Nowadays, media content can be delivered via diverse broadband and broadcast technologies. Although these different technologies have somehow become rivals, their coordinated usage and convergence, by leveraging of their strengths and complementary characteristics, can bring many benefits to both operators and customers. For example, broadcast TV content can be augmented by on-demand broadband media content to provide enriched and personalized services, such as multi-view TV, audio language selection and inclusion of real-time web feeds. A piece of evidence is the recent Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) standard, which aims at harmonizing the delivery and consumption of (hybrid) broadcast and broadband TV content. A key challenge in these emerging scenarios is the synchronization between the involved media streams, which can be originated by the same or different sources, and delivered via the same or different technologies. To enable synchronized (hybrid) media delivery services, some mechanisms providing timelines at the source side are necessary to accurately time align the involved media streams at the receiver-side. This paper provides a comprehensive review of how clock references (timing) and timestamps (time) are conveyed and interpreted when using the most widespread delivery technologies, such as DVB, RTP/RTCP and MPEG standards (e.g., MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MPEG-DASH and MMT). It is particularly focused on the format, resolution, frequency and the position within the bitstream of the fields conveying timing information, as well as on the involved components and packetization aspects. Finally, it provides a survey of proofs of concepts making use of these synchronization related mechanisms. This complete and thorough source of information can be very useful for scholars and practitioners interested in media services with synchronization demands.
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IEEE Communications Society
IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials
Distributed and Interactive Systems

Beloqui, L., Boronat, F., Montagud Climent, M., & Melvin, H. (2015). Understanding Timelines within MPEG Standards. IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials. doi:10.1109/COMST.2015.2488483