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A group of leading electronics companies has formed Open IPTV Forum, an industry consortium that will work to define an interoperable end-to-end specification for the delivery of IPTV services. The companies include AT&T Inc., Ericsson, France Telecom, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Siemens Networks, Sony, and Telecom Italia.

The forum will focus on the development of open standards that could help streamline and accelerate deployments of IPTV technologies. It plans to establish requirements and architecture specifications as well as protocol specifications later this year.

The founding members will work to combine today's diverse standards into a complete delivery solution. The group said it would open up the opportunity for other companies to join at a later date.

The members will look at the potential for integration of content and communication services offered across mobile handsets and home devices. It will address key elements, such as content protection, interfaces that allow IPTV services to be delivered over managed network environments and the public Internet. Candidates being considered include the architectural framework of IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and network standards of the Digital Living Network Alliance.

It will also address measures to ensure interoperability between such services and retail consumer devices. Open IPTV Forum said by ensuring interoperability people could access their choice of content and services among multiple service providers.