The Open IPTV Forum has published its first detailed suite of specifications for standards to enable the widespread deployment of internet protocol television services. With this first release, the pan-industry group aims to open up access to the interactive and personalised services offered by IPTV. Together with profiles to be published in the spring, it says the specifications will allow the industry to deploy networks and devices that interoperate while offering an evolution path for the future.

Release 1 consists of seven volumes, covering media formats, metadata, network protocols, declarative and procedural application environments, authentication, content and service protection, together with an updated functional architecture specification. The documents are available for download from the forum web site.

“I am confident that IPTV Release 1 will contribute to the global growth of IPTV deployment in the near-term,” said Yun Chao Hu of Ericsonn, who chairs the Open IPTV Forum.

The forum will now begin work on Release 2, which is scheduled for completion by the end of 2009, to address issues of interoperability, testing and profiling.

The output of the group represents the first concerted effort to establish detailed standards for interactive television beyond broadcast applications.

The Open IPTV Forum is open to participants from across the communications and entertainment industries, bringing together network operators, content providers, service providers, consumer electronics manufacturers and home and network infrastructure providers.

Members include a variety of consumer electronics companies, software and communications companies. Notably absent is Microsoft which is promoting its own end-to-end Mediaroom platform. There are now over 50 members, with recent additions including the BBC, RAI and Canal Plus.