IPTV Frameworks
Oscar Martinez Bonastre, Lucas Lopez and Antonio Peñalver
Operations Research Centre, Language & Computing Unit.Miguel Hernandez University
Avda, Universidad, Elx, Spain
Keywords: Distributed Systems, IPTV, Multimedia.
Abstract: As distributed systems scale up and are deployed into increasingly sensitive settings, demand is rising for a
new generation of communications middleware in support of application-level computing. Thus, knowledge
of distributed systems and communications middleware has become essential in today's computing
environment. Additionally, multimedia distributed systems are confronting a wide range of challenges
associated with limits of the prevailing service oriented architectures and platforms. In this position paper,
authors seek that the future of multimedia distributed systems will pass through new techniques to stream
data at high rates to groups of recipients, e.g., collaboration systems, computer gaming, embedded control
systems and other media delivery systems. In order to be more specific with promising applications for the
future of multimedia distributed systems, authors have selected a hot topic like Internet Protocol Television
(IPTV). Authors present Tele-ed IPTV, i.e., an author’s tool they have developed to distribute multimedia
content to TV sets. This position paper argues that future of multimedia distributed systems will pass
through IPTV frameworks which interconnect systems that previously have been relatively incompatible.
A distributed system consists of several resources
that communicate over a network to coordinate the
actions and processes of an application (Coulouris,
G., 2000). Distributed systems techniques have
attracted much interest in recent years due to the
proliferation of the Web and other Internet-based
systems and services. At present, application
development for distributed systems relies more and
more on middleware support through the use of
software frameworks that provide higher-level
abstractions such as distribution of multimedia
objects (Birman, 2005). Few years ago, (Mattern,
2003) predicted that multimedia distributed systems
should support multimedia data streams to
heterogeneous devices, mobile code, user and device
mobility. Then, scalability, quality of service, and
robustness with respect to partial component failures
have become key issues. In this new context dealing
with multimedia distributed systems, authors have
found out evidences in order to believe that one of
most promising and emerging fields for multimedia
distributed systems should pass through a hot topic
like Internet Protocol Television (Alfonsi, B, 2005).
As a result, this position paper argues that the
future of multimedia distributed systems will pass
through Internet Protocol Television (IPTV)
frameworks which interconnect systems that
previously have been relatively incompatible.
The rest of the paper is organized as follows.
Section 2 introduces the field of IPTV with
associated data distribution techniques. Section 3
presents an author´s application which distributes
sucessfully multimedia contents through an IPTV
campus network. Section 4 shows conclusions
dealing with the future field of distributed systems.
Over the recent years Internet Protocol Television
(IPTV) has gained popularity among the new
broadband services.
Concretely, IPTV is a somewhat new broadband
service, but it is expected to grow rapidly over the
next few years (Arberg, 2007).
Next, Figure 1 shows the anticipated increase in
traffic over broadband access networks. As depicted,
this increase will largely be driven by IPTV service.
Martinez Bonastre O., Lopez L. and Peñalver A. (2008).
In Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Software and Data Technologies - PL/DPS/KE, pages 229-232
DOI: 10.5220/0001900002290232
Figure 1: Traffic increase in broadband networks. Source
(Arberg, 2007).
Although IPTV has been mentioned during the
last couple of years, up to date some confusion
exists around the meaning of what is or is not IPTV
(Ellis, 2006). Because of this is a very hot topic
(O’Driscol, 2008), it appears to be impossible to
clearly define ITPV it can actually be much
uncomplicated. From a simple point of view, IPTV
is TV distributed over IP. However, two services
that are often mentioned as being part of the IPTV
concept (Jennehag, 2007). They are: (i) linear TV
distributed by multicast (live-TV) and (ii) Video on
Demand (VoD).
Firstly, live-TV service is the one considered to
be the normal TV service of today, that is, TV-
programs are bundled together in a channel
following a predefined schedule. In the IPTV
deployments over the world at present, live-TV
service is distributed generally by multicast (Minoli ,
2008). In most cases the content is coded using
MPEG-2 and multiplexed into a MPEG-2 TS. It is
often not necessary to re-encode the video and audio
since it they are often delivered to the IPTV playout
location (head end) by either satellite or terrestrial
transmission and are already coded in MPEG-2.
However, since satellite and terrestrial Digital video
transmission techniques often bundle several TV-
channels together into one TS, i.e., it is necessary to
re-multiplex the information associated with one
TV-channel into a new TS. One TV-channel now
resides inside its own MPEG-2 TS and is packetized
into UDP/IP packets and sent to the multicast group.
Secondly, Video on Demand (VoD) is the other
of the two mentioned IPTV services. VoD functions
as a video rental store accessible through the TV-set.
This sounds remarkable, but is actually quite easily
implemented in its more basic forms. Several
technologies exist which can assist the VoD
distribution. Examples of this media distribution are
Content Distribution Networks (Verna, 2002) or
Akamai platform (Akamai, 2008) respectively.
IPTV is sometimes confused with Internet-TV
which offers low resolution streamed TV content
over the Internet, or even distributed systems such as
youTube (youTube, 2008).
As said before, currently the border between
what can be considered as Internet-TV and IPTV is
not so simple (Ellis, 2006). These have a more TV-
like user interface and in some cases a more
developed and advanced distribution method.
However, these services require the user to
download and install some proprietary software
before the service can be used. In this framework
just arrived, authors argue that the future of
multimedia distributed systems will pass through
Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) frameworks
which interconnect systems that previously have
been relatively incompatible. According to this point
of view, next subsection presents an author’s
application which distributes sucessfully multimedia
contents through an IPTV campus network.
3.1 Case Study: Tele-ed IPTV
Next, Tele-ed IPTV is presented as an IPTV author’s
tool developed with open source completely.
Framework model for Tele-ed IPTV is introduced as
a television-learning (t-learning) service. Concretely,
it provides a design basis for the development of this
IPTV-based system. Due to the lack of space, in this
position paper Tele-ed IPTV modelling is focused
essentially in one of the two services mentioned
before, i.e., live-TV service.
Firstly, the interoperability of Tele-ed IPTV with
other traditional learning distributed systems is
enabled by the introduction of several interfaces
based on TV-set philosophy. To adapt to the limited
display, control and input capability of TV devices,
authors proposed new development methods of
IPTV-Oriented learning resources (Bates, 2003;
Rey-Lopez, 2006). In addition, authors proposed
conversion strategies to Tele-ed IPTV platform for
the vast amount of traditional web-based learning
resources. With this process description, Tele-ed
IPTV based learning system can provide
interactivity function and television-lectures (t-
lectures) distribution to the students.
Secondly, Tele-ed IPTV is based on a system of
access keys which distinguish between different user
profiles (see UML uses cases for student and teacher
ICSOFT 2008 - International Conference on Software and Data Technologies
Figure 2: Use Case for Student Role.
Figure 3: Use Case for Teacher Role.
at figure 2 and 3 respectively).
From the student side, Tele-ed IPTV visualizes
subjects which student is enrolled, see figure 2.
Student can be subscribed to assist real-time t-
lectures or even also download past t-lectures to
reinforce educational contents. From the teacher
side, Tele-ed IPTV shows a personalized interface
with matching courses in development allowing
real-time t-lectures transmission or even recording
of new pedagogical elements so constant updating is
possible, see figure 3.
Thirdly, and perhaps the more important
contribution, Tele-Ed IPTV distributes contents to
the network using Internet Protocol Television, i.e.,
IPTV (O’Driscol, 2008). Tele-Ed IPTV offers an
innovative way of distributing t-lectures through
conventional televisions using set-top-box (STB)
with an IP (Internet Protocol) network address and
high-speed broadband technology. Recently there
has been an intensive activity related to the
development of IP multicast (Minoli , 2008, Birman,
2007, Eubanks, 2007). The result of these efforts
promotes IP multicast on IPTV distributed systems
even also with next IP generation (ITU, 2008). Also,
Internet2 is approaching so next European
Educational Framework promotes the use of
technologies, e.g. multicast, which are able to offer
real time education and collaboration to hundreds of
students through distributed systems using TV sets
(Bates, 2008, Arberg, 2007, Alfonsi, 2005). Thus,
Tele-Ed IPTV deals with real time education
requiring one-to-many communication which is
efficiently supported by IP multicast (Kenneth,
1999). By this way multicast reduces the amount of
duplicate traffic and improves the quality of IPTV
distributed applications (Minoli , 2008). On the other
hand, unicast is used whenever they’d request
pedagogical contents on demand for last t-lectures.
From this point of view, Tele-ed IPTV is
implemented using the other service mentioned
before, i.e., Video-On-Demand (VoD). Thus, Tele-
ed works as a Content Distribution Network (Verna,
2002). Figure 4 depicts TV personalized interface
for student side with matching courses in
development allowing real-time t-lectures reception
or even downloading on demand past t-lectures so
constant information is available.
About streaming software, Tele-ed IPV has been
programmed using VideoLAN software (Videolan,
2008) at server side. Also, Tele-ed IPTV distributes
pedagogical contents using MPEG-2 video format.
Figure 4: TV personalized interface. Student side.
Concretely, Tele-ed IPTV matches different
multicast addresses according to each video content
delivery. Figure 5 shows a simple testbed scenario
where Tele-ed IPTV has been tested successfully.
This figure shows how Tele-ed IPTV source
distributes video contents through a multicast
campus network. Alternatively, receivers are TV
devices which are able to receive this multicast
traffic through their Set-Top-Box (STB).
Figure 5: Testbed scenario for Tele-ed IPTV.
STB (Amino, 2008), is a device that connects to
a TV. Then, an external source of signal (in this
work an Ethernet cable) turns the signal into content
which is then displayed on the TV set. Besides, each
STB has been configured to receive multicast traffic,
i.e., TV channels have been configured with a
multicast address for each Tele-ed IPTV content.
In this position paper, the authors have tried to
present an arguable opinion about a specific issue,
i.e., close future field of multimedia distributed
systems. Therefore, main goal has been to convince
the audience that IPTV framework has been
appeared as a hot topic (Alfonsi, B., 2005, Comms,
2008, O’Driscoll, 2008) to take into account for next
multimedia distributed systems. Authors have tried
to support their argument with evidence to ensure
the validity of their claim. Concretely, they have
presented Tele-ed IPTV as a promising framework
for next generation of multimedia distributed
systems. To conclude, authors maintain that IPTV
frameworks are a challenge task to design
multimedia distributed systems. About work in
progress, authors are configuring Tele-ed IPTV as a
real Content Distribution Network. More to the
point, they maintain that the transition in learning
system design and learning resource plan from
traditional web-based learning platforms to IPTV-
based learning one is not trivial.
Alfonsi, B., 2005, IEEE Distributed Systems. I Want My
IPTV: Internet Protocol Television Predicted a
Winner. IEEE Computer Society, Vol. 6, Issue 2.
Akamai, 2008,
Amino, 2008. Aminet 125 Set Top Box. Technical. On
line available at
Arberg, P., et al, 2007, Network infrastructure for IPTV,
Ericsson Company, Technical Report, Number 3.
Bates, P. J., 2003, t-learning study: A Study into TV-based
Interactive Learning to the Home. Retrieved from
Birman, K., 2005, Reliable Distributed Systems:
Technologies, Web Services, and Applications,
Springer Ed., ISBN: 0-387-21509-3
Birman, K. et al., 2007. Scalable Multicast Platforms for
a New Generation of Robust Distributed Applications.
In proceedings of 2
International Conference on
Communication Systems Software and Middleware. 7-
12 Jan. Pages: 1-8. ISBN: 1-4244-0614-5.
Comms, 2008, IEEE Communications Magazine, special
issue for IPTV, vol. 46, no. 2.
Coulouris, G., et al., 2000, Distributed Systems – Concepts
and Design, 3
Edition, Addison-Wesley.
Ellis, L., 2006, IPTV: Still Too New To Define,
Multichannel News, no. 25.
Eubanks, M., 2007, Multicast Standards and IPTV, Middle
East Network Operators Group Meeting (MENOG),
3-5 April 2007 - Manama, Bahrain
International Telecommunication Union, 2008, Multicast
Frameworks, Focus Group on IPTV. On line available
at ftp/public/itut/fgiptv/readonly/
Jennehag, U., 2007, Bandwidth Efficient IPTV
Distribution, Doctoral Thesis, Dep. of Information
Technology and Media, Mid Sweden University.
Mattern, F., Sturm, P., 2003, From Distributed Systems to
Ubiquitous Computing - The State of the Art, Trends,
and Prospects of Future Networked Systems,
Proceeding of KIVS 2003, pp. 3-25, Springer-Verlag.
Minoli, D., 2008, IP Multicast with Applications to IPTV
and Mobile DVB-H, Wiley-Interscience Publisher.
O’Driscoll, G., 2008, Next Generation IPTV Services and
Technologies, Publisher Wiley-Interscience, ISBN-13:
Rey-López, M., et al., 2006, Interaction Experiences:
Engaging Viewers in Education through TV Programs.
European Conference on Interactive Television
(EuroITV 2006), Athens, Greece, pp. 310-319.
VideoLan, 2008. Video Lan Proyect. Technical
information on line available at http://
Verna, D., 2002, Content Distribution Networks, an
engineering approach, John Wiley, New York.
YouTube, 2008, on line available at http://
ICSOFT 2008 - International Conference on Software and Data Technologies