Some of the biggest names in electronics have formed a consortium to work on a universal specification for IPTV. Trouble is, they forgot to invite the company that's so far done the most for the concept: Microsoft.

The new Open IPTV Forum includes luminaries such as Panasonic, Sony, Philips, Samsung and Siemens as well as telecom providers Ericsson, AT&T, France Telecom (Orange) and Telecom Italia.

Of course, BT won't be able to join the party either, since it uses Microsoft's TV technology for its BT Vision platform. Microsoft is unlikely to be able to join forces with the other firms since it already provides a complete 'end-to-end' solution, which is what the Open IPTV forum says it is looking to do.

In a statement released to mark the agreement, the forum says the focus is on standardisation that "could help to streamline and accelerate deployments of IPTV technologies."

And it seems much of the legwork will happen quickly - as it needs to. The Open IPTV Forum says it plans to establish "requirements and architecture specifications as well as protocol specifications" later in the year.

The forum is also seeking to address major adoption issues such as content protection and user-friendly interfaces. The Open IPTV Forum says it will look at how IPTV can work with third-party consumer electronics kit too - which, it says, may include working with the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA).

It seems the Forum will look to recruit other members as time goes on.