Friday, November 6, 2009

MPEG's Advanced IPTV Terminal (AIT) Ready for Take Off?

During its 90th meeting, MPEG remarkably revised and improved the requirements for the Advanced IPTV Terminal (AIT) standard. Please see a previous post for an overview. The main objective of AIT is as follows and taken from N11070.
The AIT standard will support the service providers’ drive to deploy innovative multimedia services ... by identifying a set of “Basic Services” and defining the corresponding set of protocols and APIs to enable any user in an AIT value chain to access those services in an interoperable fashion.
Currently, requirements for 30 of these basic services have been defined which can be clustered in services pertaining to the identification, authentication, description, storage, adaptation, posting, packaging, delivery, presentation, interaction, aggregation, management, search, negotiation, and transaction. Furthermore, basic services can be grouped to so-called "Aggregated Services" enabling one to offer a bundle of services to someone else.

Interestingly, the requirements document also defines some "standard-related requirements" which are as follows:
  1. The Standard shall be based on technologies from Recommendations | International Standards unless no Recommendation | International Standard provides a solution satisfying the Requirements
  2. The Standard shall only reference, not specify technologies. If new technologies will be required they will be specified by appropriate standards. However, some “glue” specification may be needed for integrating the technologies
  3. The Standard shall specify (a) protocols to enable users to call services, (b) Application Programming Interfaces to access services, (c) bindings to specific programming languages, and (d) informative examples of AIT devices (server and client).
In other words, MPEG will only make references to existing standards and if something is missing, will specify amendments in the respective existing standards and reference them from within AIT.

Okay, so what's now the list of basic services and their definitions. Note that each of the services have individual requirements and also a section about what is being requested by proponents including a list of candidate technologies developed by MPEG.
  1. Identify User: A Service that identifies Users in an AIT value chain
  2. Authenticate User: A Service that Authenticate Users in an AIT value chain
  3. Describe User: A Service that allows Description of Users of an AIT value chain
  4. Identify Content: A Service that allows Identification of Content in an AIT value chain
  5. Authenticate Content: A Service that allows Authentication of Content in an AIT value chain
  6. Describe Content: A Service that allows Users associate Metadata to Content in an AIT value chain
  7. Store Content: A Service that allows Users in an AIT value chain physically saves Content
  8. Adapt Content: A Service that allows Users in an AIT value chain to process Content, e.g. conversion from one format to another, on the fly, …
  9. Post Content: A Service that lets Users of an AIT value chain make other Users aware of their Content including a way to access it, e.g. as putting URI in an EPG or in a web page
  10. Package Content: A Service that allows Users of an AIT value chain to make Content ready for delivery, e.g. creating MPEG-21 file for a certain Content for download
  11. Deliver Content: A Service that allows Users to transfer Content between Users of an AIT value chain
  12. Present Content: A Service that allows Users to experience Content, e.g. when a Device decodes video into a sequence of images displayed on the screen
  13. Interact with Content: A Service that allows Users interact with Content
  14. Identify Service: A Service that allows Users to assign a unique Identifier to Services of an AIT value chain
  15. Authenticate Service: A Service that allows Users to confirm the identity of a Service
  16. Describe Service: A Service that allows Users to associate metadata to Services of an AIT value chain
  17. Aggregate Service: A Service that allows Users to combine different Services at the technical level to an Aggregated Service of an AIT value chain
  18. Identify Device: A Service that allows Users to assign a unique Identifier to Devices of an AIT value chain
  19. Authenticate Device: A Service that allows Users to confirm the identity of a Device
  20. Describe Device: A Service that allows Users to describe Devices of an AIT value chain
  21. Manage License: A Service that handles the life cycle of a Licence for Users in an AIT value chain, e.g., to create, issue, authenticate (i.e., verify integrity and authenticity of the Licence), authorize (the Rights in), revoke and expire a Licence.
  22. Manage Tool: A Service that handles the life cycle of a Tool in an AIT value chain, e.g., to create, identify, describe, deliver, install, authenticate, authorize (use of), uninstall and update a Tool
  23. Manage Event: A Service that caters to the life cycle of Events in an AIT value chain, e.g., to request and report Events
  24. Identify Group: A Service that allows Users to assign a unique Identifier to Groups of an AIT value chain
  25. Describe Group: A Service that allows Users to describe Groups of an AIT value chain
  26. Authenticate Group: A Service that allows Users to confirm the identity of a Group
  27. Manage Group: A Service that allows Users to manage life cycle of groups of entities such as Users, Device, Contents, or Services, in an AIT value chain
  28. Search Entity: A Service that locate Entities such as Users, Device, Contents, or Services, in an AIT value chain satisfying some criteria
  29. Negotiate Entity: A Service that helps Users of an AIT value chain achieve an agreement on the terms of use of an Entity, e.g., rights and conditions to use Content, Service (e.g., Delivery, Adaptation)
  30. Transact Entity: A Service that allows Users in an AIT value chain to interface with Payment and Cashing systems
Note that the terms used in the basic services are defined in the Annex of N11063.
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