Governments need to consider which mobile TV and IPTV standards should be authorized in their country, or whether they will leave the choice of standards up to the network operators. Several standards are available for IPTV, such as Microsoft or DVB-based standards. But these are not interoperable, and they can create difficulties for consumers who may want to change service providers, a process that may require new hardware and new user interfaces. The challenge for the industry and regulators is to create open standards and facilitate interoperability. With the development of multi-platform set-top boxes, the industry can help create more choices and better use of resources. Regulations should encourage this process.
In addition, regulators need to consider whether current laws and regulations on equipment certification may impose barriers to rolling out IPTV or mobile TV. For example, in India, concerns have been raised about whether cable operators’ use of IPTV set-top boxes would violate the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, which bars cable equipment that does not use Indian-developed standards. Since there is, in fact, no Indian standard for an IPTV set-top box, TRAI has issued an opinion that the Act has not been violated – but it also recommended that the Bureau of Indian Standards expedite IPTV standards development.