A number of companies have come together to form a consortium to develop an end-to-end specification for the delivery of internet protocol television services. They include network infrastructure providers Ericsson and Siemens Networks, consumer electronics companies Panasonic, Philips, Samsung and Sony, as well as operators AT&T, France Telecom and Telecom Italia.

Notably absent, at this point, are Alcatel-Lucent and Microsoft, as well as a number of other smaller independent players in this emerging market.

The forum will focus on the development of open standards that could help to streamline and accelerate deployments of IPTV technologies.

While standardization bodies are already addressing specific elements of IPTV, the pan-industry Open IPTV Forum says it will work to bring together these diverse standards into a complete delivery solution, with the goal of accelerating the full standardisation of IPTV-related technologies.

The Open IPTV Forum plans to establish specifications later in 2007. A requirements and architecture specification is planned by September 2007, with a first release of protocol specifications by December 2007.

The Open IPTV Forum will work on the basis of suitable open-standards technologies. Significantly, it will address the delivery of services over both managed networks and the public internet, with provision for interoperability between such services and retail consumer devices.

The forum says that while there are many standardization bodies that address IPTV, no one is addressing the complete solution. The Open IPTV Forum intends to fill the gaps between the islands of standardization.

It is expected that IMS or IP Multimedia Subsystem services will form part of the specification, and that the DNLA home network standards of the Digital Living Network Alliance will also be considered as candidate components.

The forum adds that all companies that can and want to contribute toward the objectives of the Open IPTV Forum are welcome to apply for membership.