Imagine watching your favorite television show, movie, or even an advertisement, and be able to follow hyperlinks to get related information. Or as the viewer, you can decide what and when to watch, plus having the power to pause and rewind live TV, and even retrieve any content you want from the latest Olympic campaign to a wonderful old movie.
Imagine enjoying Internet games on your TV as well or making a phone call to a friend and instantly see his or her smile on your TV screen. That is the magical charm of IPTV.
IPTV is now a reality for users worldwide. With IPTV, users' viewing experience will be greatly enhanced. For business users, IPTV delivers synergistic content and enables interactive meetings on a large scale. For consumer users, it will provide an interactive experience unlike any entertainment they have ever experienced before.
The ZTE IPTV total solution is an end-to-end solution specifically designed for employing multimedia services over an IP network. It can provide numerous broadband multimedia services such as live TV, Video on Demand (VoD), Near Video on Demand (NVoD), Time-Shifted Television (TSTV), and Network Personal Video Recording (NPVR). To meet the demands of IPTV services, broadband access technologies such as digital subscriber line (DSL), and fiber-to-the-x (FTTx), are supported.
ZTE's IPTV system enables operators to deliver a variety and feature-rich services over their existing network infrastructures. It is a mature, advanced system with excellent operability, manageability and scalability which has helped a number of fixed-line operators to expand the range of their services. It provides fixed network operators with a platform for providing abundant broadband interactive value-added services to a wide range of clients.
ZTE has been in the leading position of this sector in the Chinese market, installing IPTV for China Netcom's Beijing branch, as well as the Shanghai, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Yunnan, Shanxi, and Quanzhou branches of China Telecom. In the international market for IPTV, ZTE has supplied equipment for the deployments of triple play bundle (including IPTV) to Columbian operator, Emcali, and Thailand operator, Free Internet. As there are an increasing number of operators jumping onto the bandwagon, ZTE seized the opportunity by launching trial network of IPTV services for fixed operators such as CanTV in Venezuela and TM in Russia. ZTE, as the "first" IPTV brand of China, has also earned high evaluation from the US market research firm, the International Data Corp (IDC) and the European research firm, UBS Securities.
Components of ZTE IPTV solution
The ZTE IPTV total solution consists of the encoder, content distribute network (CDN), middleware, conditional access (CAS) & digital right management (DRM) system, IP transport network and customer premise equipment. The system has seamless integrity, removing concerns of interoperability between all the products and simplifying system implementation and maintenance. Its architecture is shown in Fig. 1:
Fig. 1 ZTE's IPTV solution architecture
Head end system
The head end system, as a key component in ZTE IPTV solution, includes the encoder, CDN, middleware and CAS&DRM system.
The encoder converts video and audio content into an IP multicast stream in the desired coding format (H.264). The middleware provides a solution for the management of subscribers, service, and contents as well as EPG and STB versions, while the CAS&DRM system is in charge of protecting content distribution.
The Content Distribution Network (CDN) is made up of video server clusters with contents distributed between CDN nodes according to flexible distribution policies. The distributed CDN structure allows operators to economically scale the system, proportionally distribute the subscriber load and service demand.
The transport network is a physical medium by which content is distributed over the IP broadband network. The motivational factors for implementing an IP network are high-speed delivery, redundancy and scalability, quality of service, reliability and manageability.
IPTV is seen as the cut-in point and foundation of the future digital home that can create new lifestyles. The digital home features multiple terminals such as the home gateway and the IPTV set-top box.
- Home Gateway
Home Gateway (HG) is the integrated access gateway for residential users. As the core of the home network, HG controls and coordinates all equipment in the home; it also provides users with a uniform and convenient user-interface.
The ZTE HG has diversified interfaces. The HG acts as a connecting link between upstream and downstream resources, connecting different home application equipment, and connecting this equipment to various external networks. It enables enhanced user experience as the portal for a wide range of entertainment and communication applications.
The ZXV10 series of STBs are based on MPEG-4 Advanced Video Codec (AVC). In addition, the ZXV10 series of STBs come with support for HDTV, connectivity with external storage devices and more-all of which help make IPTV services more competitive.
The ZTE IPTV solution offers the combination of high quality service and low cost. It has the following highlights:
Open system architecture
The ZTE IPTV solution is built on an open architecture. For each component, it has special interface for third party application development. The system may interoperate with third party IPTV components effectively and efficiently.
Openness gives operators the flexibility needed to develop new revenue-generating applications. Take games for example, the middleware may easily integrate with other games software, therefore helping carriers speed killer-grade games to the market.
Secure content delivery
While content is still the king today, a DRM/CAS platform as a type of security mechanism remains a critical requirement in the IPTV rollout.
ZTE and Irdeto, a leading global DRM/CAS vendor, have established a long term strategic relationship in the IPTV area. ZTE incorporates Irdeto's security solution into its IPTV system, ensuring a high level of content security, short time to market, while providing after-sale services. The ZTE DRM/CAS platform is a proven success with many renowned content owners.
Advanced video codec
ZTE's IPTV system adopts the emerging H.264/MPEG4 AVC coding standard. The video we currently see today is called standard definition (SD) and it will be soon available in high definition (HD) format.
With a heritage of over ten years of developing the video technology, ZTE can implement standardized and mature video solution. ZTE believe that H.264 as the video code for HD and SD will be dominant in the next decade, with the increasing popularity of HDTV. ZTE is among the first to bring the newest codec into the market. With the adoption of H.264 codec, carriers may further reduce capital and bandwidth requirement.
Strong services generating capability
The ZTE IPTV platform can provide typical IPTV services such as live TV, VoD, NPVR, NVoD, TSTV, and TV-shopping. Using the system, operators can develop more applications to increase ARPU. It also allows insertion of advertising to enhance customers' profitability.
The whole platform is based on a layered architecture which means the engineer doesn't need to modify the core layer components, but their counterparts at the top layer. The diversified services include: live broadcast, VoD, NVoD, NPVR, TSTV, video communication, Instant Messaging (IM), SMS, Voice over IP (VoIP), walled garden, advertising, gaming, TV-shopping and remote education.
Universal network management platform
The ZTE Universal Network Management System is used to manage the whole IPTV system including the middleware, VoD server, and DSL, as well as the STB and HG network terminals, with the TR069 protocol, helping to ease operation and reduce maintenance cost accordingly.
It also provides abundant equipment management functionalities including remote failure diagnosis, provision of service operating statistics and network operation reports.
The CDN supports either centralized, distributed or hybrid structure. The IPTV network capacity can be expanded from a thousand users to millions of users. ZTE helps ensure the smooth expansion of the network, while managing to save carrier's investment at any phase of the development, minimizing carriers' business risks.
Based on the highly innovative IPTV platform, ZTE's IPTV solution can help revolutionize our viewing experience by enabling a variety of data, video, and images to be available anytime and anywhere. As a fundamental element of the digital home, the solution will also contribute greatly to a new generation digital home experience.