IPTV SERVICES AND HUNGARIAN MEDIA LAW

IPTV services are partly use technology which was not use for this purpose before, integrate services through various platforms and they give new opportunity for the viewers to reach new media options. During the drafting of the domestic media law they used technology-specific regulation, and it is difficult to classify the new services of IPTV into the terms defined in Hungarian media law which was grounded on previous technology.

The proper judgement and classification in media law terms is only possible with the in-depth analysis of the technology which is used by IPTV and the servises by IPTV and the media consumption habits.

WEBCASTING AND IPTV The radio frequencies regulated in the Civil Code as excluse subjects of state property, primarily because of their special economic importance and managed by the state pursuant to electronic communications act of 2003. The two most important objectives of spectrum management are the efficiency and ensure interference-free use.

WEBCASTING The concept of webcasting is defined expressly in Hungarian lawand in the current operative regulation, there is no explicit reference to it. The actual text of Act on Radio and Television of 1996 (hereinafter referred to as Rttv.) does not contain the concept, given the fact that during the birth of this act, the webcasting was not available because of the old technology and the subsequent amendments of this act also haven’t inserted any provision regarding this new technology solution.

The definition of the IIF web-based dictionary gives a possible interpretation of the notion of webcasting:
A word which was made from "broadcasting", and it is for web, news, or radio/tv broadcasts
Above of this definition, IPTV and webcasting are two different concepts, given the fact, that IPTV is not web-based service and it works through other protocols.

Main differences of Webcasting and IPTV

Differences in Technology While both technologies are stream-based, the packets are sent over Internet Protocol, but the webcasting is available through web, IPTV can also be accessed through other protocols. The end-user equipment is typically a computer for webcasting, and a television for IPTV.

THE ACTIVITY OF THE VIEWER It is a characteristic of webcasting that it needs more activity from the viewer to find a content than during a classic television watching. To enjoy a content, you need to visit the Web site, you need to download it to your computer and then practically you start the stream with your click in your PC, As a result the viewer gets only those contents what its find for itself while in a classical television watching, it accepts what the television offers to the view.

The linear content delivery of IPTV contrary to webcasting the viewing activity of the classic television show through the consumption it use the television in the same way, with much less activity.

BORADCASTING CONSUMPTION HABITS Another important difference between watching the classic television is, that in case of webcasting, we can only speak about „background television watching” in a less extent. The background television watching is the habit of the classic television viewers which is typical for the viewers who are doing something else, and firstly, they are concentrating on this activity, and the TV is turned on in the background, and it broadcasts the content to them.

Another difference is that regarding the classic television watching the phenomenon of watching TV without goals is occur in merely less extent in the case of webcasting. The phenomenon covers a content consumption habits in which the viewer without the intention of ingesting specific content to turn on deviceand just passively accept the content whatever it is.

Comparing IPTV broadcasting consumption habits to the webcasing, the IPTV standard feature, and the content-linear transmission is similar to classic television viewing. Specifically if the viewer does not use the IPTV Time Shifting, PVR and VOD services (explanation bellow), this is similar to the classic television watching. In case of IPTV the background television watching is still persist while against the webcasting it will be suitable, to indiscriminate broadcasting, instead of watching television, so this habit is also stay up, maybe a bit lesser extent than in case of traditional television watching, opposite to webcasting, where it is merely a question, if this phenomenon will show up at all.

SUBSTITUTION

Based on the above we can make the conclusion that the webcasting is not suitable to substitute the classical television viewing, which is supported by additional technical features.



- the quality of the webcasting contents are usually much weaker than the television’s not only the image resolution but also the sound quality
- In most cases the end user equipment for the webcasting contents is a computer monitor, which is usually smaller in size than a television.

Contrary to webcasting , IPTV is suitable to let the viewer selecting this, against the classic television viewing, given the fact that IPTV offers the classic television services nearly in the same quality it is suitable to visualize through TV and it gives extra services as well.

the legal classification of webcasting Considering the legal status of webcasting pursuant to the Electronic Commerce Act of 2001 (Eca.) 2 § f) it is like a information society service, given the fact that the criterion of Eca is met. In this case webcasting falls out of the scope of Act on Radio and Televisionand webcasting service providers does not need to give notice to the National Radio and Television Comitee.

IPTV technology IPTV means television programs transit through IP-based and packet data nnetwork, compared to the previously used circuit-switched networks for transmission. It has been possible to transport IP-based networks for audio-visual contents since the birth of these networks , but firstly download-related access was possible , where the downloading and displaying is separated from each other in time On the user’s side, it took more time to download data than the length of the contant, moreover watching the movie was only possible after downloading the whole file. There are some stream accesses, which has much more lower quality than the current circuit-switched networks, duration is usually shorter and because of the network congestion, it can cause interruption.

The ground for appearance of IPTV is the growing of bandwidth, especially on the backbone networks bandwidth..


- Private IP for network distribution, which is managed by the service provider network so the quality of service is guaranteed
- In an open IP network through the Internet,if the required bandwidth is continuously available, in this case the user can choose from several IPTV services.

NECESSARY EQUIPMENTS ON THE SIDE OF THE USER In a Subscriber site there are two sets which are typically required for IPTV broadcasting:


- Tool to apportion DSL lines : Firstly to the PC , secondly, to the set-top box.
- Set-top box which converts the signals to be processable for the television.

According to the current standpoint two different TV channel reception is possible in a household, the bandwidth can be used: one TV channel reception + and the remaining bandwidth for Internet browsing or two different TV channel reception at the same time through a copper cable.

SERVICES PROVIDED ON IPTV

IPTV allows the audiovisual stream delivery to the viewer through IP network and it allows the implementation of interactive functions:
- Video on Demand, VOD : digital video rental service, which consisted of an additional fee to view a pre-recorded content, typically a movie.
- Electronic Programme Guide
- Recording, PVR: A selected program is recorded on the device of the viewer.
- Time shifting: slide, the viewer can watch the show after the actual start of the it.

Besdies there are some other services, which were previously were merely PC features, such as Internet browsing, network games, mail, e-commerce features.

CLASSIFICATION OF IPTV SERVICES IN HUNGARIAN MEDIA LAW It is still a question, that IPTV service on Act on Radio and Television of 1996th (hereinafter referred to as Art.) concept it what kind of service. The importance of this question is that during the creation of the Rttv. there were only circuit-switched networks via a television broadcast to a large mass members of the public, regulatory reasons and the radio and television usable spectrum scarcity while was that the students and audience virtually could not choose which show would they like to watch, they only had the chance to change between channels, change watching TV / listening to radio to an other activity.



LINEAR BROADCAST OF CONTENT TO THE END USER EQUIPMENT Delivery of linear television programs to the viewer’s television is expected to be the backbone of the IPTV service.
Here may comes the question if the IPTV service can be a broadcasting activity under Art.. The Act. defined as the following:

Broadcasting: Production of television or radio program intended for the publicdisplaying in the form of electronic signals and transmission to the user's end user equipment on any program distributor system

Broadcaster: a natural person, legal person or unincorporated business association, who (which) edits series of tracks, decide which tracks will be in the show and transmit the show to the public forward, or transmit it with an other enterprise.

Having regard to the fact that the IPTV service is also buy the linear broadcasted programs, it provides them and the IPTV service does not intervene to this program so it is not necessary to categorize them.

The category of distributing programs is also can not be used, because according to this following definition it means the delivery to this present transmitters, or networks : Simultaneous delivery of the signals produced by the broadcaster through wire (cable) network, or through terrestrial or satellite radio networks to radio and television broadcast transmitters, broadcasting or distribution networks without any changes.

IPTV broadcasting service can be categorized into some of the broadcast distribution category, given the fact, that it comply with the Act’s definition:

Broadcasting: delivery of signals poduced by broadcasters in electronic means (via broadcasting and program distribution) simultaneous delivering to the user’s equipment without changes. The Act. defines the term of broadcasting as the following:

One way radio telecommunication activity to deliver sounds, images or signals of other nature Forwarding radio communication procedures, sounds, images or other signals with Terrestrial or satellite system for an unlimited number of usershaving the appropiate equipment..

Given the fact that IPTV is not works with wireless technology, but with distributed via cable, it can not be fall into this category.

Distribution means the appropriate classification which meets the above service:

The signals producted by the broadcaster's, unaltered transmission through line (cable) network, or broadcast radio network, from the broadcaster's premise, and a seperated organization from the end of the program distributor network through the intermediary of an authorized user's receiver, with a network which is suitable for connecting fewer than ten receivers.

TIEM SHIFTING, RECORDING OF PROGRAMSTime shifting and recording functions are used by the viewers, are under their control, sometimes, the programs are stored in the viewer’s set, so it is neither adequate to rise media law relevance for the above acts, nor change the classification of IPTV service.

VIDEO ON DEMAND SERVICE Given the fact, that the time of the draw is choosen by the viewer, it is adequate to deem this service in the scope of the Act.

RULES OF ACT. ON PROGRAM DISTRIBUTORClassification of the IPTV as broadcast distribution service, the IPTV service provider has several obligations defined in chapter VII. of Act. These obligations are the followings:
- 115 § (3) according to this paragraph, notification shall be given 30 days prior to the commencement of provision of the service;
- 115 § (8), according to this paragraph, the technical standards of this program distribution system are defined by the IT and Communications Minister;
- 116 § (5), according to this paragraph, it is necessary to give notice to the authority on the programme the distributor has intent to distribute 3` dazs prior the commencment of distribution;.
- Notice the authority on the number of households reached once in a year (Act. 116. (3)),
- „must carry” obligations in regardin public service programs, which are in within the reception are of the head station unit. (Act. 117. § (1)),
- obligation to enter into contract with the local, regional and national broadcasters (Act. 117 § (2) - (3)).

RULES ON RECEPTION AREA

It is questionable, that how the rules defied in Act. 115. § (4) shall be interpreted regarding IPTV providers. The rules are the following>

the reception of the program distribution company can not go beyond the two-thirds of the highest level of the local program service.

The highest value of the area broadcasting is in the Act.. 2. § 15 as follows:

15. Regional broadcasting: a broadcasting service, which reception area is beyond the local broadcasting reception area, but in the reception area there are less than half of the country's population.

The term of „reception area” is defined in Acr. 2. § 47. b) as follows: In case of distribution which is performed by wired program distribution system (cable network), the populated area is, where the cable network is built and the area's population has the chance to connect to this network, in case of paying the usual fee.

Questionable, that in case of IPTV, what kind of area is regarded as the purchase of division. If the IPTV service is done through an open network (see No. 2 model defined in section 3) and may be the used network infrastructure covers the big part of Hungary , and all of the parts of the network is technically capable for providing IPTV services (eg mobile phones), then the rule can be interpreted that in such a network properties may can not be broadcast IPTV distribution, given the fact that if someone initiate the service, then immediately Rttv. 115th § (4) breach of the prohibition act.

CONCLUSION The current legal regulation materials which are in connect with IPTV was made at the time when there were no such an infrastructure which would have been suitable to provide IPTV or webcasting service. The legislature - not counting with the accelerating pace of technology development - technology applied specific regulation, which has not been modified in the future either. As a result, the content audiovisual service is differently regulated depending on what kind of infrastructure, what kind of technology is available to the viewer. In the system, the legislator is, who pre-qualified a technology, and then constritute it the rules for it. The legislature can only use the existing technolies with the technology-specific legislation . In this way, such technologies can be under control of system, on which the control is real, but not appearing in the legislation and regulatory objectives according to the criteria would not apply the rules or subjects to different rules.


February, 2007.







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