining the destination address in the IP datagram in conjunction with the subnet mask. This indicates that the address is a Class C address and tells the router that the network portion of the address is contained in the first 24 bits or 3 bytes. Examining the subnet mask.64. it is also true that preventing all ICMP messages from flowing through routers and firewalls can result in lost productivity. However. a logical follow-up is to move up the TCP/IP protocol stack to the transport layer. this also indicates the initial subdivision of the addr ess between its network portion and its host portion.255.11111111. let’s turn our attention to this topic.The TCP/IP Protocol Suite and IPTV 95 the network portion of a classful address through the subnet series of bits. First. Then. In this .11111111.255.78.0 by a router to which the previously mentioned LANs are connected initiates a series of steps to ensure traffic flows to the correct subnet. we need to turn our attention to a special type of IP datagram that we briefly discussed previously in this chapter.

A host or router will transmit an echo request to a distant device.2 ICMP Type Field Values Type Field Value Defined ICMP Message Type 0 3 4 5 8 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Echo reply Destination unreachable Source quench Redirect Echo request Time exceeded Parameter problem Time-stamp request Time-stamp reply Information request Information reply Address mask request Address mask reply section we review the operation of 13 actively used ICMP messages. which defines the ICMP message.2 lists 13 actively used ICMP messages and their type field values. Both echo request and echo reply messages are used by the well-known ping application. and a 16-bit checksum field. That device. The three fields common to each ICMP message include an 8-bit type field. Concerning the latter. which is used to provide integrity for the message. Echo Request and Echo Reply The ICMP echo request (type 8) and echo reply (type 0) messages are used to test if a destination is active and reachable. with the remaining fields in a particular message structured based on the specific message. each ICMP message commences with the use of three common fields. The reason the destination was unreachable is . In the following paragraphs we will discuss the use of ICMP messages. if both reachable and active. This review will make us aware of the benefits associated with ICMP messages as well as provide us with a better understanding as to why we may wish to allow certain messages to flow through routers and firewalls. which may provide additional information about a particular message type.96 Understanding IPTV Table 4. Table 4. an 8-bit code field. will respond with an echo reply. Destination Unreachable An ICMP message with a type field value of 3 represents a destination unreachable message.

That is. assume a router connects two large domains on the Internet to a third.The TCP/IP Protocol Suite and IPTV 97 Table 4. the packet arrival rate from two domains destined to the third may exceed the packet processing rate of the router. routers and hosts will transmit one source quench message for every datagram they discard. Sometimes a bit of coordination with security personnel can result in the unblocking of one or more ICMP messages. Table 4. . which will enable you to obtain the results you seek from the use of such messages. Typically.3 Destination Unreachable Code Field Values Code Field Value Meaning 0 1 2 3 4 5 Network unreachable Host unreachable Protocol unreachable Port unreachable Fragmentation needed Source route failed further defined by a numeric entry in the message’s code field. many organizations configure their routers and firewalls to block all or most ICMP messages. When this situation occurs. note that when datagrams arrive at a device at a rate higher than its processing rate. Routers can be configured to transmit a network or host unreachable message when they cannot route or deliver an IP datagram. the device discards them. To understand the use of source quench. The type field in the resulting ICMP message identifies the message as a destination unreachable message and the code field value defines why the datagram could not be delivered. This message is used by routers and hosts to control the flow of data. which informs the source to slow down its datagram transmission rate. the device that discards the datagrams transmits an ICMP source quench message.3 lists the code field defined values and their meanings for a destination unreachable message. Source Quench An ICMP message type of 4 represents a source quench message. This explains how packets can be lost. At various times throughout the day. By default. The router then is forced to discard or drop packets. If this situation occurs it will adversely affect your ability to determine certain conditions by which ICMP messages could explain why datagrams could not reach their destination cannot be determined.

Time Exceeded The ICMP time exceeded message is generated by a router when it has to discard a datagram. Because many hackers use this message to play havoc with an organization’s network. the fields within these messages can be used to estimate the transit time of datagrams between two devices. a router will both discard the datagram and transmit an ICMP time exceeded message back to the source when this situation occurs.98 Understanding IPTV Redirect A type field value of 5 in an ICMP message denotes a redirect. The information request message is used to obtain an IP address for a network to which a device is attached. this ICMP message serves as an alternative to the use of . Time-Stamp Request and Reply From Table 4. it is commonly blocked by routers and firewalls. A router or host that encounters a problem in interpreting the fields within an IP header will return an ICMP parameter problem message to the source. This message will include a pointer that identifies the byte in the IPv4 header that caused the problem. When a router detects that it is using a non-optimum route. another pair of ICMP messages are types 15 and 16. Parameter Problem An ICMP type field value of 12 is used to define a parameter problem. Information Request and Reply From Table 4. A second reason for the transmission of a time exceeded message is when fragment r eassembly time is exceeded. A code field value of 0 indicates a time-to-live count value was exceeded. whereas a value of 1 denotes that the fragment reassembly time was exceeded.2 you will note that ICMP message types 13 and 14 represent time-stamp request and time-stamp response messages. In addition.2. it will transmit an ICMP redirect message to the host. information request and information reply. Both messages are used to synchronize the clocks of two devices. respectively. Because the time-to-live (TTL) field in the IP header is decremented by 1 when a datagram flows through a router and is discarded when the value reaches 0. Thus.

2 represent an address mask request (17) and an address mask reply (18) message. As an example of the use of TCP and UDP. we noted that the 8-bit protocol field defines the transport layer protocol header that follows the IP header. This pair of ICMP messages enables a device to learn its subnet mask. Once encapsulated.The TCP/IP Protocol Suite and IPTV 99 a reverse ARP. let us move up the protocol stack and turn our attention to the transport layer. either from the same source IP address or from different source addresses. where the IP header is added to form an IP datagram. The Transport Layer In our prior examination of the fields within the IP header. For either situation the router will respond with the address mask in an ICMP address mask reply message. For this . which is then encapsulated with a transport header that identifies the application. UDP is an unreliable. In comparison. Thus. TCP vs. two protocols account for the vast majority of transport layer activity: TCP and UDP. The information reply message functions as a response to the information request. the TCP segment or UDP datagram is passed to the network layer. the transport layer resides above the network layer but below the application layer. UDP Although the protocol field within the IPv4 header is capable of defining 256 transport layer protocols. TCP is a reliable. Now that we have an appreciation for ICMP messages as well as the fields within the IP header. To accomplish this task. receiving application data. That transmission can be either as a broadcast if the device was not previously configured with the router’s IP address or as a unicast message if it was configured with the address. A device first transmits an ICMP address mask request to a router. the transport layer protocol includes a destination port field in which a numeric entry defines the application data being transported. connection-oriented protocol that includes a flow control mechanism. Address Mask Request and Reply The last two type field values listed in Table 4. we can consider Voice-over-IP (VoIP). The transport layer permits multiple applications to flow to a common destination. best-effort protocol that depends on the application layer to add such functions as error detection and correction and flow control.

The TCP Header Figure 4. For the purpose of this book.100 Understanding IPTV application. a response from the destination is required and the dialed digits arrive error free. Now that we have an appreciation for the difference between these two popular transport layer protocols. allows digital voice to flow to its destination and small snippets of. In comparison.7 The TCP header. which is an unreliable. reliable protocol. TCP would be used to transport the dialed number and UDP would be used to transport digitized voice as a sequence of small periods of digitized data. The sequence number field enables datagrams received out of order to be correctly sequenced. The UDP Header Previously we noted that the UDP protocol represents a best-effort transport protocol that depends on the application layer for such functions as Figure 4. Because TCP is a connection-oriented. UDP. connectionless protocol. 20 ms of voice can be lost without adversely af fecting the reconstructed conversation at the destination.7 illustrates the fields within the TCP header. with the destination field used to define the application being transported. say. which is focused on IPTV. we will limit our discussion of TCP and UDP headers primarily to their source and destination port fields. and other fields in the header perform flow control (window and acknowledgement) and data integrity (checksum). Included in the header are source and destination port fields. . let’s examine the headers of each.

the destination port field contains a value that identifies a user process or application for the receiving station whose IP address is denoted by the destination IP address field value in the IP header. Because there are three types of port numbers that can be used in the TCP and UDP port fields. let’s turn our attention to those two fields. The source port field number is supposed to denote the application associated with the data generated by the originating station. Port Numbers Both TCP and UDP headers. the UDP header includes 16-bit source and destination ports that identify the process or application being transported. the use of the port field enables multiple applications to flow to a common destination. it would place port number 80 in the destination port field. In comparison. Later. as illustrated in Figures 4. Source and Destination Port Fields For both TCP and UDP. flow control and error detection and correction. the HTTP session could be followed by a Telnet session. Because a pair of origination and destination address data flows can occur on multiple destination port numbers. when a station initiates an HTTP session.8 The UDP header. with the originating station placing port number 23 in the destination port field. the UDP header is streamlined in comparison to the TCP header.The TCP/IP Protocol Suite and IPTV 101 Figure 4. Thus.7 and 4. which are common in both headers. enabling port numbers to range . For example. However. contain 16-bit source and destination port fields. Figure 4. Similar to the TCP header. most source port field values are either set to 0 if the source port is not used or represent a random number generated by the originator. let’s examine port numbers in more detail. the source and destination fields are each 16 bits in length. as you might expect.8.8 illustrates the fields in the TCP header. Thus.

Port numbers in this range are commonly used by vendors implementing proprietary network applications. which are subdivided into three ranges referred to as well-known ports. registered ports. Registered Ports Port numbers beyond 1023 can be used by any process or application.4 provides a few examples of well-known and registered port numbers. Although a vendor can register an application or process with the IANA and obtain a port number for the use of the process or application. Such ports are used to indicate the transportation of standardized process and for the most part have the same assignments for both TCP and UDP. Well-known or assigned ports are in the range of 0 to 1023. This results in a “universe” of 65536 port numbers. Well-Known Ports Well-known ports are also referred to as assigned ports because their assignment is controlled by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). such as file transfers (FTP) and remote access (Telnet). Ports used by TCP typically provide connections that transport relatively long-term connections requiring error detection and correction. registered ports primarily allow other vendors to develop compatible products and end users can configure equipment to use such products. Although some services and applications may be familiar to . which we will discuss in the next section because it can adversely affect certain IPTV operations. resulting in their use of ports 49152 through 65535. doing so in a haphazard manner could result in incompatibilities between vendor products. However. the registration does not carry the weight of law. For example. That is. providing 1024 possible assignments. To alleviate this potential problem. Dynamic Ports Dynamic ports begin where registered ports end. the IANA allows vendors to register their use of port numbers. A second common use of dynamic port numbers is for NAT. it becomes a relatively easy task to both adjust a router access list or firewall configuration to enable the flow of datagrams used by the new application as well as purchase and use other vendor products that perform a similar function through the use of the same registered port. and dynamic or private ports. Table 4. resulting in port number values from 1024 to 49151 allocated for registered ports. when a new application uses a registered port number.102 Understanding IPTV in value from 0 to 65535.

In addition. it makes more efficient use of bandwidth. such as videos.4 Examples of Well-Known and Registered TCP and UDP Services and Port Utilization Service Port Type Port Number Well-Known Ports Remote job entry Echo Quote of the day File transfer (data) File transfer (control) Telnet Simple Mail Transfer Protocol Domain Name Server Trivial File Transfer Protocol Finger Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure HTTP AppleTalk Filing Protocol Kazaa Registered Ports Lotus Notes Novell Group Wise H. A central server. . Because Bit Torrent enables uploads and downloads to occur simultaneously. a few deserve a bit of explanation. referred to as a tracker. 6969 6970–6999 16384–32767 readers. instead of an “all or nothing” approach to downloading. coordinates the actions of peers. because large files. the use of Bit Torrent enhances the availability of popular files.323 host call MSN Messenger Yahoo Messenger: voice chat Yahoo Messenger Yahoo Messenger: Web cams AOL Instant Messenger Bit Torrent RTP-QT4 (Apple QuickTime) RTP TCP TCP and UDP TCP TCP TCP TCP TCP TCP and UDP UDP TCP TCP TCP TCP and UDP TCP and UDP 5 7 17 20 21 23 25 53 69 79 80 443 548 1214 TCP TCP and UDP TCP and UDP TCP TCP and UDP TCP TCP TCP TCP and UDP UDP UDP 1352 1677 1720 1863 5100–5001 5050 5100 5190 6881–6889. are broken into smaller pieces.The TCP/IP Protocol Suite and IPTV 103 Table 4. Bit Torrent represents an application and peer-to-peer File Transfer Protocol (FTP) that sends portions of files from one client to another.

31. private IPv4 addresses into a registered address. Then.255. Recognition of the fact that some organizations would not directly connect their workstations to the Internet resulted in three address blocks being reserved for private Internet use.5. the use of a classful IP address could result in wasting many host addresses on a network. As the use of the Internet expanded. your organization would translate RFC 1918 addresses to a single public IP address.5 RFC 1918 Reserved IPv4 Addresses Address Blocks 10. By combining an address translator to map or translate unregistered. each with 200 workstations.168.255 192. A second protocol worth noting is the RTP. Then. For example.0–192.0. which are listed in Table 4.255. you could use five private IP Class C network addresses from Table 4.104 Understanding IPTV a file may be split into hundreds of pieces that can be obtained from many sites. Those address blocks. Because only a portion of an organization’s workstations might require access to the Internet at a particular period of time. the address translator notes the port number returned in the header and uses that number to perform a table lookup. noting the RFC 1918 address associated with the port number.0. the address translator converts the Class C public address in the IP header’s destination IP address field to the Table 4.0. using an address translator. suppose your organization has five LANs.168.5.0. Network Address Translation Network address translation (NAT) was originally developed as a tool to extend the life of scarce IPv4 addresses. Next. to ensure each translation is unique.0–10. Instead of assigning each workstation a scarce IPv4 public address.0–172.255 . which provides end-toend network transport functions suitable for applications transmitting realtime data. it became possible to conserve IP addresses.255. without a technique to differentiate one translation from another. over multicast and unicast network services.255 172. such as audio and video. the ability of organizations to obtain IPv4 addresses became more difficult. Thus. are also defined in RFC 1918. when a response occurs. the address translator uses or assigns a high port number to the source port in the TCP or UDP header and enters the RFC 1918 IP address and the port number into a table.16.255. havoc would result. Obviously.

although representing a transfer of data over an IP network. each feed is provided a unique channel number to enable a set-top box to select the feed the person controlling the box . In addition. Broadcast When video is broadcast. The latter two methods are used for the real-time viewing of a movie. we will focus our attention primarily on this topic. Although NAT can considerably economize on the use of scarce IPv4 addresses. This type of translation is referred to as port-address translation and is performed by many routers and firewalls.The TCP/IP Protocol Suite and IPTV 105 recently obtained RFC 1918 address and forwards the datagram to the private IP network. broadcast. and video on demand (VOD). this section will also explore its use. In this section we will first discuss the two major delivery methods used by IPTV. This means that you could not interconnect two networks that use the same RFC 1918 private network addresses. Because the file transfer of video. 4. because doing so would result in routing problems on each network. because the RTP is essential for the delivery of video. television show. which precludes real-time viewing. Thus. Because the MPEG-2 standard is the most common method used for the delivery of video over an IP network. I will simply state that the transfer can occur via FTP or through the use of the previously described Bit Torrent application. This will be followed by a discussion of the different standards used to encode and deliver video. Those methods include delivery as a file transfer.2 Delivering IPTV Now that we have an appreciation for the TCP/IP protocol suite. is used for playback and not immediate viewing. it can create problems when some type of tunneling is employed and the inner IP datagram remains as is. or other type of visual performance. we will turn our attention to the delivery of video via that protocol suite. you would need to change the network address on one of the interconnected networks. Delivery Methods There are three basic methods by which video can be delivered via an IP network. in the remainder of this section we will focus our attention on the use of broadcast and video-on-demand technologies to provide an IPTV capability. with the outer IP header operated on by NAT. concert. Instead.

when a person uses the set-top box to select a channel the box will establish a multicast connection to the broadcasted channel. including setting a channel number and multicast address group to which set-top boxes will join whenever a viewer selects a channel using the box. In actuality. with the latter used for VOD operations. The media servers support the delivery of both multicast and unicast. such as providing selected content to subscribers as a VOD product. In addition to billing subscribers. or another show.9 IPTV can be delivered via broadcast and unicast video-on-demand (VOD) transmission. which packetizes the video stream. Each source is input into a broadcast encoder. eliminating the need for all digitized channels to flow into the subscriber’s home.9 illustrates the delivery of video via the broadcasting of channels.106 Understanding IPTV Figure 4. as they now do when cable TV is used. The broadcast source can be movies previously stored on a server as well as a live feed from an on-air television station showing the Summer Olympic basketball finals. . The top portion of Figure 4. set-top box) wishes to view. a subscriber management system is used to perform that function. The broadcast system can be thought of as a series of media servers that host a number of broadcast streams. Because billing for services represents an important aspect of any IPTV operation. (STB. the subscriber management system will normally provide such additional functions as broadcasting an electronic programming guide and supporting interactive set-top box features. a soap opera.

some satellite television systems. In comparison. whose customers are just receiving new set-top boxes or will use Pentium 4 or dual-core-based PCs to view video. such as Direct TV. Video Delivery Standards Several standards can be used for providing an IPTV video delivery system. For either method. In fact. from slow-speed dialup to high-bandwidth fiber-to-the-home connections. In 2002 Apple Computer added support for MPEG-4 to its QuickTime technology and worked with such leading vendors as Cisco. enabling more channels to be delivered within the frequency spectrum they are authorized to use. the upgrade to MPEG-4. have adopted MPEG-4 for the delivery of digital television due to its picture quality at lower data rates. Sun Microsystems. IBM. and 20 other companies to form the Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA) to ensure that an MPEG-4 media stream created with one vendor’s product will run on another vendor’s player. newly emerging IPTV providers. Although both MPEG-4 and H. the subscriber management station will display a list of VOD events from which a subscriber can select a program. with the latter representing a modification to the earlier standard that is commonly used in cable TV set-top boxes due to its enhanced data compression capability. This means that for existing cable providers that have a large installed base of MPEG-2 set-top boxes. the response flows as a sequence of unicast datagrams to the IP address of the set-top box or personal computer.264 standard and is equivalent to the MPEG-4 part 16 standard. their viewing cost. However. and an access code to retrieve selected events. the flow of IP datagrams will represent a unicast transmission to the subscriber’s set-top box or personal computer. MPEG-4 scales to transport media at any data rate.264compatible devices can be a difficult task.The TCP/IP Protocol Suite and IPTV 107 Video on Demand The lower portion of Figure 4. The international version of MPEG-4 is better known as the H. which was finalized in 1998 and became an international standard in 2000.9 illustrates the integration of VOD into an IPTV communications system. Now that we have an appreciation for commonly used . can be more readily served with this newer technology. A newer MPEG standard is MPEG-4. In fact. which can list hundreds of events. it’s also possible for an IPTV operator to insert a card with the subscriber’s monthly bill. they are much more computing intensive. Because VOD responds to a query generated by a subscriber through the set-top box or PC. Philips. The two most popular standards are MPEG-1 and MPEG-2. MPEG-4 is designed to deliver DVD-quality video similar to MPEG-2 but at lower data rates. Typically.264 provide a considerable enhancement over MPEG-2.or H.

Using MPEG-2 One of the most popular methods used to deliver IPTV is through the encapsulation of MPEG-2 using UDP at the transport layer. When UDP/RAW is used. When this situation occurs. including Sender changed Missing synchronization bytes Incorrect packet size Time-outs Excessive jitter Improper UDP bit rate Figure 4.10 Delivering MPEG-2 via IP. the transport stream is referred to as UDP/RAW. . let’s turn our attention to the manner by which video is delivered when MPEG-2 is used as the compression scheme.10 illustrates the use of RTP for transporting MPEG-2based IPTV. UDP can optionally use the RTP to provide applicationlevel framing that identifies the payload being transported and provides a sequence number for each RTP data packet. UDP/RAW and UDP/RTP Although Figure 4. which allows packet loss to be detected.108 Understanding IPTV video delivery standards. several error and informational conditions can be detected. When this encapsulation occurs. it is important to note that video can also be transported directly in UDP packets without the use of RTP.

or duplicate packets. First we will examine the overhead associated with the use of this protocol. as shown in Figure 4.3 percent. the overhead at the network layer becomes 28/1316. the resulting overhead becomes 70/1316. it may do nothing. Concerning the latter. it also allows a receiver to compensate for the occurrence of lost packets. during which time the screen will appear blank or repeat the previously received frame. The IP. because UDP/RTP enables a receiver to determine if a packet is lost. the result could be either a smooth or jerky transition. packets of incorrect size. Because RTP is an integral part of the delivery process that enables lost packets transporting video to be reconstructed. Figure 4. the latter provides the ability to compensate for such error conditions as packets being received out of order. Then we will investigate the protocol in detail.10. as shown in Figure 4. Thus. With the 12 bytes of the RTP header eliminated. or approximately 3 percent. or approximately 5.The TCP/IP Protocol Suite and IPTV 109 When RTP is used with UDP.10 illustrates the encapsulation process that enables MPEG-2 video to be delivered via IP datagrams. When UDP/RAW is used. If the IP datagram flows on an Ethernet network that has a 26-byte header and 4-byte trailer. the resulting overhead . RTP Overhead In examining the encapsulation of an MPEG-2 data stream. When UDP/RAW within an IP datagram flows on an Ethernet network. These newly detectable error conditions using UDP/RTP include Determining packets received out of order Detecting duplicate packets Determining if a packet is lost Determining packets that have an incorrect size Although both UDP/RAW and UDP/RTP can be used to transport video. or approximately 2. In addition. because the next received frame may or may not be considerably different from the repeated frame. This allows detection of several additional error conditions beyond those detectable when UDP/RAW is used. let’s turn our attention to this protocol. the overhead at the network layer is 40/1316. and RTP headers result in 40 bytes of overhead while 1316 bytes of video are transported via MPEG-2. the RTP header is eliminated.1 percent. packets can be time stamped and identified through the use of a sequence number.10. Depending on the software used by a receiver. UDP. A time stamp enables a receiver to perform synchronization as well as to resolve jitter due to delays a packet experiences as it flow through a network. note the overhead of the protocol at the network layer.

Table 4. which is not backward compatible with version 1.1 5. video. As previously mentioned. the addition of RTP to the protocol stack does not result in an excessive amount of overhead. Now that we have an appreciation for the overhead resulting from the use of RTP.11 illustrates the RPT version 2 header.4 becomes 58/1316. or approximately 4.4 percent.6.6 Comparing Overhead of UDP/RAW and UDP/RTP Protocol Network Layer Data Link Layer UDP/RTP UDP/RAW 3. RTP version 1 is currently limited to legacy operations.3 4. it is incumbent on network operators to configure routing queues to prioritize predefined traffic to enable real-time video to reach its destination with minimal delay.6 compares the overhead associated with the use of UDP/RAW and UDP/RTP. The RTP Header Figure 4. and simulation data via multicast or unicast network services. Note that for both the network and data link layers the difference in overhead between UDP/RTP and UDP/RAW is less than 1 percent. and all modern applications are written for version 2. it does not address the reservation of resources nor does it guarantee quality of service (QoS) for real-time data. As noted in Table 4. each of which we will briefly discuss. Although RTP provides sequencing and time stamping of data. let’s focus our attention on the protocol itself. The RTP version 2 header consists of ten fields. this field is always set to binary 10 or decimal 2.110 Understanding IPTV Table 4. Thus. . Version (Ver) Field The first two bits in the header represent the version field. For RTP version 2. RTP provides end-to-end network transport functions that facilitate the delivery of such real-time data as audio. The Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) RTP is identified in the UDP header with a value of 5004 in the port field.0 2.

setting this bit enables frame boundaries to be marked in a stream of packets. Up to 15 contributing sources can be defined. when set. Otherwise. Thus.11 The RTP version 2 header. Padding (P) Field The padding field is 1 bit in length. the value of this field is set to 0. the receiver uses this value to determine the number of padding bytes to ignore. This field is set to a binary 1 when one or more additional padding bytes that are not part of the payload are added to the packet.The TCP/IP Protocol Suite and IPTV 111 Figure 4. CSRC (CC) Count Field This 4-bit field indicates the number of contributing source (CSRC) identifiers that follow the fixed header. Extension (X) Field This 1-bit field is set if the fixed header is followed by exactly one header extension. For example. The last byte of padding contains a count of the number of padding bytes. . Marker (M) Field This 1-bit field. is interpreted by a profile.

A mixer is placed .112 Understanding IPTV Payload Type (PT) Field The purpose of this 7-bit field is to identify the format of the RTP payload so that it can be correctly interpreted by the application. H. such as the identifiers of all sources mixed together to create an audio packet. The value for this field is randomly selected so that two synchronization sources within the same RTP session will have a very low probability of having the same value. If they do.261 video is identified by a PT field value of 31 whereas H. A mixer is an RTP-level relay device that enables a variety of bandwidths to be used for listening to and/or viewing a common channel. the sequence number increments by one for each transmitted RTP data packet. For video. Time-Stamp Field The 32-bit time-stamp field is used to place audio and video packets in their correct timing order. which explains why a frame that needs to be transported by a series of RTP packets will have the same time-stamp value in each RTP packet header. The value of the time-stamp field reflects the sampling of the first byte in the RTP data packet. all RTP implementations must be capable of detecting and resolving collisions. For example. so those packets may have the same time stamp. Sequence Number Field The 16-bit sequence number field has an initial randomly selected value. a frame may be split across several RTP packets. CSRC identifiers are inserted by mixers. Thereafter. using the SSRC identifiers of contributing sources.263 video is identified by a PT field value of 34. Contributing Source (CSRC) Field This 32-bit field represents an array of 0 to 15 CSRC elements. the sequence number can be used to ensure that multi-part video frames are correctly reassembled at the receiver. The primary purpose of the sequence number field is to detect packet loss. Synchronization Source (SSRC) Field This 32-bit field identifies the synchronization source. Thus. Up to 16 CSRC elements can be included and identify the contributing sources for the payload contained in the packet.

if the application transmits every frame at a fixed frame rate. Because the primary function of RTCP is to provide feedback on the quality of the . at a frame rate of 30 frames per second (fps). following the same distribution method as that used for data packets. Although applications can use any UDP port pair. As previously noted. RTCP operates via the periodic transmission of control packets to all members of a session. a mixer could be designed to scale the images of individuals in separate video streams into a single composite stream to simulate a group scene. the time stamp would increase by 3600 per frame. audio coding used on a high-bandwidth connection to an encoding method more suitable for the lower bandwidth connection. the time stamp is governed by the frame rate. the time-stamp value in each header will be the same. whereas at a frame rate of 25 fps. for example. whereas Real-Time Transport Control Protocol (RTCP) packets are to be transported on the next-higher odd port number. and it translates. when a frame is transmitted as a series of R TP packets. the system clock value will be used to compute the time stamp. RTCP The Real-Time Transport Control Protocol provides information about the participants in an ongoing session as well as a mechanism to monitor the quality of service. Information about the participants in a session can vary from situations where there is no explicit membership control to sessions that require detailed membership control. In a video environment. Port Number Utilization Under the RTP specification. the time stamp would increase by 3000 for each frame.The TCP/IP Protocol Suite and IPTV 113 near a low-bandwidth area and resynchronizes packets to maintain the spacing generated by the originator. Other examples of video mixers include devices that translate video streams from IP/UDP into a different protocol or translate video streams from individual sources without performing resynchronization or mixing. the time stamp depends on the ability of the application to determine the frame number. For example. That is. RTP data is to be transported on an even UDP port number. port numbers 5004 and 5005 represent registered ports for applications that elect to use them as the default pair. For situations where the frame number cannot be determined. Time-Stamp Computations For video applications.

where such buffers enable jitter to be removed from packets transporting digitized voice conversations.0333) of a second for its display. A jitter buffer can be thought of as an area of memory used to compensate for delays in the flow of packets through a network. if not compensated for. This displacement of packets is referred to as jitter and is normally compensated for through the use of a jitter buffer at the receiver. the displacement of packets from their ideal position by time in a sequence of packets would result in some periods of reconstructed voice sounding awkward. Packets first enter the receiver’s jitter buffer. . Jitter Considerations One of the major problems associated with the real-time delivery of video over an IP network is the displacement of packets transporting frames from their original position. However. Without the use of jitter buffers. which facilitates the problem resolution process. This random delay represents jitter and. In fact. Jitter buffers have been used for many years. information provided by RTCP can be used to determine where bottlenecks reside when multicasting occurs. will result in the display of frames appearing awkward. however. the frames would first flow into the buffer and then be extracted in a time sequence that minimizes the displacement of frames fr om one another. Perhaps the most popular use of jitter buffers is in VoIP applications. Those delays can be caused by distance or propagation delay as well as router processing delays.114 Understanding IPTV data distribution. it functions as an integral part of RTP’s role as a transport protocol. This means that each packet requires onethirtieth (or . ranging from 0 to 0.002 seconds. with a jitter buffer. Assume the packets transporting frames arrive at a receiver one after the other. assume a frame rate of 30 fps. from which they are extracted at applicable times such that their display eliminates movements that would otherwise appear due to the displacement of packets from one another as they flow through a network. For example. the delay between packets appears random.

However. Although we covered the use of different versions of ADSL in detail earlier in this book. we will commence our examination by focusing on that topic. in an IPTV environment. we need to expand the last mile to include the home network used to distribute IPTV within a residence. When we discuss last mile solutions. we will discuss a version of digital subscriber lines referred to as VDSL (very-high-bit-rate DSL) that can provide very high bandwidth for relatively short distances and may offer an alternative or supplement to the use of various versions of ASDL. Because understanding VDSL will provide a foundation for discussing alternative last mile solutions. In addition. including ADSL2 and ADSL2+. we normally reference the connection between a central office and a subscriber. in this chapter we will examine the use of the technology in conjunction with several methods of installing fiber cable to central locations where groups of homes and offices are clustered. Thus.Chapter 5 Last Mile Solutions Previously in this book we discussed several variations of ADSL (Assymetrical Digital Subscriber Line). 115 . We noted their use in the literal “last mile” to provide communications connectivity from a home or office to fiber located in the neighborhood or on a direct run to a telephone company central of fice that was in close proximity to the customer. the second portion of this chapter will examine home networking methods that can be used to distribute IPTV within a residence.

providing support for data rates up to approximately 50 Mbps on a single telephone twisted-pair wire for relatively short distances.116 Understanding IPTV 5. it is possible for some locations that were installed using a lower gauge twisted-pair wire to achieve slightly longer transmission distances. as the distance increases the obtainable data rate decreases. including asymmetric and symmetric. usually between 1000 and 4500 feet. as the gauge number decreases the diameter of the cable increases. although the transmission distances shown in the referenced table are accurate for 26-AWG twisted-pair wire.and 24-gauge wiring. which reduces its resistance and enables a greater transmission distance. telephone companies also use 22. This results in a lower gauge wire diameter increasing. Thus. Data Rate Support Table 5.1 VDSL VDSL represents the most powerful member of the xDSL family of products. with the latter more suitable for businesses where the connection of servers or transfer of general data between locations requires bidirectional data rates to be balanced. According to the American Wire Gauge (AWG) specifications.1 indicates the data rates supported by VDSL technology running over 26-gauge copper wire. Table 5.1 VDSL Transmission Rates and Range Data Rate (Mbps) Downstream/Upstream Transmission Distance Over 26-AWG Copper (ft) 52/30 54/13 26/26 22/13 13/13 10/10 6/6 16/1 1000 1000 3000 3000 4500 4500 6000 6000 . There are several versions of VDSL. Although the table provides an indication of transmission support over 26-gauge copper wiring. As you will note from examining the entries in the table.

VDSL Access Technology Currently. . and ETSI/ANSI Plan 998. it works with many international. and France Telecom are members of FSAN. regional. transmission can occur simultaneously in both directions. VDSL represents the highest rate of all xDSL types of technology. which is essential for delivering such real-time services as voice and video. ETSI Plan 997. into a building. Korea Telecom. or into a home or office.Last Mile Solutions 117 FSAN Since June 1995. it is a technology well suited to transport video into residences from several types of backhaul fiber that can be routed into a neighborhood. enabling a guaranteed quality of service (QoS). Because it supports both symmetric and asymmetric operations and is approximately ten times faster than ADSL. Through the use of separate upstream and downstream channels. Companies ranging from Bell South and US West to Bell Canada. Similar to other DSL technologies. enabling the telephone company to utilize the existing copper wire infrastructure for the delivery of broadband services. with fi ber in the core network and the use of copper for the last-mile access network. The consensus of FSAN members resulted in the organization specifying ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) as the primary transport technology. VDSL uses the frequencies beyond those used for telephone service on the same twisted wire pair. The FSAN consensus is based on the fact that ATM can provide a guaranteed bandwidth. Although FSAN is not a standards body. there are three types of frequency band allocation standards defined for VSDL: 10 Base-S. an international consortium referred to as the Full Service Access Network (FSAN) consortium has been actively pursuing the standardization and deployment of both narrowband and broadband full-service access networks. so upstream and downstream data channels are separated from the 0 to 4 kHz frequency used for telephone service. Frequency Utilization VDSL is based on the use of frequency division multiplexing (FDM). and country-based standards committees to promote the development of standards. Currently. to the curb.

75. as a mechanism to extend 10-Mbps full-duplex Ethernet over an existing copper-based infrastructure up to approximately 4000 feet. ETSI/ANSI Plan 998 The ETSI and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Plan 998 is similar to the ETSI Plan 997 with respect to the use of two upstream .9. the 0.138 to 3. As indicated in the figure. ETSI Plan 997 The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) Plan 997 specifies the use of four bands for VDSL.1 to 7. Under 10 Base-S.75-MHz frequency spectrum is used for downstream transmission and the 3.1 10 Base-S frequency allocation.1 MHz and 7. Currently.05 MHz are allocated for downstream transmission and 3.05 to 12 MHz are allocated for upstream use. a leading VDSL chip vendor.118 Understanding IPTV Figure 5. frequencies from 0. 10 Base-S 10 Base-S was developed by Infineon. 10 Base-S is the most popular of the three VDSL standards.1 illustrates the 10 Base-S frequency allocation.0 to 5. Upstream (US1 and US2) and downstream (DS1 and DS2) bands differ in their frequency width and can support both asymmetric and symmetric transmission.0 MHz and 5. Figure 5. Figure 5.to 3.2 illustrates the ETSI Plan 997 frequency allocation.0-MHz frequency spectrum is used for upstream transmission.to 8. You can view 10 Base-S as a combination of Ethernet’s simplicity and VDSL technology that results in a symmetric transmission capability.

notching capability is included in VDSL frequency spectrums in 10-Hz steps that can be enabled or disabled. Ham Band Notching The VDSL frequency spectrum covers a number of ham radio bands. To prevent such interference. ETSI/ANSI Plan 998 is currently a draft standard.Last Mile Solutions 119 Figure 5. Similar to the prior plan. However. Figure 5.3 ETSI/ANSI Plan 998 frequency allocation.3 illustrates the ETSI/ANSI Plan 998 frequency allocation. and two downstream channels. it differs from the prior draft standard in the use of frequencies that are optimized for asymmetrical transmission. Thus. Figure 5. Table 5.2 ETSI Plan 997 frequency allocation. the use of VDSL could cause interference with amateur radio operators. .2 lists ham radio bands defined for VDSL notching.

000 kHz 3.When the bit rate is 38.000 kHz 10.4 Committee defined a series of upstream and downstream data rates for VDSL derived from submultiples of the synchronous optical network (SONET) and its European equivalent.88 Mbps.84 Mbps represent fractions of the Optical Carrier 3 (OC-3) data rate of 155. when used up to a range of approximately 4500 feet. because asymmetric VDSL is better suited and more economical for supporting IPTV. and 51.120 Understanding IPTV Table 5. Similarly.96). which is the focus of this book.4 lists the upstream data rates for asymmetric VDSL services. the bit rate of 29. Those submultiples of 12.96).3 lists the ANSI T1/E1.3 and 5.800 kHz (ETSI).300 kHz (ANSI) 10. which .3 you will note that at the highest downstream bit rate of 51. I believe several items warrant discussion.52 Mbps.100 kHz (ETSI). video on demand (VoD). 4. In examining the entries in Tables 5. 25. Although symmetric VDSL can be expected to find a viable market for telemedicine.84 Mbps. Table 5.96. Although the data rate of VDSL decreases with distance. the modulation method packs 4 bits per baud (51.88/12. ANSI Developments Recently. the technology can support one or more high-definition (HD) TV shows as well as high-speed Internet access. Web hosting. if you turn your attention to Table 5.150 kHz Applications Through the use of VDSL it becomes possible to support digital broadcast television data streams. First.810 kHz 3. high-speed Internet access.100 kHz 2. the synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH).000 kHz (ANSI) 7.92. then the number of bits transported based on a baud rate of 12. and other applications that require high-speed bidirectional transmission.4. distance learning. teleconferencing.500 kHz 7.16 Mbps. we will concentrate our attention on the asymmetric version of the xDSL technology.84/12. and other applications via a common wire pair that is already routed into most homes and offices.96 becomes 3 (38. 7. the ANSI T1/E1. which is supported by both SONET and SDH.2 HAM Radio Bands Defined for VDSL Notching Start Frequency Stop Frequency 1.4 downstream rates for asymmetric VDSL and Table 5. and several standard-television-type channels.

3 Downstream Line Rates for Asymmetric VDSL Service Range Bit Rates (Mbps) Baud Rate (MBd) Short range (1000 ft) Medium range (3000 ft) 51.88 29.81-MBd rate results in 8 bits being packed into each symbol.68 19.86 4.84 38.48 3.86 6.405 .4 you will realize that the mixture of data rates and baud rates results in the number of bits per baud.72 12.96 6.72 6.24 3. ranging from a low Table 5.43 1.81 0.4 Upstream Line Rates for Asymmetric VDSL Service Range Bit Rate (Mbps) Symbol Rate (MBd) Short range (1000 ft) Medium range (3000 ft) Long range (4500 ft) 6. If we turn our attention to Table 5.3 and 5.24 2. for long ranges the 3.24 3. the 0. we will note that at a data rate of 6.67 6.4.44 16.405 0.405 0.24 Long range (4500 ft) requires a 9.81 0.92 22.405-MBd rate results in 8 bits being packed into every baud change.Last Mile Solutions 121 Table 5.96 12.48 4. If you carefully examine Tables 5.81 0.92 25.405 0.96 12.24-Mbps operating rate at a 0. Similarly.48 5.96 9.05 4.24 3.62 0.48 4. also results in 3 bits being conveyed by each signaling change.24 2.405 0.72-MBd signaling rate.44 19.405 0.96 9.86 3.68 3.48 Mbps.16 25.43 1.48 12.20 14.58 12.

Under the VDSL Alliance DMT method. a battle occurred during the early turn of the century concerning VDSL modulation. DMT uses multiple carrier frequencies referred to as subcarriers to modulate data. as the S/N ratio becomes low. especially in the presence of noisy conditions. Thus. Texas Instruments. three variables define the use of QAM: the center frequency. carrier frequency. whereas a higher S/N ratio results in more bits being modulated on a subcarrier. In one camp were proponents of carrierless amplitude and phase modulation combined with quadrature amplitude modulation (CAP/QAM). under adverse conditions they are not as flexible as VDSL DMT modems that can alter the number of bits and power level on each subcarrier. VDSL DMT modems determine the signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio on each subcarrier. Although the standards bodies are looking at both QAM and DMT. During the initialization process and periodically thereafter. For VDSL. One factor that can be expected to influence the standards debate is the action of the VDSL Alliance. That is. DMT appears to represent a better choice. let’s turn our attention to this topic. a lesser number of bits are modulated. DMT uses digital signal processing techniques. which defines the number of different phase and amplitude combinations). as illustrated in the top portion . to modulate data on as many as 4096 subcarriers.122 Understanding IPTV of 2 to a high of 8. An unanswered question concerns the modulation scheme used by VDSL. Modulation Similar to the debate over ADSL modulation that occurred during 1993. CAP and QAM are both single-carrier modulation methods. such as the fast Fourier transform (FFT). Because VDSL DMT modems maximize data throughput by dynamically adapting the power level and number of bits modulated on each subcarrier to match impairments on the line. and other vendors — has announced support for DMT. We have just determined the number of bits per baud that need to be modulated. on the other side were developers of discrete multi-tone (DMT) technology. Although they are similar to one another. signals occur on 247 subchannels. modulating the carrier with a varying number of bits based on the S/N ratio. and symbol rate. Although VDSL single-carrier modulation modems can be manipulated by changing their constellation size. and the symbol rate. The VDSL Alliance — a partnership between Alcatel. In comparison. they provide a higher throughput than CAP/QAM. In a VDSL environment. the constellation size (QAM2 to QAM256. similar to the ADSL battles a decade ago. each 4 kHz in width. with the latter defining the bandwidth requirements. CAP directly generates a modulated signal whereas QAM requires the generation of a quadrature carrier signal.

Comparing QAM on DMT versus CAP. training signals enable the VDSL modems on each end of the copper media to perform synchronization and equalization. if the quality of the channel becomes impaired beyond a threshold. The 25.5 MHz. In addition.to 4-kHz band. under CAP. QAM occurs once on one upstream channel and once on one downstream channel. it is important to remember Shannon’s Law. each subchannel is monitored and. with the key difference being the manner in which QAM is applied. The lower portion of Figure 5. In 1948. a mathematician who defined the highest data rate a communications channel can support.4 illustrates the use of CAP and QAM. of Figure 5.4 Comparing DMT and CAP. the bandwidth of the copper wire is subdivided into three distinct entities. Under Shannon’s Law. Both DMT and CAP use QAM. and the downstream data channel begins at 240 kHz and extends to a maximum value that varies with such conditions as line noise and line length but that can be no greater than approximately 1. Shannon’s Law was formulated by Claude Shannon.4. In comparison. QAM can occur simultaneously on up to 247 subchannels. c = B* log2 (1 + S/N) where c = maximum data rate (in bits per second) obtainable on a communications channel B = bandwidth of a channel (in Hertz) S/N = signal-to-noise ratio on the channel .Last Mile Solutions 123 Figure 5. Under DMT. the signal is shifted to another channel. Voice conversations occur over the 0.to 160-kHz band is used for the upstream data channel. When CAP is used. Periodically.

is through the use of fiber-to-the-home (FTTH). the tradeoff between DMT and CAP becomes one of having up to 247 4-kHz subchannels used for both upstream and downstream operations versus the use of 135 kHz (160 – 25) for upstream and 1. or fiber wires to be installed on overhead lines.26 kHz (1. VDSL’s maximum range when used to transport standard television is approximately 4500 feet. several telephone companies are using five fiber deployment alternatives. In actuality. Bandwidth plays a vital role in the capacity of a communications channel. Instead.5 – . If HDTV support is required. In comparison.124 Understanding IPTV The function log2 represents the base-2 logarithm. compared to ADSL. VDSL can be deployed over existing copper wiring at distances up to approximately 4500 feet. which would enable a home viewer to see many HDTV programs at the same time. if no HDTV services are required. where the expense of running fiber cable from the neighborhood or the curb into the home would require lawns to be dug up. VDSL can be used to provide a “last mile” solution for several SDTV channels and high-speed Internet access at distances up to 3500 feet. it is too costly in most situations. Although the best network architecture to support nonconstrained IPTV.000 feet. which would be costly. This means that. from an economic perspective.24) for downstream operations. . the transmission distance would be significantly lowered to approximately 1000 feet. driveways to be tunneled under. From the central office. Those situations primarily refer to existing developments. Deployment Options When we discussed ADSL earlier in this book we noted that its maximum range was approximately 18. Thus. Those alternatives include: Fiber-to-the-exchange (FTTEx) Fiber-to-the-cabinet (FTTCb) Fiber-to-the-neighborhood (FTTN) Fiber-to-the-curb (FTTC) Fiber-to-the-building (FTTB) FTTEx Fiber-to-the-exchange (FTTEx) references the use of fiber to the central office. the deployment of VDSL is more dependent on fiber being routed closer to the customer. and its use to transport HDTV and a few SDTV channels is limited to approximately 3000 feet. such that the base-2 logarithm of a number x is the number y and 2y = x.

then replicate the data stream for all subscribers who used their set-top box or PC to select the channel.5 compares FTTEx and FTTCb. In comparison. Figure 5. The function of the DSLAM is to connect subscribers communicating via twisted pair to the backbone network. Figure 5. This action can result in congestion at the DSLAM input when a popular program is requested. FTTCb. In comparison. Not shown in Figure 5. if the DSLAM supports multicast transmission. the DSLAM should support multicast transmission. the lower portion of Figure 5. In this situation fiber is run from the central office to an optical network unit (ONU). for which a central office must be located within 4500 feet of a subscriber. it will have to receive only one data stream for each channel as input. . The upper portion of the figure illustrates the use of FTTEx.5 illustrates how FTTCb can be used to extend the distance from the central office to subscribers and still allow service over existing copper wiring. In an IPTV environment.5 are the Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexers (DSLAMs) that reside at central offices that directly serve many xDSL subscribers.Last Mile Solutions 125 FTTCb Fiber-to-the-cabinet (FTTCb) is a method to serve subscribers more distant from a central office. from which data flows to the subscriber over the existing copper wiring.5 FTTEx vs. If it does not. the switch or router located at a central office will need to replicate each multicasted TV channel to subscribers requesting to view the channel.

FTTB Another option that can be considered to facilitate the use of VDSL is to route fiber directly into a building. If a neighborhood is already established. which is also known as fi ber-tothe-node. fiber is routed from a central office to locations within neighborhoods. which can result in the need to burrow fiber cable through roads and driveways. In an FTTN environment. Although this minimizes the distance for the use of twisted-pair wiring. the density of multi-dwelling units within the area to be served will be a significant factor in determining if economics justifies this type of deployment. FTTH The last deployment option that warrants attention is fiber-to-the-home (FTTH). which minimizes the distances of copper wiring routed into a group of homes and offices. Referred to as FTTB. then FTTN may represent a better deployment method. this method of fiber deployment represents a practical solution for multi-dwelling units. as its name implies. it increases the use of fiber. FTTC In a fiber-to-the-curb (FTTC) deployment. Although this is similar to FTTCb. Of course. as well as for businesses. FTTN would have the capability to be upgraded in the future to enable optical fiber to be supported directly into homes and offices. it also can provide the highest level of . FTTH. has similarities to FTTCb but is also different. For example. FTTC represents a good solution for home developments where roads and curbs are in the process of being prepared.or 10-acre track. FTTB would be a more suitable solution than if the buildings were in a rural area and each property was located on a 5. Although FTTH represents the most expensive method used for last mile connectivity. fiber cable is extended to the curbs of homes and offices.126 Understanding IPTV FTTN Fiber-to-the-neighborhood (FTTN). This will allow subscribers to be migrated to more capable fiber technology as demand for HDTV and other technologies increases. Typically. results in the use of fiber directly into the home or office. if half a dozen medium-rise apartment buildings each consisting of 20 units are located on a 1-acre track. such as apartment buildings.

Summary Because VDSL can provide a relatively high transmission rate over existing copper-based twisted pair. We will examine how video and audio can enter a customer’s home on a single fiber or twisted-pair metallic conductor and be routed to television and stereo devices and personal computers located throughout the residence. This is because VDSL is similar to other DSL technologies in that it is based on the use of modems that perform analog modulation. with the average data rate to the endpoint limited to between 10 and 40 Mbps. telephone companies can avoid the cost of digging up lawns and gardens as well as burrowing through driveways. a VDSL modem can be placed in the home or office and connected to existing telephone wiring.Last Mile Solutions 127 bandwidth to subscribers. FTTH has resulted in a data rate of 155 Mbps to the consumer. In actuality. a VDSL gateway is typically located where the fiber terminates and provides analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversion for a series of twisted-pair wires routed from subscriber homes and offices to the gateway. the gateway performs optical-to-electrical and electrical-to-optical conversion. Those factors include the manner by which the data stream was transported and the distance from the subscriber to the nearest communications carrier office or ONU servicing the subscriber. telephone companies can replace many of their main feeds with fiber-optic cable without having to route the cable directly into homes and businesses. Introduction The basic distribution of IPTV can be expected to be bundled with music channels and high-speed Internet access. Instead. 5. By deploying FTTN or FTTC. As a single flow of data transporting this mixture of recreational activities and potential business connectivity reaches the subscriber’s premises. . If FTTN is used. the manner by which the data flow can be distributed will be based on several factors.2 Distribution into the Home In concluding our discussion of last mile solutions we will note how IPTV can be distributed within a subscriber’s home. In several field trials. although in many instances that rate represents a maximum physical capacity.

they will more than likely use a version of passive optical network (PON) technology to split the capacity of a fiber routed to the neighborhood. As discussed earlier in this chapter as well as in Chapter 3 when we reviewed the three version of ADSL. some subscribers currently without HDTV or willing to forgo that service may be able to be supported at a greater distance than subscribers who expect HDTV to be part of the package offered to them. does not result in a similar limitation. some modern flat-panel television sets are being manufactured with a USB interface. Inside the Home In addition to outside factors. ADSL2+. has a transmission rate inversely proportional to the transmission distance over the copper media that connects a DSLAM in a central office to a subscriber’s xDSL modem. FTTH. the capability of a “routing gateway” typically installed by the homeowner. Those factors include the type of set-top box installed by the telephone company. and Internet access into a subscriber’s premises. it is sufficient to transport several channels of SDTV and HDTV as well as enable a member of the household to surf the Web. the data rate decreases. ADSL2. In addition. Those versions of DSL include ADSL.128 Understanding IPTV Versions of xDSL Currently there are several versions of xDSL that can be used to transport a high-speed data streams containing video. which represents an extension of fiber from the central office to the subscriber’s premises. which will result in fibers routed into subscriber premises having an overall data delivery rate less than 50 Mbps. such as the distance to telephone company equipment and transmission method used. each version of xDSL. In comparison. Thus. including VDSL. and the type of home networking technology used or to be installed by the subscriber. Now that we have a general overview of how IPTV can be distributed to a subscriber’s home or office. the use of fiber directly into homes and offices will more than likely remain as a small fraction of all last mile solutions because an equivalent bandwidth can be provided by VDSL for most subscribers at a lower implementation cost for the communications carrier. let’s turn our attention to specifics. which in turn is cabled to the television via its USB port. However. This means that as the distance increases. Although this rate is considerably less than the theoretical capacity of the fiber. and VDSL. . which facilitates the distribution of IPTV either to home networking equipment connected directly to the TV or to a set-top box. Thus. several factors inside the subscriber’s premises will govern the delivery of IPTV. audio. because communications carriers are in business to make a profit.

This configuration enables subscribers to locate their computers closer to the point of xDSL service entry while using a home network to distribute SDTV and HDTV Figure 5.6 is the fact that the integrated set-top box with the xDSL modem provides users with the ability to connect a standard or HD television without requiring a home network or a routing gateway. Figure 5. The top portion of Figure 5.6 an optional routing gateway is shown built into the xDSL modem. In the lower portion of Figure 5. we can easily note the manner by which any type of DSL service is terminated in the home or small office. this method of termination using an xDSL modem with a built-in set-top box might be appropriate for apartments and other small residences. The key difference between the two illustrations shown in Figure 5.6 Distribution of an IPTV data stream.Last Mile Solutions 129 IPTV and the Home Network Because all versions of ADSL and VDSL terminate at the subscriber in a similar manner.6 illustrates the manner by which a serial data stream flowing over an xDSL connection can be terminated.6 indicates the integration of a set-top box into an xDSL modem. Thus.6 enables a routing gateway to be built into the xDSL modem or directly attached to the device at the point of entry of the service into the home. the lower portion of Figure 5. with the subscriber providing an optional routing gateway to distribute IPTV to other locations in the home. . In comparison.

which can be expensive to install after a building is constructed. 100-Mbps Ethernet needs to operate on category 5 (CAT5) or better wiring.11b standards. When a wired Ethernet is used as the home network. data will be broadcast onto each Ethernet endpoint. Wired Ethernet Wired Ethernet needs to provide a 100-Mbps transmission capability because 10-Mbps Ethernet is too slow and Gigabit Ethernet has a very short range when transmitted over copper wiring. the majority of home networks using wired Ethernet will more than likely be new homes that are sold as “pre-wired” for highspeed communications. this network solution requires set-top boxes or televisions with client software and an Ethernet connector to receive the broadcast stream and select the appropriate portion of the data stream for viewing.11a standard defined data .11.11a and 802. From the hub. referred to as 802. will be connected to the Ethernet hub that forms the home network. and small offices. the router gateway. In this section we will briefly examine the advantages and disadvantages associated with each type of home network. which normally includes between three and four switch ports. or office. operated at only 1 or 2 Mbps and is not suitable for distributing IPTV within the home. Network Options Because the home network represents the key to the delivery of IPTV within homes. Thus.4-GHz frequency band as well as one method for operation in the 5-GHz frequency band.130 Understanding IPTV to both set-top boxes and televisions located throughout an apartment. any discussion of the delivery of the technology would be incomplete without a discussion of home networking. Wireless Ethernet Over the past decade the IEEE has standardized a number of wireless transmission methods for operation in the 2. Thus. The 802.11 standard are referred to as the 802. apartments. The first two extensions to the initial 802. home. A variety of home networking solutions are currently available for selection by the consumer. Those networks range from wired and wireless Ethernet networks to networks that operate over existing electrical wires and are referred to as broadband over power lines (BPL). Also known as 100 Base-T. The first wireless LAN standard.

because it operates in the 5-GHz band. whereas the 802.11n products operate in the 2.11a standard operates at almost twice the frequency of 802.11g-compatible equipment operates in the lower frequency band.11b standard. its transmission distance is limited compared to equipment compatible with the 802. this standard is well suited for a home network that requires support for a mixture of audio. Because 802. The newest member of the IEEE 802. although the maximum data rate of 54 Mbps for 802.Last Mile Solutions 131 rates up to 54 Mbps in the 5-GHz frequency band. Although a theoretical data rate of 540 Mbps appears possible.11 series of standards is the 802. Thus. equipment that supports the IEEE 802. Powerline The HomePlug Powerline Alliance completed the HomePlug 1.4-GHz frequency band. their transmission range can be expected to cover the area of an average home or apartment.4-GHz frequency band. wireless LANs can communicate at data rates up to 54 Mbps in the 2. The HomePlug AV specification defines a 200-Mbps channel rate at the physical layer that is capable of delivering 150 Mbps at the data link layer.11b standard defined a maximum data rate of 11 Mbps in the 2. In comparison.11g standard. its transmission range is normally sufficient to cover most areas of a typical-sized home or apartment. Recognition of the need to improve both the data rate and transmission distance resulted in the development of the 802.11n products.11a technology can transport a mixture of SDTV and HDTV. A second emerging HomePlug Powerline Alliance standard is the HomePlug AV specification. Although an 11-Mbps transmission rate is capable of carrying a single standard television broadcast. This specification defines the transmission of data over existing electrical wiring at data rates up to 12 Mbps.0 specification many years ago.11n standard. it does not have the capacity to transport multiple SDTV broadcasts and provide high-speed Internet access or a single HDTV broadcast throughout the home. This standard builds on previous standards by adding a multiple-input.11b equipment. and equipment manufactured to be compatible with the 802. which will have multiple HDTVs.11n standard is extremely well suited for providing a home networking capability in an IPTV environment. video.4-GHz frequency band as well as implement spatial diversity through the use of multiple antennas. Under this standard. most vendors advertise a throughput of 110 Mbps for their 802. multiple-output (MIMO) capability in which transmitters and multiple antennas allow for increased data throughput. Designed for the home of the future. Because 802. and Internet access . This is because higher frequencies attenuate more rapidly than lower frequencies.

11n — 802.000 ft 12 Mbps 1 Mbps 12. we turn our attention to comparing the service rates and distance support of the various flavors of xDSL to the operating rates of different home networking technologies.11 — 802.11g 802.11b 802.11n . which plugs into an electrical outlet and has either a USB or Fast Ether net connector.11g 802. Table 5.11n — 802. Because most rooms have multiple electrical outlets.000 ft 52 Mbps 6 Mbps 1.11g 802.11a — 802.11g 802.11a — 802.000 ft 24 Mbps 2 Mbps 9. With an expected retail price of under $75 per adapter.132 Understanding IPTV Table 5. Access Technologies vs. it appears that the evolving HomePlug AV standard may provide the most practical method to deliver the high-speed data stream consisting of a mixture of standard. Home Networking In concluding this chapter.000 ft being delivered to different locations within the home.5 xDSL Capacities and Constraints Version of DSL Feature ADSL ADSL2 ADSL2+ VDSL Downstream data rate Upstream data rate Maximum distance 8 Mbps 640 kbps 18.11n — 802. apartment. a router could be connected to the electrical power line in the home and data distributed to four locations at a cost of $375 for five power line adapters. or small office.11a — 802.6 Home Networking Technologies That Can Support Different xDSL Access Technologies Type of DSL Downstream Data Rate Home Networking Technologies ADSL 8 Mbps Wired Ethernet ADSL2 12 Mbps Wired Ethernet ADSL2+ 24 Mbps Wired Ethernet VDSL 52 Mbps Wired Ethernet 802.and high-definition television channels as well as high-speed Internet access to locations throughout a home.

including high-speed Internet access. one can see that only ADSL2+ and VDSL have the capacity to support both several SDTV channels and high-speed Internet access. service providers will more than likely have to tailor their product mix to the access technology used to provide subscribers with a connection to their central office. a single channel of HDTV can require up to approximately 20 Mbps under MPEG-2.Last Mile Solutions 133 Access Technologies As telephone companies deploy IPTV services. only VDSL provides the bandwidth necessary to support several SDTV channels plus HDTV channels and high-speed Internet access. Thus. the delivery of just one channel of standard-definition television requires between 2 and 6 Mbps under MPEG-2. In comparison. Comparing those data rates against the various flavors of xDSL shown in Table 5. they need to consider the programming mix they will sell against the distance of subscribers from the nearest central office and the operating rate of the service. indicating the potential home networking technologies that can be used to support different xDSL access technologies. In addition.5. the bandwidth provided by the home networking equipment should be at least equal to the download speed provided by the xDSL technology used to provide the access line. Table 5. Thus. Home Networking The type of home networking method can be consider ed to be as important as the access technology because the former provides a mechanism for delivering received data streams throughout a home or apartment. . As previously noted in this book.6 provides a comparison of home networking data rates and access technologies.


In this chapter we will probe deeper into IPTV hardware components. from predefined frequencies that channels are broadcast on the cable to either channel 3 or channel 4. which will be connected to your television. This is because the basic functions of hardware devices such as servers and set-top boxes are well known. depending on the set-top box. without any significant explanation of their functionality. 6. 135 . if you subscribe to a satellite service you must install a set-top box. That set-top box converts analog. and archive servers. Similarly. we will examine the differences between a cable TV set-top box and an IPTV set-top box as well as the functions performed by a media center and media center extender. we have only briefly mentioned a number of hardware components. For example. content managers. you are using a set-top box. This set-top box converts a digital compressed signal into the television format suitable for being displayed on your screen on either channel 3 or channel 4. broadcast servers.Chapter 6 Hardware Components Up to this point in the book.1 Set-Top Boxes If you subscribe to a cable service to obtain the ability to view channels beyond a basic low-cost analog bundle. and may also convert digital channels if you subscribe to that offering. examining their functionality in an IPTV environment.

Basic Functionality In an IPTV environment a good portion of the functionality of set-top boxes is similar to the set-top boxes of cable and satellite operators. It turned out to be quite easy for some hobbyists to develop “descramblers. . but this is expected to change as new manufacturers ramp up production of IPTV set-top boxes based on contracts initialed with vendors providing IPTV service. Since the early rollout of set-top boxes. By 2006. many stores continue to advertise the sale of descramblers. telling the purchaser that they should inform their cable company of its use. This relationship probably favors cable due to the fact that the majority of the Chinese mainland telephone system would require a considerable infrastructure upgrade to support IPTV. channel scrambler technology was incorporated into the first generation of set-top boxes.” and an active market for such products developed. Although technically illegal. the world’s potentially largest cable market. Market Leaders Currently two companies dominate the digital set-top box market — Motorola and Scientific Atlanta. Because premium channels could be viewed by subscribers who did not want nor did not wish to pay for the service. remains a great unknown with respect to the relationship between installation of cable TV and IPTV services. Thus. Later versions of these early set-top boxes performed a rudimentary scrambling of both video and audio by shifting portions of audio and video frequencies. global shipments of set-top boxes were approaching 15 million per year. with many incorporating such functions as personal digital recorders that store up to hundreds of hours of television and provide a high-definition viewing capability. This technology at first simply distorted the premium channel picture by broadcasting the channel with modified vertical and horizontal synchronization. the latter acquired by Cisco Systems during 2006.136 Understanding IPTV Evolution Both analog and digital set-top boxes trace their origins to the later 1960s and early 1970s when cable companies began to offer premium channels. China. Together. early set-top boxes simply added the missing synchronization signal to premium channels to enable an applicable undistorted series of TV frames to appear on the subscriber’s television. analog technology has rapidly been replaced by digital technology. Today the vast majority of set-top boxes are digital. In addition. they account for more than 80 percent of worldwide shipments.

Some set-top boxes will include a hard drive. interface . In addition. For example. In addition to decoding signals. IPTV set-top boxes also support additional features that are neither available nor possible to add to conventional cable and satellite set-top boxes.Hardware Components 137 For example. which will verify that the subscriber is not in arrears on his or her bill and then add the selected event’s cost to the current bill prior to transmitting the event as a series of IP datagrams. on demand. transmitted within IP datagrams. With this added capability it becomes possible for subscribers to transmit recorder programs within their home or office to a PC similarly equipped with a network-compatible device. The browser can also be used to view e-mail and e-mail attachments. Another feature built into the software of the set-top box is the ability to transmit unicast requests to the network when the subscriber selects a premium video-on-demand event. The request will first flow to a billing and management server. the set-top box will. This is because the input to the IPTV set-top box is a digital data stream that the set-top box will output on either channel 3 or channel 4. which enable support of WiFi communications or attachment to a home network. another difference between the two that deserves mention is the elimination of the need for an IPTV set-top box to perform frequency shifting. provide a guide listing of shows by time. In comparison. they recognize and act on UDPs (User Datagram Protocols). IPTV set-top boxes can support Web browsing both for the Internet and as a mechanism to quickly cycle through guide data. enabling the subscriber to record programs for later viewing. Through a significant amount of software or firmware coding. conventional set-top boxes will shift the frequency of a selected channel residing on a coaxial cable or received via a satellite dish to channel 3 or 4. or other selected methods as well as provide information about a selected show. the set-top box transmits a request to join a multicast group when the subscriber simply changes the channel from one standard channel to another. channel. subscribers can elect to watch TV on their computer screen or burn a DVD and view the show on a television that does not have a built-in hard drive. Perhaps the major difference between IPTV and conventional set-top boxes resides in the added functionality the former provides and which we will shortly discuss in some detail. However. IPTV Set-Top Box Added Functionality Although IPTV set-top boxes have similar basic functionality to boxes developed for cable and satellite providers. and more recently developed set-top boxes including one or more USB ports. Then. for all types of services the set-top box represents a dedicated computer that provides an interface between the television set and the service provider.

138 Understanding IPTV with various types of home networks via gateways. sports. Although the IP set-top box functions are considerable. let’s turn our attention to a series of set-top boxes developed over the past six years. IPTV Set-Top Box Developers Worldwide a large number of hardware and software developers are working on IPTV set-top boxes. as well as provide support for real-time Voice-over-IP (VoIP). Initial Market Focus The initial target markets of the Microsoft TV Foundation Edition were cable operators with tens of millions of installed low-end or legacy set-top . when the company began to explore the display of video with its Windows Media player. which represented a new digital television platform. Some manufacturers may produce a series of products that incorporates additional features as subscribers move up their product line. In June 2000. Other manufacturers may decide to incorporate only certain features and functions into a standard product. the company introduced Microsoft TV Foundation Edition. Microsoft Microsoft’s IPTV efforts date to before the turn of the century. readers should recognize that not all of these functions and features will be incorporated into each box. we will obtain an appreciation of the overall effort by focusing our attention on several vendors. This TV platform enabled network operators to offer video on demand. including conventional cable and satellite operators. weather. Although space constraints preclude a full listing of all companies in this field. Now that we have an appreciation for the general features and functionality of the IPTV set-top box. What was particularly interesting about Microsoft’s announcement was the fact that the company made its software platform scalable to support current and future-generation set-top boxes. news. and evolving telephones that combine telephone audio with a camera that enables parties to a conversation to see one another. and games to set-top boxes and TV devices. Because Microsoft has been very active in this development area. we will first discuss that company’s efforts in developing set-top boxes. commencing with Microsoft’s early efforts at enhancing conventional set-top boxes for cable companies and then discussing Microsoft’s efforts and those of other software and hardware developers in the IPTV set-top box area. videoconferencing.

multimedia programming guides with integrated video. the company announced a series of updates to its IPTV . and an embedded version of the XP operating system. at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Telecom World exhibit in Geneva. Such set-top boxes typically included a 100-MHz processor and between 8 and 32 MB of memory. single-chip IPTV set-top box processor as well as a hardware decoder for Windows Media 9. Microsoft’s Prototype Set-Top Box In late 2003. which.or 20-MHz processor and as little as 1 to 4 MB of memory. Microsoft demonstrated its IPTV set-top box solution targeted at high-end boxes. This solution would include set-top boxes based on Windows CE. and. Although Microsoft’s efforts in the area of IPTV took a back stage position relative to its Windows and Office suite developments. video on demand. Among those features were instant channel changing. and middleware developed for delivering content and services to a higher performance set-top box. such as a 15. with the ability for economies of scale to reduce its costs to below $50 by 2007. Microsoft’s Advanced Solution was based on an embedded operating system (Windows CE). at SuperComm 2005.Hardware Components 139 boxes. This would enable the company’s cost per box to be initially around $150. has approximately three times the efficiency of MPEG-2 and twice that of MPEG-4. an enhanced digital rights management capability that would secure video assets and television shows. a TV graphical user interface (GUI). IPTV Effort A few months after introducing its Foundation Edition and Advanced Solution. Microsoft’s prototype IPTV set-top box assumed the availability of a low-cost. and multiple picture-within-picture capability on standard television sets that lack that capability.” which was targeted toward what were then high-end set-top boxes. . to placate video providers. Microsoft unveiled plans during October 2003 to develop an end-to-end IP television delivery solution. Microsoft’s announcement of its end-to-end IPTV delivery solution was accompanied by a brochure touting the next-generation features subscribers could expect to receive through its use. which were manufactured during the prior decade. Also included was Windows Media 9 audiovisual technology. Switzerland. according to Microsoft. Other features would include digital video recording.NET. In addition to targeting the low-end set-top box market. Such boxes. normally contained minimal hardware. Microsoft announced its “Advanced Solution.

it can also be obtained with an embedded Linux operating system. Thus. The firms mentioned included Motorola and Scientific Atlanta. the only certainty about certainty is uncertainty. Royal Philips Electronics Royal Philips Electronics dates to 1891.140 Understanding IPTV Edition software platform. appliances. and personal video recording. whose businesses include consumer electronics. Royal Philips Electronics is one of the world’s largest electronics companies. including both network operators and set-top box manufacturers. it appears that Microsoft will be the major player behind the deployment of IPTV. DVD playback. . However. joining T-Online of Germany. improved picture algorithms. announced that it had selected Microsoft’s IPTV Edition software platform to run trials of next-generation television. The updates were developed to facilitate the creation and delivery of video services. we will look at several additional vendors and their products. timeshift recording. it supports such advanced features as video telephony. which will provide support to approximately 18 million homes by the end of 2007. to borrow a well-known phrase. which control more than 80 percent of the set-top box market. when Ger ard Philips established a company in the Netherlands. Because SBC Communications (now known as AT&T) previously agreed to use Microsoft’s IPTV Edition platform in its Project Lightspeed. which had previously announced its selection of a Windows CE–based set-top box for its IPTV service. and medical products. data storage. the French subsidiary of T-Online International. IPTV Efforts During 2005 Royal Philips Electronics introduced a new IP set-top box that targets both IP and broadcast set-top boxes. semiconductors. which could result in an attractive price because this would alleviate the necessity to pay royalties to Microsoft. in concluding our discussion of set-top boxes. In France. Microsoft announced several partners that planned to use its IPTV software. which includes a MIPS32 central processing unit (CPU) core along with dual Tri Media media processing cores. The Philips STB810 IP set-top box uses a multi-core system-on-chip (SOC) processor. In addition. as well as Harmonic and Tandberg. T-Online France. Although the STB810 can be obtained with Windows CE. lighting. Referred to as the STB810 IP set-top box. Another key announcement at SuperComm 2005 was by Microsoft concerning the names of set-top box manufacturers that agreed to imbed Microsoft’s IPTV Edition client-side software into their set-top boxes. Today.

and H. MPEG-1. allowing the set-top box to use either operating system. The SMP8630 provides a 7. a second video input.264. In addition. The SMP8630 tar gets single-stream highdefinition or multi-stream standard-definition applications. including networked DVD players. The chips also support picture-in-picture window operations as well as a range of audio decoding compatibility from Dolby Digital through the three audio layers of MPEG-1 and MPEG-2. Sigma noted that its new pr oduct is the first to integrate decoders for all major digital video formats. The new family of chipsets initially announced included the SMP8630 and SMP8634. The basic SMP8630 supports up to 256 MB of 32-bit RAM. including MPEG-2 and H. and IPTV settop boxes. In comparison. Sigma Designs announced that both Windows CE and Linux will be ported to the SMP chips’ MIPS cores. and other compressed video standards. MPEG-4. and a dedicated smartcard bus. the higher end SMP8634 targets multi-stream high-definition applications. The company currently offers decoding for high-definition MPEG-4. a second highdefinition decoder. Similar to the Royal Philips Electronics set-top box. Opera Software announced that it will port its Opera browser as well as its Opera browser software development kit to the new Sigma Designs chips. a Tatung subsidiary.10 as well as MPEG-4. Sigma Designs markets complete reference designs for various markets.1 home theater audio output and a single video input along with a shared smartcard bus.0 stereo output in addition to a 7. HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface).1 home theater capability. According to Sigma Designs. By January 2006 Sigma Designs introduced a line of set-top boxes based on its SMP8630 family of chipsets that includes a 300-MHz MIPS core and a 200-MHz memory interface. and a second digital signal processor as well as a graphics input port.Hardware Components 141 Sigma Designs Sigma Designs is a company that specializes in the development of siliconbased MPEG decoding firmware for consumer products. whereas the higher end SMP8634 will support up to 512 MB of 64-bit RAM and 256 MB of 8/16-bit flash memory. MPEG-2. IPTV Efforts In June 2005 Sigma Designs announced that TIS Net. its SMP8630 . would launch an IP set-top box based on Sigma’s media pr ocessors that would use Windows CE as its operating system. portable media players. The higher end SMP8634 adds 2.264. Both Sigma Designs chips provide support for video decoding up to 1920 × 1080 pixels at 30 progressive frames per second for MPEG-2. an Ethernet MAC (Media Access Control) controller. In addition.

and S/PDIF. If you compare the previously mentioned set-top box features and functionality to set-top boxes manufactured during the 1980s and 1990s. Talegent In concluding our examination of set-top boxes. four USB 2. Both chips were scheduled to reach production availability by mid-2006. Table 6. composite video. it is obvious that a quantum leap in the technology and capability of set-top boxes has occurred. which is shared by all three Talegent set-top boxes. an asynchronous serial port. and 16 to 64 MB of flash memory. In addition to offering the Evolution 1 series of set-top box platforms directly. a Mini PCI slot for expansion. S-video. and a DVD player/recorder. each of which can be attached via a USB port. and 310-MHz CPUs. a photo printer. 280-. IPTV Efforts Recognizing the need to satisfy different markets.1 Talegent Evolution 1 Series Comparison Feature TG200 TG400 TG600 DVB front end Hard drive connection DVD connection One No No Two Yes Yes Two Integrated 160-GB drive Integrated . the basic hardwar e platform supports 250-. and RCA stereo jacks for audio out. Talegent has indicated that it plans to extend the capabilities of its settop boxes. Talegent announced during late 2005 three models in its Evolution 1 series of set-top boxes.0 ports. from 32 to 128 MB of RAM. we will discuss Talegent’s Evolution 1 series of set-top box platforms.11) and Bluetooth wireless communications using the Mini PCI card slot.1 provides a summary of the features of each of the three initial announced set-top boxes. Basic hardware. Not resting on its laurels. video out support for PAL or NTSC. Telegent plans to manufacture them for private labeling for sale or lease by third parties. 250-GB hard drives. The Talegent Evolution 1 series is based on the Philips STB810 platform.142 Understanding IPTV would be available in samples in March 2006 and the SMP8634 would follow in April 2006. Those plans include the addition of WiFi (802. includes a 10/100-Mbps RJ45 Ethernet port. Tables 6. In addition. HDMI.

Optional hardware allows users to connect the media center to one or mor e televisions in the home to display a comprehensive guide of program listings. Microsoft’s Media Center. Microsoft’s Media Center Software Currently. creating documents. one could use the media center to present a slide show of photographs from a family vacation. Depending on the permission associated with the digital content and operating system software. Overview The media center represents a PC with a television tuner that allows users to view real-time television while performing such traditional computer operations as sending and receiving e-mail. and a program that turns the hard drive in the media center computer into a sophisticated video recorder that allows the . basically controls the market for media center-based PCs. In fact. a media center will provide users with the ability to manage audio and photographs.” This is the first PC developed to operate via a remote control and reside on a shelf in the den or living room along with other audio-visual equipment.Hardware Components 143 6. Functionality In addition to managing video. users may be able to record video to disk. a program that facilitates the creation and playback of movies. Some examples of plug-ins include software for displaying and distributing caller ID on other devices connected to the home network. or even show a PowerPoint business presentation. it can be used to control the presentation of information. and performing other computer-related activities. Microsoft’s software supports a large number of third-party plug-ins that can add a considerable amount of functionality to its media center. an online TV listing guide that can be customized. or even forward a previously viewed show to a friend at another location or to other television receivers in the home. burn a DVD. which is based on a special version of Windows XP. Once the media center is capable of displaying infor mation on one or more televisions via a home network. download a movie acquired from the Internet.2 Media Center and Center Extenders One of the more interesting types of computers to reach the market over the past few years is a device sold as a “media center.

11a or IEEE 802. supporting either IEEE 802. the capability of the Media Center PC can considerably expand. when watching a video or television show. announced its first product in late 2004. Through the use of Microsoft and third-party software. the transmission range is roughly . because high frequencies attenuate more rapidly than lower frequencies. whereas use of the 802. you could have the caller ID of an inbound telephone call displayed on your PC monitor. the Linksys product connects to home entertainment devices using such standard cable connectors as RCA plugs that ar e inserted into a device’s jack. Based on Windows CE embedded software. Linksys. Use of the IEEE 802. and resume watching the show from the point where you initiated its recording.4-GHz band. If you decide to take the call you could then use a remote control to record the show while activating a microphone and routing the caller output through the television or computer speakers. Overview Media Center Extender technology was announced by Microsoft at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas during 2004. a subsidiary of Cisco Systems.11a standard results in communications occurring in the 5-GHz band.11g standard results in communications occurring in the 2. Once the call is completed you might then press a few keys on the remote to deactivate the microphone. Marketed as a media center extender.144 Understanding IPTV user to record specific shows or even a series of shows on any PC with Web access. and display audio and video content throughout a home. hang up the call. the Media Center Extender’s objective is to extend the reach of the core systems to television displays located in various areas and floors in a home. Although the 5-GHz frequency band has less interference. Product Operation One of the first products to use Microsoft’s CE embedded software is the Linksys Wireless Media Center Extender. Media Center Extender Although the Media Center PC was developed as a mechanism to record. control. For example.11g communications. The Media Center Extender connects to a home network via wired Ethernet 10/100 BASE-T or wireless Ethernet. it is the Media Center Extender that makes the distribution of information a reality.

4-GHz range. whereas the extender could be located in the den along with your audio-visual equipment. you will notice many similarities and a few differences. and media center extender represent devices located in the home or office. For example. or music previously stored on their Windows Media Center PC. At the opposite end of the IPTV network are a series of servers that acquire content. TV shows. and transmit the content onto an IP network for delivery to subscribers. download and view digital movies. you need to become aware of their functionality.9. Once the extender is connected to a television. Commencing with the headend server. you will probably want to use the Media Center Extender’s wireless capability as an 802. users can operate a remote control to make their way through a series of menus to obtain access to digital movies. Users can also watch. If you compare the servers just mentioned to the servers discussed in Chapter 4 and previously illustrated in Figure 4. 6. The differences result from the fact that we are now taking a more in-depth examination of the role of servers in an IPTV environment. this function could be accomplished via software on a “media” server. Because the media center extender. extends the range of the media center. component video. media center. and pause live television shows. record. timeshift broadcast server.11a device to minimize interference. we will discuss the role of the broadcast server. and even select and listen to hundreds of Internet radio stations via a stereo system connected to the extender. Thus. Although not all IPTV operations include every server listed in this section. However. a timeshift broadcast server enables a service provider to broadcast prerecorded video at different times. In this section we will focus our attention on the operational characteristics of a series of servers that form an integral portion of an IPTV infrastructure. as its name implies. its use allows the device to be located most anywhere in the home. The Linksys Media Center Extender includes S-video. pictures. if you use a microwave oven and have one or more 2.3 Servers The set-top box. In addition. if the telephone line comes into the home in the kitchen and bedroom you could locate the Media Center PC on a desk in the kitchen or bedroom. and subscriber management system. If the service provider does not offer this feature it would not need this type of equipment. also alleviating .Hardware Components 145 half of the 2. and composite video output along with a digital audio port and left and right audio ports that can be connected to speakers. digital video server. format the content for distribution.4-GHz cordless telephones used by teenagers.

the digital br oadcast frames are streamed via multicast addressing using selected protocols. and different types of presentation data. A corporate broadcast server is designed to enable organizations ranging in scope from single to multiple locations to broadcast live video. audio.9 are equivalent to a headend server. with the DSLAM transmitting the requested channel in the form of a received multicast transmission being transmitted as a unicast transmission over the copper connection to the subscriber. Then. such as a series of . this section will focus on the additional functions that may be included in a broadcast server used in a corporate environment. This server captures direct video broadcast streams transmitted via satellite (DVB-S). The captured broadcasts are then converted into multicast data streams using preselected television channel associations for transmission over an IP network. However.9. For either action the set-top box will transmit a request to join the multicast group associated with the selected channel. such as RTP under UDP or UDP RAW. the subscriber could either directly change channels or use the guide facility to select a channel. however.” Both the media server and the broadcast encoder shown in Figure 4. The headend server resides at the central facility of the service provider. This request will flow from the set-top box to the Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer (DSLAM) in a DSL environment. Headend Server One of the more important types of servers used in an IPTV environment is the headend server. Broadcast Server Another name for a headend server is a broadcast server. as the number of IPTV subscribers increases. Because we previously discussed the main functions of the headend server. Returning our attention to Figure 4. which is the focus of this section. the two terms can be synonyms or antonyms. the service provider will more than likely employ a “division of labor” by moving certain functions to separate servers. Assuming it does. and cable (DVB-C). terrestrial (DVB-T). The conversion process includes receiving streaming video broadcasts as a series of frames and converting the frames from each broadcast into a digital broadcast format. The headend software must obviously support the set-top box installed at the subscriber’s premises.146 Understanding IPTV the need for a separate server. such as MPEG-2 or MPEG-4. note that the generic “media server” is shown accepting a variety of broadcast sources and then transferring data to a “broadcast encoder.

Because a DVS is commonly used in a closed IPTV system. and transmission of digital video.Hardware Components 147 PowerPoint slides. the video broadcast server is commonly designed to generate a single feed at a time. libraries. museums. regional offices. contractors. the DVS is typically a smaller and less powerful server than a headend device and allows organizations to create content that is displayed within a predefined area. Instead. to selected IP addresses. storage. such as on displays within a museum or airport. Although this server can be located at the headend of a transmission system. while a different sequence of frames could be directed to a room where several Rembrandts and Van Goghs are on display. the video broadcast server does not convert broadcast streams into multiple multicast transmissions. whose broadcasts will appear the same on all screens. the DVS might transmit information about modern art to a museum room housing Jackson Pollock works and the work of similar modern artists. nor does this server work in conjunction with one or more types of set-top boxes. a DVS that is IP capable can transmit different frames to different IP addresses. and other types of video events that subscribers may wish to view at any time and for which a fee is usually associated. However. such as a school or museum. it can also be located at any point on a network. Video-on-Demand Server The video-on-demand (VOD) server functions as a repository for shows. . movies. and cost. editing. Of course. or customers. most if not all of its functionality can be included in the generic media servers shown in Figure 4. hotels. Unlike a conventional digital video server. through the use of hardware and software it becomes possible to take the video feed generated on a PC and move it via a wired or wireless network onto a large-screen display for viewing by a group of employees. which is viewed through the use of a browser operating on a desktop or laptop computer. Thus. it was not shown in Figure 4. Unlike a headend server. Thus. where each transmission is assigned to a television channel. or area offices or even customers and subcontractors.9. the three main differences between the broadcast or headend server and the VOD server can be categorized by their accessibility. and corporations. transmission method. Digital Video Server A third type of server that warrants a degree of explanation is a digital video server (DVS).9. This server supports the capture. Designed for use by schools. Those addresses can represent employees in the central office.

What sets them apart from headend or broadcast and VOD servers is the fact that the archive server is designed specifically to support an extremely large amount of online storage. and at least one subscriber has requested a specific content. Thus. Concerning the transmission method. archive servers are manufactured in a variety of configurations. That billing server is shown in Figure 4. a VOD server will transmit selected movies. Then. A recognition of the fact that both headend and VOD servers can easily lack the capacity to store thousands of hours of programming resulted in the development of video archive servers. sports. information stored on the VOD server is transmitted in response to specific subscriber requests. This may require the IPTV operator to first have VOD requests transmitted to a billing server that could also check the status of the subscriber’s account. consider a description of a movie or television show versus its actual stored content. after updating its records that server would then forward the request to the VOD server. the billing server might not only refuse the request. the VOD server transmits such information directly to the requesting subscriber as a sequence of unicast datagrams. the headend or broadcast server transmits each video stream as a multicast message that flows as a single sequence of datagrams to a DSLAM or equivalent device that serves many subscribers. and other information in response to a specific subscriber request. the multicast-capable DSLAM will transmit one sequence of datagrams to each subscriber who previously joined the multicast group by turning the channel in their set-top box. where. Archive Server One of the key differences between data and video is the fact that the latter requires considerably more storage. if the account has been in arrears for more than a predefined threshold or time duration. In comparison. the archive server will normally store video using a Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID).148 Understanding IPTV Whereas programs from the headend or broadcast server are transmitted at predefined times. A third difference between a headend or broadcast server and the VOD server resides in the fact that a subscriber will normally have to pay a fee to view a VOD performance. television reruns. typically in the tetrabyte range.9 as a subscriber management system and will be discussed in more detail later in this section. depending . but also transmit a message that flows through the subscriber’s set-top box and is displayed on the computer or television screen informing the subscriber of the reason for the rejection of the VOD request. Similar to conventional servers. Thereafter. In addition. Assuming the billing server approves the request.

Although this improves performance.2 provides a brief description of both standardized and proprietary RAID levels. but Level 10 requires a minimum of four drives and has a high overhead and limited scalability.’’ Bit-interleaved parity results in a byte-level striping using a dedicated parity disk. Level 10 was not one of the original levels. Note that RAID represents a category of disk drives . cached striping with dedicated parity to enhance Levels 3 and 4. However. it does not provide any fault tolerance capability. which is written along with data. uses asynchronous. A combination of RAID Levels 0 and 1. performance is degraded by the need to write to the parity disk when data is striped. and fault tolerance occurs due to a dedicated parity disk. Mirroring and duplexing provide a duplicate copy of data and twice the read transaction of single disks while the write transaction rate is unchanged. Level 5 removes the need for a dedicated parity drive. allowing for the failure of a single disk. enhancing performance while providing a good level of fault tolerance. Table 6.2 RAID Levels Level Description Level 0 Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5 Level 6 Level 10 Striped disk array without fault tolerance provides data striping or the spreading of blocks across multiple disk drives. allowing a single bit error to be corrected on the ‘‘fly. This proprietary method. This improves performance while maintaining fault tolerance.Hardware Components 149 Table 6. RAID Level 5 is perhaps the most popular version of RAID. on the RAID level employed. the parity disk is used to create a replacement disk. If a data disk fails. either performance or fault tolerance or a combination of both are improved. which is also a trademark of Storage Computer Corporation. A disadvantage of Level 4 is similar to that of Level 3 in that the parity disk can create write bottlenecks. Although similar to RAID Level 4. data and the error correcting code are read. Error-correcting coding stripes data at the bit level. Under Level 10 the array is initially set up as a group of mirrored pairs (Level 1) and then striped (Level 0). Cache is arranged into multiple levels and a processor manages the array asynchronously. Upon retrieval. Block-level striping with distributed parity stripes both data and parity across three or more drives. Redundant bits are computed using a Hamming code. Block-level striping with dedicated parity improves performance by striping data across many disks. Both performance and fault tolerance are high.

Although time-shifting can be performed through software on a headend. Timeshift Broadcast Server Timeshifting represents the transmission of a video at a time other than when it was originally scheduled. Because an archive server can function as a back end to other types of servers it can be used as auxiliary storage for any of the generic media servers shown in Figure 4. Because a billing and management capability is critical to the operation of the IPTV service. certain popular premium channel programming is commonly rebroadcast several times after its initial showing. the archive server can be connected to a LAN. Timeshifting is most often considered to represent the operation of a subscriber using a DVD or VCR recorder.9. satellite providers. That verification as well as billing and other management functions can be performed on a separate server. broadcast. fault tolerance. When this occurs. Although smaller IPTV providers as well as some telephone companies. This configuration ensures that the failure of a processor or disk can be compensated for. some IPTV providers may find it convenient to acquire programming via satellite or terrestrial communications and store such programming on a separate server for broadcasting at predefined times.150 Understanding IPTV that use two or more drives together to enable a degree of increased performance. this capability is usually implemented on a dual-processor system connected to a RAID that provides a high degree of fault tolerance. the timeshift broadcast server can also store premium channel rebroadcast standard-definition and high-definition programming. Similarly. sometimes the IPTV service provider will acquire and store video on a separate server for broadcasting at a specific time. but it can also represent the operation of an IPTV provider. the server is commonly referred to as a timeshift broadcast server. or video server. Because high-definition video requires considerably more bandwidth than standard-definition television. A RAID can be attached to most types of servers. Billing and Management Server In previous discussions. or both. but it is particularly useful when used with a video archive server in an IPTV environment. Thus. and cable operators may use dual-processor systems on a single . In addition. where it can provide a backup storage capability to other servers connected to the local area network. we just briefly mentioned that access to video on demand might require the status of a subscriber’s account to be verified.

This system can also include the ability to accept payments via electronic bank transfer or selected credit cards.9. the subscriber management system shown in Figure 4. . the data captured by the billing and management system is used to create a monthly subscriber bill that may be either transmitted via e-mail or sent as a postal delivery to each subscriber. The billing and management server is shown as a “Subscriber management system” in Figure 4. Thus. most operators will more than likely elect to maintain their billing and management system on dual servers that are interconnected and operate in tandem.Hardware Components 151 server.9 may include telecommunications connections to several major credit card organizations as well as a connection to perform transfer of funds via electronic banking. The functions of a billing and management server can include verification of the account status of subscribers to preclude those in arrears from ordering new pay-per-view shows as well as generating applicable messages to remind subscribers when payment is due or overdue. In addition.


because they basically perform the same types of operations differently. At the time this book was written. As this is accomplished. 153 . we focused on the key hardware components that cumulatively provide an IPTV solution. directly from the Internet or previously stored as a file on the computer. four media players accounted for the vast majority of PC usage: Microsoft’s Windows Media Player. examining how a media player can enable users to view and hear a range of media events. Apple Computer’s QuickTime. there are also some differences.Chapter 7 Software Solutions In the previous chapter. In doing so. In this chapter we will turn our attention to software in the form of media players that enable both corporate and individual users to view a variety of video data streams retrieved from the Internet. including movies and other types of video media. we will primarily discuss these two products in this chapter. Real Networks’ RealPlayer. The differences between each of the four products have to do more with their functionality. Because Microsoft’s Windows Media Player and Apple Computer’s QuickTime account for the vast majority of media players currently used. we will illustrate the use of IPTV. we will describe and discuss several of the more popular media players. However. Although the four products possess many similarities. Concerning similarities. and Macromedia’s Flash Player. we will briefly touch on the other two media players to ensure readers are aware of all four media players. all four products handle both video and audio and are capable of displaying certain types of stored images.


Understanding IPTV

7.1 Microsoft’s Windows Media Player
Microsoft’s Windows Media Player has been continuously updated since its initial release over a decade ago. Now in its tenth edition, this software enables users to organize and play multimedia. Users can listen to a variety of audio, including Internet radio; copy music to portable devices; view different types of media, including pictures and movies; and copy and play DVDs, CDs, and eventually high-definition (HD)-DVDs. As Microsoft likes to remind its software users, Windows Media Player can be considered to represent a combination of a radio, television, and photograph viewer combined into a single application. In this section we will first turn our attention to Windows Media Player 9. Once we are familiar with its functionality, we will then focus on the latest version of Windows Media Player, version 10. Both versions 9 and 10 are significant upgrades from prior versions of Windows Media Player and support the transfer of video to portable devices as well as the viewing of video streams.

Windows Media Player 9
Figure 7.1 illustrates Microsoft’s Player 9 with its Media Guide button selected. Clicking on the Media Guide button results in the periodic display of options for movie trailers, new DVD releases, and music videos. As can be seen in Figure 7.1, the menus associated with the Media Guide button allow users to select Music, Movies, Entertainment, Radio, Current Events, Site Index, and WindowsMedia.com. Although most of the menus are self-explanatory, a couple deserve mention. Selecting Site Index results in the display of the site index for the WindowsMedia.com Web site. In comparison, selecting WindowsMedia.com results in the display of that Web site’s home page, which, when performed by this author, was the same as selecting Home or Movies.

On the left side of the viewing window shown in Figure 7.1 are a series of buttons, with the Media Guide button selected. The top button, labeled Now Playing, allows users to use accelerator keys (Tab + Enter) for visualization, a term Microsoft uses to reference splashes of color and geometric shapes that change in tandem with the beat of the audio being played. Thus, users would first select the Radio Tuner button to hear a selected radio station, and then they would select the Now Playing button to display changing shapes and colors as they listened to the selected radio station.

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Figure 7.1 Windows Media Player 9, with its Media Guide button selected, displays a periodically changing collection of movie clips and radio listening options.

The third button on the left side of Windows Media Player 9, labeled CD Audio, provides users with the ability to listen to an audio CD. Users can also copy music as well as display artist and album information.

The fourth button, which is labeled Media Library, allows users to create and manipulate the contents of playlists, a term used to represent a collection of audio and video titles that collectively form a library. The items on or added to the playlist can include the audio or video fi le currently being played as well as other files either on the local computer or residing on another computer, with the latter referenced through the use of a URL. Users can add and delete items from a playlist and even delete a playlist from the library, including all items previously added to the playlist. Users can use the CD Audio button to create a CD from any playlist they have created. However, the playlist cannot be more than 74 minutes long, and only .mp3, .wav, .asf, .wma, and .wmv files are supported.


Understanding IPTV

Table 7.1 Windows Media Player 9 Audio and Video File Support
File Format Description



.wav .wma .wmv

Also referred to as .aifc and .aiff, this audio specification came from Apple Computer and is used on Silicon Graphics computers. The MPEG Layer 3 audio format is the most popular format for downloading music. By eliminating portions of the audio file that are not essential, mp3 files are compressed to approximately one-tenth the size of an equivalent pulse code modulation (PCM) file. This is the standard audio file format used by Windows PCs. Stores uncompressed (PCM) CD-quality sound files. The Windows Media audio format provides the ability to apply copy protection to files. The Windows Media video files represent advanced system format (.asf) files, which include audio, video, or audio and video compressed with Windows Media Audio (WMA) and Windows Media Video (WMV) codecs.

File Format Support
Table 7.1 provides a brief description of the audio and video file formats associated with the file extensions supported by Microsoft’s Windows Media Player.

Radio Tuner
The fifth button on the left portion of the Windows Media Player is labeled Radio Tuner. This button can be used in a manner similar to the preselected station, search, and seek buttons on a radio. Figure 7.2 illustrates the initial Windows Media Player 9 main window when the Radio Tuner button is selected. The left portion of the window lists featured stations and the right portion of the window lists groups of stations that will result in a list of stations that belong to each group. When users select a featured station they can add it to a station list, be directed to its Web site if given the option to do so, or hear its broadcast by selecting Play. Selecting the Find More Stations entry on the upper right portion of the window allows users to search by keyword or zip code to locate a list of stations.

Software Solutions


Figure 7.2 The Radio Tuner button allows users to listen to and record audio from stations around the world.

Portable Device Support
The sixth button, which is labeled Portable Device, provides users with the ability to copy audio and video files to a variety of devices, including products that use flash memory, as well as onto a disk, CD, or DVD.

Windows Media Player 10
Prior to examining the operation of Windows Media Player 10, a few words are in order concerning its privacy options (first shown during the installation process) and its new interface.

Installation Options
Figure 7.3 illustrates the default privacy option settings display that appears during the installation of Windows Media Player 10. Note that users can obtain detailed information about the privacy options by clicking on the More Information link. By default, media information from the Internet is enabled, music files are updated, licenses for protected content are automatically

.4 illustrates the initial Windows Media Player 10 screen display. to protect user privacy. consumers’ transmissions from the player to content providers in the form of unique Player ID and usage information to Microsoft are disabled. Another option that deserves mention concerns the selection of Windows Media Player 10 as the default player for 13 types of audio and video files. acquired. and file and URL history is saved.2. Note that the left panel buttons used in Windows Media Player 9 have been replaced by a series of tabs across the top of the screen as well as the use of the file menu entries across the top portion of the new Player. Screen Display As previously mentioned. However. Figure 7. The audio and video file types directly supported by this player that are enabled by default are listed in Table 7.3 The Windows Media Player 10 default privacy options preclude it from transmitting the player ID to content providers and usage information to Microsoft. Windows Media Player 10 includes a new visual interface.158 Understanding IPTV Figure 7. Unless unchecked. each of the file types listed in a table during installation will be opened by Windows Media Player 10.

4 Windows Media Player 10 replaced the buttons of Player 9 with tabs across the top of the screen.Software Solutions 159 Table 7.2 Windows Media Player 10 Default File Types Windows Media Audio file (wma) Windows Media Video file (wmv) Windows Media file (asf) Microsoft Recorded TV Show (dvr-ms) DVD video Music CD Playback MP3 audio file (mp3) Windows Video file (avi) Windows Audio file (wav) Movie file (mpeg) MIDI file (midi) AIFF file (aiff) AU audio file (au) Figure 7. .

videos.160 Understanding IPTV Now Playing Tab As its name implies. An example of the use of the Library tab is shown in Figure 7. however. . clicking on the Now Playing tab results in the display of a selected video (or of a visualization effect if an audio file is selected).5 The Windows Media Player Library tab provides the ability to select music and videos from a tree-type menu.5. Figure 7. In this example I used the Library tab to view titles stored in my playlists. because at the time the screen was captured no entries in the video playlist located on the right portion of the screen were selected. note that the tab labeled Now Playing was selected. In examining the top portion of Figure 7. and playlists. Library Tab The Library tab can be used to easily access music. this resulted in a blank screen.4. television shows.

Once they copy one or more songs onto the computer. where you can add a variety of plug-ins. Other types of files may have a protection feature that requires users to purchase a license that “unlocks” the file and allows it to be copied and played. . Concerning burning and synchronization operations. Video Operations Using the latest version of Windows Media Player. and JPEG images. point your browser to the Microsoft Windows Media Player 10 Web page (www.com/windows/windowsmedia/mp10). By default. when you obtain a PC with a DVD drive or install an internal or external DVD drive.asf.mp3. That is. as well as access a utility program to check the compatibility of DVD decoders on your computer. we will briefly discuss the features of two of these products. However. let’s examine its use for viewing videos. you will more than likely install a DVD decoder that is designed to work with the hardware. Inc. they can use the Burn tab to create a CD or the Sync tab to synchronize and download previously stored files onto a portable device.wmv. To provide readers with an indication of the capabilities of Windows Media Player 10 bundled with a DVD decoder plug-in. To do this.Software Solutions 161 Rip. including a DVD decoder plug-in. DVD Decoder Plug-Ins At the time this book was written the Microsoft Windows Media Player 10 Web site offered three DVD decoder plug-ins. and the Power DVD SE for Windows XP from CyberLink Corp. and Sync Tabs The Rip tab can be considered to represent the opposite of the Burn tab.. including the CinePlayer DVD decoder from Sonic Solutions. Now that we have an appreciation for the Windows Media Player 10 defaults and new interface. its functionality should be checked to avoid potential problems. the NVIDIA DVD decoder from NVIDIA. this author was able to both listen to CDs and play DVDs on his computer. only certain types of files can be transferred to a CD or portable media player.wma. To play DVDs using Windows Media Player requires that both a DVD-ROM and a software or hardware DVD decoder be previously installed on the computer. Although the DVD decoder will work with Windows Media Player 10. which was Windows Media Player 10 at the time this book was prepared. . Burn. Those files typically include .microsoft. . . the Rip tab gives users the ability to copy songs from CDs onto the computer. Windows Media Player (including the most recent version) does not include a DVD decoder.

this program determines if an MPEG-2 decoder is installed on your Windows XP computer and whether or not the decoder is compatible with Windows Media Player 10 and Windows XP Media Center Edition. it was not compatible with the synchronization features of Windows Media Player 10. This warning is most useful because it could eliminate many hours of attempting to determine why . Inc. is priced at $14. In examining the display resulting from the execution of dvdchecksetup. to synchronize MPEG-2-encoded content to a portable device the display warns the user to obtain an updated version of the MPEG-2 decoder. all of the decoders were limited to supporting MPEG-2 video streams. such as synchronizing (copying) recorded TV shows to a portable media center or another device. The filename for the utility program provided by Microsoft is dvdchecksetup. Thus. this utility could be used to determine whether the computer has a compatible MPEG-2 decoder. Offered for a price of $14. this software provides support for the playback of DVD movies and MPEG-2 video files.1 soundtracks to two channels for video playing on a computer limited to two speakers. Figure 7. including the numerous movie trailers available for viewing on the Web. Also note that although the CyberLink Video/SP Decoder was shown as compatible with Windows XP Media Center Edition. Referred to as the Windows XP Video Decoder Checkup Utility. This product claims to offer the industry’s “best DVD navigation” as well as provide the highest quality DVD playback on PCs. A second plug-in that deserves a few words is the Power DVD SE for Windows XP from CyberLink Corp. note that two DVD decoders were located on my computer. Thus. if a computer user encounters a problem. Microsoft now provides a free DVD and MPEG-2 utility designed for computers operating Windows XP with Media Player 10. This file can be downloaded from several Web sites in addition to Microsoft. and as such was indicated as the preferred decoder. it appears that software development is lagging behind hardware..exe.162 Understanding IPTV The CinePlayer DVD decoder from Sonic Solutions. Video Decoder Checkup Utility In addition to the previously mentioned plug-ins. the CinePlayer DVD decoder includes an MPEG-2 decoder that enables the playing of video files. In addition to playing DVDs. Thus. because some IP set-top boxes now provide support for high-definition video. Although each DVD decoder plug-in included a slight variance in features from other products.exe. the Power DVD SE provides support for Dolby Digital audio decoding and provides a downmix of 5.com.95. In addition.6 illustrates the result I obtained when I executed the utility program on one of my desktop computers.99.

Watching this video. the kleptomaniac from Cleveland. Carson were able to perform the entire skit without bursting into laughter. After I added it to my playlist. I once received via e-mail the famous “copper clappers” short video from a friend.6 The Microsoft DVD utility program checks your computer for MPEG2 decoders and their compatibility with Windows XP Media Center Edition as well as support for file synchronization. it would normally play automatically. clicked on its entry.Software Solutions 163 Figure 7. DVD. Check it out and you’ll see. if it does not begin to play you could click on the Library button and select and click on the drive that contains the disk. however. this is from an episode of The Tonight Show in which Johnny Carson performed a skit with Jack Webb of Dragnet fame. Figure 7. you would select the item from a playlist if the target is on your computer or referenced to a location via a URL. In Windows Media Player 10 you can . or selecting a menu entry. clicking on a button. The skit concerned the theft of copper clappers by Claude Cooper. I was amazed that both Mr. the video began playing. or audio visualization.) Manipulating the Video Display Users can manipulate the viewing area using a key pair.7 shows a still picture from that video of Jack Webb beginning the famous skit. Webb and Mr. If you are using a DVD player. and selected the Now Playing tab. Viewing Video To view a video. (If you have never seen it. the transmission of video from desktop or laptop to a portable device is failing using the preferred decoder.

Although most DVDs look fine when viewed in full-screen mode. The full-screen button (icon) is shown in Figure 7.7 at the top right but to the left of the playlist. click on a View Full Screen button.8 illustrates the default Windows Media Player 10 .7 A still shot from the “copper clappers” video short viewed using Windows Media Player 10. I would be remiss if I did not briefly discuss skin mode. Figure 7. press the ALT + Enter keys. most video shorts and movie trailers do not have sufficient resolution to be viewed in that manner. A skin can be considered to represent a new surrounding added to Windows Media Player that changes its appearance. or select Full Mode from the View menu to expand the video onto the full screen. Skin Mode In concluding our tour of Windows Media Player.164 Understanding IPTV Figure 7. A word of caution is in order concerning full-screen viewing. Pressing the ESC key restores the player to its original size.

Note that the default skin has a series of buttons over which the user can move the cursor to obtain a display of their meaning.2 Apple Computer’s QuickTime Apple Computer has long been the leading producer of hardware and software innovations. which is similar to a labeled spaceship that contains a video display area. because it includes support for creating videos using the H. QuickTime 7 Pro allows users to record audio for podcasts (a term used to reference radio shows downloaded over the Internet). Although the basic bundle is free. Although most skins incorporate basic player functions such as Play. which in effect is MPEG-4.99 from their Web site. Its current QuickTime player. Previous.264 codec.8 The default Windows Media Player 10 skin looks like a spaceship connected to a viewer. some skins provide added functionality. create movies that can be viewed on an Apple iPod. . is bundled with iTunes 6 for Windows 2000 and Windows XP based computers.Software Solutions 165 Figure 7. In addition. This version of QuickTime converts users from video watchers to video makers. and Volume Control. Stop. version 7. Most skins by default use only a small portion of a display and represent a convenient method for viewing a video or listening to an audio while working at your PC. Apple also offers an upgrade to QuickTime 7 Pro for $29. and convert media into more than a dozen formats. 7. Next. skin.

users can select from 14 languages. and colorful in a window that is up to four times the size of windows typically used to view video when an MPEG-2 codec is used. after which the installation process commences. a series of iTunes setup boxes will be displayed. The user either accepts the default location for installing iTunes and QuickTime or selects another location. The first box can be used to search the My Music folder to find songs already stored and add them to the iTunes music library. The download process and program installation were straightforward. which provides a significant advance in compression technology over MPEG-2. whose first dialog box by default selects adding mp3 and aac files to the iTunes music library and converting wma files to aac files. The user selects the button labeled Next.166 Understanding IPTV Overview Both QuickTime 7 and QuickTime 7 Pro include built-in support for H. clear. and a Setup Type dialog box gives the option of enabling or disabling the installation of desktop shortcuts and the use of iTunes as the default player for the audio files stored on the computer. Users can choose . followed by an “Installation Successful” message displayed in a new dialog box. I selected the bundled version of QuickTime and iTunes.264. with some options that were very interesting. one can expect that other media players will likely obtain a similar capability. with the default being English. which is common to a sequence of dialog boxes. iTunes Setup Assistant iTunes can play both mp3 and aac music files as well as automatically convert unprotected Microsoft wma files to aac files. The H. First. This conversion is performed by the iTunes Setup Assistant. A second interesting portion of the installation process is the appearance of a dialog box that provides a summary of information about iTunes and QuickTime. including system requirements and new features incorporated into each program. The next dialog box generated by the iTunes Setup Assistant concerns organizing the iTunes music folder. as more Internet HD programming becomes available for user access. Installation Although Apple provides users with the ability to download QuickTime as a standalone entity. Once the user clicks on the button labeled Finish at the bottom of the dialog box.264 compression standard was selected for use in HDDVDs and enables users to watch video that is crisp. Although QuickTime Pro’s support of MPEG-4 represented a method of media player differentiation. informing the user that the installation was completed without error.

9 iTunes can support listening to CDs and radio stations.Software Solutions 167 to keep the iTunes music folder organized. Figure 7. In the left column of Figure 7. File Conversion Figure 7. note the entry labeled Videos.9. By selecting that entry and using the file menu to input a previously stored video. viewing videos. . which has the heading Source. creating lists of songs.9 illustrates the iTunes display after I allowed the default iTunes Setup Assistant settings to convert existing wma files to aac files and add those files to the iTunes Music Library along with mp3 and aac files already in the My Music folder on my desktop PC. which will cause the program to rearrange and rename their music files and folders or they can choose to be in charge of changing file and folder names. and burning CDs and DVDs. A third iTunes Setup Assistant dialog box allows users to select whether to allow the program to take them to the iTunes Music Store or the iTunes Library.

note that this author previously stored four videos in the wmv format. which operated under Windows Media Player.10. which illustrates the use of the Import command in the File menu. one file incompatibility is the inability of QuickTime to open Microsoft wmv video files.wmv’ cannot be imported because it does not appear to be a valid exported file. Apple Computer developed file formats referred to as mov and qt for .10 will result in an error message: “The file ‘copper clappers. as we will note. users can import video and audio files.168 Understanding IPTV Figure 7. File Support Previously we described file types supported by Windows Media Player 7. Clicking on the Open button shown in Figure 7.10 Through the iTunes File menu. Because a friend previously e-mailed me the copper clappers video. In Figure 7. by default iTunes looks in the My Music folder. we can note one file type incompatibility by selecting that file. However. Video Incompatibility When the user selects Import from the iTunes File menu. the support of certain file types represents a problem. you can use iTunes to view videos. as indicated by the icons to the left of each video name.” Thus.

In May 2005 Apple released iTunes 4. Now that we understand the reason why a short video that was viewable in Windows Media Player 7 could not be viewed in QuickTime (or.8.5 for the Macintosh in 1992 and contracted with an outside company to develop QuickTime 1. In addition. This release included both a free version and a Pro version. which included additional features. . a version for Windows became available. Apple Computer released QuickTime 6. and view multimedia files. and a version for Windows was released in November 1994.0 for Windows. provided the basic architecture to include multiple movie tracks. Evolution The first version of QuickTime. Later versions of QuickTime require the proprietary Apple QuickTime player.264 performance. Apple released QuickTime 1. The next release of QuickTime.0 for the Macintosh was released in February 1994 and represents the only version of this media player that did not have a free version.0. which included support for MPEG-2. This dual-release policy of a free and Pro version of QuickTime has continued through version 7. Similarly. Apple has used a series of minor releases to fix bugs and improve H. edit. and a range of editing features. let’s turn our attention back to QuickTime.x. which included support for viewing full-screen QuickTime video through iTunes. Since then. and a graphics codec. Shortly after its Macintosh release. QuickTime 5. opened in iTunes’ movie source). version 7.0 or earlier can be played in the Microsoft Windows Media Player. Only QuickTime files version 2. with a Windows version released in July 2005. referred to as QuickTime 1. an animation codec. In July 2002. This release added skins to the QuickTime player and support for multiprocessor image compression.0. a full-screen video mode was added to the Pro version of the player. more accurately.0 added support for music soundtracks. This version of QuickTime added a second video codec and support for large movie files. version 3. QuickTime 2. QuickTime 2. The original video codecs included what is referred to as “road pizza” (used for normal. MPEG-4.0 for the Macintosh. In June 1999 Apple released QuickTime 4.0 for the Macintosh. Apple Computer’s QuickTime cannot be used to view Windows Media files. Between July 2002 and October 2004 Apple Computer added nine minor releases to include support for iTunes 4. publish. in the opposite direction. and aac file types. The latest release of QuickTime. extensible media type support.0 for the Macintosh was released in April 2001. occurred in March 1998. occurred in April 2005. live-action video).Software Solutions 169 QuickTime to create.

users can also select Half and Double Size. effects.170 Understanding IPTV Currently. the Pro version of QuickTime is needed to obtain a full-screen viewing capability. QuickTime supports mov files. as illustrated in Figure 7. Figure 7. each of which stores a particular type of data. unlike Windows Media Player 7. which includes built-in support for full-screen display of video. which function as multimedia container files that contain one or more tracks. video. In addition.264 standard as well as MPEG-4 files.” Through the View menu. users can operate QuickTime as a separate program. Each track contains track media as data reference to a file or as a digitally encoded media stream created using a specific codec. In addition. or text used for subtitles.11 QuickTime’s normal size display. However. such as audio. Apple Computer has integrated some elements of QuickTime and iTunes that enable movies to be viewed in iTunes. Operation As previously noted. This size is what Apple refers to as “normal. Notice the default size of QuickTime in relation to the size of a PC screen. .11. QuickTime 7 supports most of the H.

Figure 7. If you click on a movie trailer or select a video with a compatible file format and have iTunes 4. Note that the iTunes display screen is initiated as a response to the QuickTime selection.12 Selecting a trailer in QuickTime results in iTunes being initiated to allow the trailer to be played from the Music Store.8 or later.11 and you will notice a list of movie trailers that were transmitted from the Apple Computer Web site when the QuickTime program was initiated. When this occurs the source is shown as the Movie Store. . which illustrates the result obtained by clicking on the Basic Instinct 2 trailer shown in the upper right column of the QuickTime player shown in Figure 7. Clicking on the Trailer option in Figure 7.Software Solutions 171 Watching Videos Examine the top right column shown in Figure 7. the Apple Computer Movie Store offers consumers the ability to purchase a wide Figure 7.13 illustrates the beginning of the movie preview for Basic Instinct 2. An example of this is shown in Figure 7. As indicated earlier in this book. a term used to represent the iTunes Web site. with the selected trailer appearing as being from the Music Store. you can browse and watch videos in iTunes.11.12.13 results in the selected preview being displayed in iTunes.

In fact. or another type of video whose file format is supported by QuickTime you can open that URL for viewing in a QuickTime player. Apple Computer has limited the basic capability of QuickTime. Thus. Although users can open files and URLs. however. it will be interesting to observe the effect of a recent ABC announcement (April 2006) that that network intends to make available many shows for downloading for free. only QuickTime Pro allows them to save or export files.172 Understanding IPTV Figure 7. . it can also operate as a standalone video player. TV show.95 to purchase a license to use QuickTime Pro. if you know the URL of a movie. viewers will receive each show free from ABC with commercials. including Lost. variety of television shows.13 Watching a trailer in iTunes whose source is the Movie Store. QuickTime is highly integrated with iTunes. which encourages users to spend a nominal $29. Returning to QuickTime As previously noted. Although such shows will include many hit series now sold on the Movie Store. Because those shows include several ABC hits.

include a full-screen. two other players deserve mention. Figure 7.Software Solutions 173 Plug-In Components Similar to Microsoft. RealPlayer Similar to Apple Computer. and the camera icon allows camera controls if the user’s computer is connected to that type of device. and hospitality organizations from IPIX. The microphone icon controls the record volume. The four icons on the bottom edge of the settings box determine which settings can be viewed and changed. 7.14 illustrates the playing of ABC’s Commander-in-Chief program within a Macromedia Flash Player. Apple Computer’s Web site lists a series of components that can be acquired from third-party vendors to enhance QuickTime. Those players are the Real Networks RealPlayer and the Macromedia Flash Player. with the leftmost icon displaying privacy settings. The file folder icon allows a user to control how much information can be stored on the user’s computer. with a slight charge associated with the Plus version of the player. with the settings box displayed in the middle of the player. E-commerce. Flash Player A second media viewer that warrants attention is the Macromedia Flash Player.com and Yahoo News. Although Real Networks includes support for many popular video file formats. it currently has a small portion of the market for media players. Many Web sites. RealPlayer and RealPlayer Plus support RAM file types. . Examples of components. TV-quality codec from On2 as well as 360′ × 360′ images useful for real estate. The basic RealPlayer supports all major media formats and supports the transfer of music to more than 100 portable devices. Real Networks offers a free and a Plus version of RealPlayer.3 Other Media Players In addition to Microsoft’s Windows Media Player and Apple Computer’s QuickTime and iTunes. including abc. which are referred to as plug-ins by Microsoft. full-motion. support the use of the Macromedia Flash Player. travel. which are not compatible with Windows Media Player and QuickTime.

as PCs and TVs converge there exists the possibility that the media player will evolve to not only display video on televisions but. including displaying caller ID information. enabling video conference calls. and supporting to be developed applications that are limited only by one’s imagination. which will then distribute the selected channel via a home network to an applicable television located anywhere in the home that has a connection to the home network or to a TV directly connected to the box.174 Understanding IPTV Figure 7. combining the capabilities of media players with the display and audio capability of modern television. it becomes possible for IPTV data . For example. Although a media player is not required to view video on a television. in addition. 7. In an IPTV environment. it will primarily flow to a set-top box. When IPTV enters the home on a DSL or fiber connection. the media player is required to view video only on a PC. allow many other features.4 Summary In this chapter we looked at two media players in detail and briefl y discussed two additional players. permitting remote gaming.14 Viewing the ABC network hit Commander in Chief using Macromedia’s Flash Player.

Thus. convergence of PC and TV technology along with a broadband Internet connection offers the potential to alter the manner by which we view video as well as when and where we view video.Software Solutions 175 streams to be manipulated for the convenience of the consumer to include recording shows with less commercial breaks on a network drive available for viewing on any television in a home connected to the home network. .


examining how we can view television broadcasts on our PC from stations located around the world. weather. Internet Television Internet television refers to the broadcast of news. Although the two terms can be treated as synonyms. Although television delivered via the Internet represents IPTV. The Internet interface either takes selected station videotapes and converts them into a sequence of IP datagrams transporting. IPTV When we talk about Internet television and IPTV we tend to treat them as synonymous terms because Internet television represents a stream of IP datagrams that delivers MPEG frames generated by a television station. and TV shows from television stations that add an Internet interface to their over-the-air broadcasts. most 177 . let’s focus on the true meaning of each technology to obtain an appreciation for how they actually differ from one another. 8. we will examine what we can consider to represent an evolving industry — television delivered via the Internet. In the second section we will turn our attention to Internet television.1 Internet Television vs. in reality they should be used to describe two different technologies. Thus.Chapter 8 Internet Television In concluding this book. there are some significant differences between the two that we will discuss in the first section of this chapter.

at a high speed that enables subscribers with an applicable set-top box to view events on a television without buffering. an Internet television station. represents a private IP network that will deliver television. Thus. the term’s intended usage is to describe the transmission of video. this industry has exhibited explosive growth to the point where hundreds of stations were available for viewing during 2006. is not mandatory for viewing video. television. which in effect represents a conventional television station that also broadcasts video via an Internet connection. although desirable. Viewing of station broadcasts on the Internet is accomplished via a media player. the set-top box is an integral hardware component associated with IPTV whereas the media player represents an integral software component associated with Internet television viewing. In this section we will look at a few individual Internet television sites as well as a Web site for connecting to and viewing tens of television stations located around the globe. Video will be decoded by a set-top box and delivered either directly to a connected television or via a home network to a remote television. MPEG-2 frames. Because media players support buffering of IP datagrams. 8. which was described earlier in this book. and concerts. The media player supported provides the interface required to view the stream of IP datagrams on a desktop or laptop computer. or provides a “dawn-to-dusk” broadcast via the Internet of the station’s over-the-air transmission. Now that we have a general appreciation for Internet television.178 Understanding IPTV commonly. video on demand (VOD). limits its support to one type of media player. Project Lightspeed. and high-speed Internet access to millions of homes. Apple’s QuickTime Media Player. Probably one of the most mentioned IPTV projects is Project Lightspeed initiated by SBC Communications (which acquired AT&T and assumed its name during 2006). we will conclude this chapter by examining the evolving industry represented by Internet television.2 Internet Television From a handful of television stations viewable via the Internet a few years ago. such as Microsoft’s Windows Media Player. a broadband connection to the Internet. Typically. including movies. or Real Networks’ RealPlayer. . IPTV Although IPTV can be viewed as Internet television. let’s turn our attention to IPTV. Now that we have an appreciation for the similarities and differences of Internet television and IPTV.

By 2000. Pennsylvania. Figure 8. and images to present the news. consider NBC10.1 illustrates the home page of NBC10 from the morning of Figure 8.1 The home page of NBC10. when Reid Johnson. text. founded the firm Internet Broadcasting. which is the Web site operated by Internet Broadcasting in Philadelphia.Internet Television 179 Evolution Internet television dates to the mid-1990s.com. its Web sites use a mixture of video. and the McGraw-Hill Companies. Its first television station Web site. This expansion caught the attention of such media companies as the Hearst Corporation.com enables visitors to view a video or read the top stories. .com. For example. including becoming number one in TV news in 18 of the top 25 markets in the United States. went online during 1996. which became partners of Internet Broadcasting. Although Internet Broadcasting has achieved significant success. the Washington Post. www. Internet Broadcasting produced more than 70 television Web sites that cumulatively received more than 12 million unique visitors monthly.Channel4000. The success of Channel 4000 became a model for expansion into additional markets. a 20-year veteran of the television news business.

In an Internet environment it becomes possible for television stations to become “global super stations” because any user connected to the Internet via an applicable high-speed connection becomes capable of viewing the features of the site. over the Internet. read the story. In addition.180 Understanding IPTV April 18. and comedy shows. the term was expanded to reference the electronic transmission of audio and video data over the Inter net in realtime in the form of streaming audio and video. Advantages A conventional television station is limited by the FCC as to its broadcast power. and other forms of audio-visual entertainment. Thus. As other companies developed Web sites to broadcast video. Currently. 2006. movies. Later. . which is the manner by which television stations obtain the majority of funds for their operation. because distant cable companies could negotiate deals that enabled television stations located in one area of the country to be carriers in a cable territory located in another portion of the country. the conventional television station can be considered to be limited to a specific geographic market. the term “Webcasting” evolved. it also becomes possible for television stations to expand their advertising base to national and international companies. Among the first television stations to break the geographic barrier was WTBS in Atlanta. Thus. this newly expanded definition included music videos. under the “News” column on the left portion of the Web page visitors can select the “Video” entry. other organizations began to realize the potential of broadcasting movies and television shows. or view images. This limitation affects advertising. A user can elect to watch a video of the top story. Webcasting At approximately the same time Internet Broadcasting was placing television stations on the Web. such as soap operas. This term was initially used to reference the broadcasting of television programs. The development of satellites allowed television stations to br eak their former geographic barrier. including different types of video. which became known as a “super station” due to the large number of cable companies that carry its programming. Thus. NBC10 limits its support of video to Windows Media Player. which will result in the display of a series of videos by pr edefined category. news.

“Q time” identifies Apple Computer’s QuickTime Media Player. That number identifies the Internet connection (in kilobits per second) required to view streaming video from the station. If you scroll down the site’s home page.2. a key question is whether the station is now violating its licensing and distribution agreement. you will need to run an ActiveX control. rulings indicate that copyright infringement occurs when U. most programming has licensing and distribution agreements that may be applicable to a geographic area or a country. Now that we have an appreciation for the evolution of Internet television and some of its legal issues. Looking at Figure 8. whose home page is shown in Figure 8. Through the BeelineTV.com Web site will prompt you with an applicable message that. AFTV Movie Classics and NASA TV. you encounter more than 35 stations listed under the “English TV” category. when accepted. some legal issues must be considered.S. will result in Windows Media .com.com Web site you can view television stations located in more than 20 countries. To the right of the station entry you will see the word “Real. is the foreign television Webcaster accountable for copyright infringement under U.” which identifies the type of media player required for viewing the station’s streaming media. Currently. you will note a number to the left of each television station entry. Another question that warrants consideration occurs when a foreign television station obtains foreign rights to programming produced in the United States and allows Internet users in the United States to view such programming. When this occurs.2. When a television station offers such programming to Internet users.S. Those legal issues are associated with copyrighted material. law? Although some initial U. including England’s BBC News.” “Q time. the appeals process may require several years until this issue is fully resolved. The BeelineTV. and “Media” identifies Microsoft’s Windows Media Player. citizens located in the United States view copyrighted television programming originated in a foreign jurisdiction. “Real” identifies Real Networks’ RealPlayer. Canada’s CBC. One such portal is BeelineTV.S. Internet Television Portals One of the more recent developments in the wonderful world of Internet television is the establishment of portals that provide users with access to hundreds of Internet television stations located around the globe. Here.Internet Television 181 Legal Issues Although the transmission of television Webcasting may appear to be simple.” or “Media. To view certain stations using Windows Media Player. and from the United States. let’s turn our attention to television portals.

it may or may not be a good idea to increase the screen size or change the view to full-screen mode.com and other portals provide access to a large amount of free content. there is an H. However.182 Understanding IPTV Figure 8. Depending on the media player’s codec.com Web site you can access more than 100 Internet television stations.2 From the BeelineTV. Figure 8. As more users begin to view video over the Internet. If your codec supports MPEG-2 and the station transmits streaming video in a lowresolution format. if your media player supports MPEG-4. Other Portals Although BeelineTV.264 movie station you can access to view movies on a full-screen basis with very good clarity.3 illustrates the window that opened after this author selected the AFTV sci-fi/horror station. Note that from the new window in which the programming is displayed you have the option of viewing the channel schedule and doubling the screen size. broadband video content from major news . Player opening in a separate window. it will look awkward when switching to a larger screen size. we can reasonably expect more stations to offer MPEG-4 streaming video and media players to eventually support the technology by default.

which enables users to view press briefings and various scientific-related clips without cost.Internet Television 183 Figure 8. Individual Internet Stations In addition to the use of a portal. some portals now charge a monthly or annual fee to view hundreds of stations. the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Web site provides a link to NASA TV. you can dir ectly access various Internet television sites that may or may not be available for access via a portal. For example. As the industry matures it will be interesting to observe the difference in the growth of advertiser-supported Internet television versus subscription-based Internet television.israelnationaltv. Figure 8.3 Viewing an AFTV sci-fi/horror station broadcast on the Internet.com). including subscription-only stations. Thus.4 illustrates the home page of this . stations and other stations can be viewed only via a subscription service. A second example of Internet television viewing is Israel National TV (URL: www.

As this occurs.3 Summary Today we are at the start of a revolution concerning the manner by which we access and view television stations connected to the Internet. interviews. 8. evolving technology will change this situation for the better. Note that you can choose to view news. higher speed Internet access becomes more economical and available. Web site. This site envelopes Windows Media Player with a series of selections and text-based news. Internet television will join the ranks of other types of entertainment that on a daily basis compete for our attention.264-compatible streaming media.com. which illustrates how stations can tailor a media player to satisfy their operational requirements. and other types of video as well as purchase programming.4 The home page of IsraelNationalTV. Although current Internet connection speeds and media player capabilities make most Internet television viewing feel similar to viewing a modern television show on a TV set produced during the 1960s. . we can reasonably expect its use to significantly increase. As more capable codecs are added to media players.184 Understanding IPTV Figure 8. and Internet television stations convert to H.

46–47. 132 American National Standards Institute (see ANSI) American Wire Gauge (see AWG) Analog television 49–56 ANSI 25. 64. 23.144 802.11 130 802. 51. 78 Billing and management server 150–151 Blockbuster 3 BPON 34–35 British Telcom Laboratories 31 Broadband access 36 Broadband PON (see BPON) Broadcast server 146–147 Broadcast transmission 18.Index 10 Base-5 118 802. 30–32. 22–23. 15. 140. 132 ADSL2 25–28. 12–13.11b 130–132 802. 19. 122–124 Carrierless amplitude phase (see CAP) CBS 38 Cell phone transmission 40 Channel 4000 179–180 Chrominance 46. 136 Codec delay 42 Coding gain 27 Color hue 55 185 . 10.11n 131–132 AT&T 6–7.11g 131–132. 132 ADSL2+ 28–32. 105–106 Business TV to desktop 13 A Access network 19 Active components 31 Address mask request message 99 Address mask reply message 99 Address resolution protocol (see ARP) ADSL 19. 36–37. 178 AWG 116 B Beeline TV 181–182 Bell South 22–23. 80 Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (see ADSL. 165–173 APON 34 Archive server 148–149 Archos 3 ARP 86 Aspect ratio 59–60.11a 130–132. 66 Cinema Now 3 Cisco Systems 2–3.144–145 802. ADSL2) ATM PON (see APON) C Cable TV operation 9–10. 38. 120–122 AOL 39 Apple Computer 4. 30–32. 31 B-frame coding 74–74. 43 CAP 24. 37.

164 F Fiber-to-the-building (see FTTB) Fiber-to-the-cabinet (see FTTCb) I ICMP 88. 60–63 Headend server 146 High definition television (see HDTV) Home network 19. 30–31. 95–99 Information request message 98–99 .dmt 23–24 G.264 81–83. 168–170 Financial comparison 8–9 FiOS TV 7 Flash player 173–174 Fragmentation 89–90 Frame rate 80 FSAG 34 FSAN 117 FTTB 32. 126 FTTC 31.4 standard 25 E Echo request 96 Echo reply 96 EDTV 60–62 Enhanced definition television (see EDTV) EPON 34–35 Ethernet-based PON (see EPON) ETSI Plan 997 118–119 ETSI Plan 998 118–119 European Telecommunications Standards Institute (see ETSI Plan 997. Plan 998) H Ham band notching 119–120 HDTV 221.992. 63 DSL 10.1 standard 23–24 G. 68–70 Discrete multitone (see DMT) Distance learning 13–14 DMT 24–25. 23.2 standard 25 G.bis 25 G. 128–134 Horizontal line sync pulse 54 Hotzone 15 Huffman coding 65. 126 FTTP 6.992.186 Understanding IPTV Color saturation 55 Color reference burst 54 Colorspace conversion 66 Comcast 38. 46–47.992. 45. 23 Full Service Access Group (see FSAG) Full Service Access Network (see FSAN) G Gigabit Ethernet PON (see GPON) GPON 35 G. 36 DSLAM 146 DVD decoder plug-ins 161–162 Dynamic ports 101–102 Fiber-to-the-curb (see FTTC) Fiber-to-the-exchange (see FTTEx) Fiber-to-the-home (see FTTH) Fiber-to-the-neighborhood (see FTTN) Fiber-to-the-premise (see FTTP) File format 155–156. 45. 126 FTTCb 125 FTTEx 124–125 FTTH 126–127 FTTN 6. 122–124 Dolby 60. 72 H.lite.992. 159. 23.lite 25 G. 40 Component video 53 Composite video 53–55 Constellation size 122 Convergence 42–44 Corporate communications 14 Cox communications 40 D Data link layer 86–87 Destination unreachable message 96–97 Deutsche Telecom 31 Dial-up delays 36 Digital Subscriber Line (see DSL) Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer (see DSLAM) Digital television 57–63 Digital television formats 60–61 Digital video server 147 Discrete cosine transform 65.3 standard 25 G. 30–35.

59 Inter-frame coding 71.45 Optical line terminator (see OLT) Optical Network unit (see ONU) J Jitter buffer 85.45 On–Demand video 12 ONU 32–33. 73–74 Internet 1–2 Internet Control Message Protocol (see ICMP) Internet television 177–184 Internet television portals 181–182 Intra-frame coding 72–73 iPOD 4.154–165 .143–145.146 MPEG4 17.146. 166 IP address fields 91–92 IP datacast 40 IP datagram 87–88 IPTV Applications 11–16 Definition 1 Delivery 105–110 Features 10–11 Home network 129–133 Impact 19–20 Market drivers 21–28 Network elements 16–20 Potential impact 16–20 TC/IP protocol suite 85–115 Television 177–184 IP/TV 2 IP video 3 IPv4 Reader 87–92 Israel National TV 183–184 iTunes 4.77–81.107.55 Parameter problem message 98 Paramount 4 Passive components 31 Passive optical network (see PON) Pay-TV 35–41 Phase Alternating Line (see PAL) Physical layer 86–87 Picture luminance 54 Picture scanning 59 Pixels 56–57 Playlist 155–156.166 MTBF 31–32 Multicast transmission 17–18 N NAT 104–105 National Television Systems Committee (see NTSC) NBC 38 Network address translation (see NAT) Network layer 88 NTSC 50–55. 114 P PAL 50.140 Movie link 3–4 MPEG1 64–77. 115–135 Lossless compression 45–46 Lossy compression 45–46. 12–13. MPEG2. 15.160 PON 31–35 Port numbers 101–103 Powerline Alliance 131–132 Private IP–based network utilization 4–5 L Last mile 19. 166–172 Mobile phone television 14–15 Motion compensation 71 Motion estimation 70–71 Motion picture expert group (see MEG1.107 MPEG1 audio 76–77 MPEG2 17. 64.Index 187 Information reply message 98–99 Interlaced 51.6. 50–51.107–109. MPEG4) Motorola 136.138–140. 66 M Mean time between failure (see MTBF) Media center 143–144 Media center extender 144–145 Messenger program 15 MGM 4 Microsoft 3. 38. 53.59–60 O OLT 32–33. 64–83 Luminance 46. 12.

123 QoS 43 Quadrature amplitude modulation (see QAM) Quantization 67–68 Quantization error 68 Quality of service (see QoS) Quicktime 165–173.19.43 Real Player 4.173 Real time protocol (see RTP) Real time video 85 Real time transport control protocol (see RTCP) Reed–Solomon coding 26–28 Reference black level 54 Regional Bell Operating Company (see RBOC) Registered ports 102–103 Reserved IPv4 network address 104–105 Resolution 57–58 Royal Philips Electronics 140 RTCP 113–114 RTP 108–113 Set-top boxes 135–142 Shannon’s Law 27–28.23.188 Understanding IPTV Progressive scanning 59 Project Lightspeed 6–7.10.99–104 Telephone company landline erosion 22–28 Time exceeded message 98 Timeshift broadcast server 150 Time stamp request message 98 Time stamp reply message 98 Time-to-live 90 Time Warner 40 Transmission control protocol (see TCP) Transport layer 86–87. 140 SDH 120 SDTV 21.46.63 Source quench message 97 Sprint Nextel Corporation 40 Standard definition television (see SDTV) Stored replay video 85 Subsampling 66–67 Subnet mask 94–95 Subnetting 93–95 Symbol rate 122 Synchronization 60 Synchronous digital hierarchy (see SDH) Synchronous optical network (see SONET) T Talegent 142 TCP 86.30–31. 99–104 UDP/raw 108–109 UDT/RTP 108–109 Unicast transmission 18 Universal 4 User datagram protocol (see UDP) S SBC Communications (see AT&T) Scanning 51–52 Scientific Atlanta 136.23.140. 132 VDSL alliance 122–123 Verizon 7. 32–33.55 Sequential Couleur a Memoire (see SECAM) Servers 145–151 Service provider network 18–19 V VDSL 19. 116–124.37 .60–61 SECAM 50.123–124 Sigma Designs 141–142 Signal to noise ratio (see S/N ratio) S/N ratio 122 SONET 120 Sony Pictures 4 Sound 60.99–105 U UDP 86–87. 181–182 R RAID 148–150 Raw UDP 88 RBOC 22–23.178 Public IP-based network utilization 2–3 Q QAM 24.

147–148 Video-on-demand server 147–148 Video sequencing 79 Voice coding standards 42 Voice over Internet Protocol (see VoIP) VoIP 5.138–139.39 Webcasting 180–182 Well known ports 102 Windows Media Player 4.Index 189 Vertical sync pulse 55 Vertical synchronization 51.21–22 W Warner Brothers 4. 181–182 Windows Media Player 9 154–157 Windows Media Player 10 157–165 Wired Ethernet 130 Wireless Ethernet 19.55 Very-high-bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line (see VDSL) Video chat 15–16 Video compression 45–48 Video content 2–3 Video decoder checkup utility 162–163 Video distribution network 44–48 Video headend 16–18 Video-on-demand 107.130–131 Y Yahoo 15 .

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