What is IPTV and how it works


Today, you can access your favorite shows and movies at will, thanks to Internet Protocol Television (IPTV). Traditional television has been in decline for several years due to changing global trends and technological developments. The wide availability of the Internet has made everything more accessible, including TV. Considering that convenience is the number one consumer need in today’s fast-paced world, IPTV has quickly captured the market due to its superior user experience.

But what exactly is IPTV? How it works? Are they all positive and none negative? These are just a few of the questions we’ll address in this article.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is IPTV?

IPTV stands for Internet Protocol Television and involves users receiving television programs over the Internet instead of antennas, satellite dishes or fiber optic cables. In other words, IPTV streams video content directly over the Internet.

While IPTV content delivery is different from online video platforms like YouTube or OTT services like Netflix, it shares many of its conveniences. For example, IPTV allows users to access video on demand (VOD) content on a subscription-based model and watch live streams. This gives the viewer the freedom to access their favorite shows at will and still have the option to enjoy live events and programs like on traditional TV.

This flexibility is why IPTV surpasses traditional television and is considered the future of TV.

How does IPTV work?

Traditional TV sends analog signals directly to users through cables, who can only access the content currently broadcast. In these cases, users can only control when or what they see through external recording devices.

The functioning of IPTV varies significantly. Unlike traditional TV, which can only stream content in real time, IPTV has servers on which it stores the content. This gives users the freedom to request the viewing of programs at will. Once a user selects a show they would like to watch, that content will be converted to digital format and delivered in packets to their playback device via internet protocol. The transferred files will be compressed and optimized for streaming before reaching end users.

But for all this to be possible, your TV must be able to read the signals received by the internet protocol. Unfortunately, not all TVs can set up an IPTV service right away, as most cannot read incoming signals without outside help. If you have a TV set that does not support IPTV, you will need to buy an IPTV decoder.

What is an IPTV TV BOX?

An IPTV BOX or decoder is a device used to convert streaming signals received via internet protocol into a format that a TV can read and reproduce. In other words, decoders translate the language of the Internet protocol. These boxes are usually connected to the TV via HDMI or AV cables, or even via Wi-Fi connection for newer models.

If you choose to stream IPTV from your computer, however, you won’t need a decoder as PCs can already read the data received via the internet protocol. Those who would like to save on a decoder but still enjoy watching IPTV on their television screens can mirror their PC screens on the TV and watch from there.

Types of IPTV Formats

As we’ve already mentioned, IPTV offers many additional services and video formats beyond just watching traditional television programs. There are three main content formats that most IPTV services offer:

  • Live TV – Live IPTV allows users to stream television programs in real time, similar to traditional TV. Live TV is often used to broadcast live events such as sporting events, conferences, etc.
  • Video on Demand (VOD) – IPTV VOD services work the same as most OTT providers – you pay a subscription fee and in return you have access to a large library of videos that you can request to watch at will.
  • Time-Shifted TV – This service is also known as “catch-up TV” and allows users to watch previously broadcast TV programs at a later date. However, there is a significant difference between time-shifted TV and VOD. Time-shifted TV gives users the option to re-watch old content for a limited time. Most of the time, broadcasts will be available for a few days before disappearing. Anything older than that would be considered a VOD.

With the ability to choose between watching live streams, revisiting shows they missed and enjoying on-demand content, it’s clear that IPTV offers superior options and user experience than its traditional counterpart.

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