There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of IPTV if you’re not involved in the media landscape. You’ve probably been using it for a long time.
You’re likely to use it more in the future. New IPTV providers and services are popping up alongside traditional TV providers with more IPTV options.
But what exactly is IPTV? IPTV stands for what? What is the process? What can you do with it to make watching TV more enjoyable?
Answers are available.
Here’s what you’ll learn
To navigate this post, use the table of contents below:
What is IPTV?
How IPTV works
The future of IPTV
What Is IPTV?
Let’s begin at the beginning. What is IPTV and how does it work?
The “IP” in IPTV is the same as in your IP address or VoIP (voice over IP). Television programming is communicated via the internet protocol.
To understand what that means, you must understand how non-IPTV works. Watching cable or satellite TV allows you to watch live broadcasts transmitted by broadcasters. When you don’t have a recording device, you can’t dictate what’s on. When you can, take advantage of what’s available.
There is a difference between IPTV and traditional television. Instead of light pulses sent through fiber-optic cables or radio waves from satellites, IPTV content is transmitted via a standard internet connection. Your internet service provider (ISP) may provide you with cable or satellite internet, but these are separate from the ones that carry TV signals.
The difference goes deeper than that. IP networks offer far greater flexibility than traditional, one-way cable connections or satellite broadcast networks and enable two-way communication. In this way, end users will have more control and options, and their experience will be more personalized.
Rather than broadcasting a range of shows on a specific schedule, IPTV uses video on demand (VOD) and time-shifted media.
All of this requires a lot of transcoding between traditional signals and IP-friendly signals. The important thing is that you don’t have to watch what’s being broadcast. Let your provider know what you want to watch, and they will send it to you right away.
The concept is the same as Netflix or Hulu, but with TV instead of movies or syndicated shows.
Do You Need a Set-Top Box for IPTV?
To convert what you receive over the Internet into a format your TV can understand, you’ll need a set-top box like Apple TV, Roku, or Amazon Fire TV.
The only thing you need to watch IPTV is a computer. If you sign up for a service, you can live stream whatever you want in any of the IPTV formats (which we’ll discuss next).
If you can mirror your screen to your TV, you can watch IPTV without a set-top box.
You can also set up IPTV on new Smart TVs with built-in IP connectivity that can be connected to your network.
To address some of the issues with fully IP-enabled broadcasts, many TV providers are now adopting a hybrid approach to IPTV. To transmit a lot of data at high speeds, IPTV requires a lot of bandwidth.
In hybrid IPTV, traditional TV services are combined with IP-based ones. It’s all delivered through a single box, which is the biggest selling point. As a result, TV providers can offer their subscribers more choices.
Furthermore, it makes it easier to introduce new products and services without completely overhauling the set-top box. Changing from a traditional model to a more modern one is a good idea.
What is IPTV and how does it work?
IPTV comes in three different formats. Let’s examine each one separately.
VOD (Video on Demand)
You get video on demand whenever you want it with VOD streaming. VOD services include movie streaming sites. Watching is unlimited (apart from what the service currently has rights to).
By telling the service what you want to watch, they send it to you via the internet, and you watch it. It’s that simple.
Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video are examples of over-the-top (OTT) video streaming services. Smaller, niche services are also available.
Media that is time-shifted
If you’ve watched “catch-up TV,” you’re familiar with IPTV. The majority of broadcast networks now allow users to watch shows they missed when they have time.
VOD and time-shifted media differ in that the content they share has a limited shelf life. There’s no way to watch an episode of a show you missed several years ago (well, you could, but it would be VOD).
The BBC’s iPlayer is one of the most popular services that offer time-shifted media.
(VOD and time-shifted media are very similar. The main difference is how long you can watch a show after it airs.)
IPTV live streaming
IPTV allows you to watch live shows just like broadcast TV. Sports events can be streamed on your phone while you’re on the go; it’s easy to watch.
Basically, live IPTV is the same as regular TV, except that it is broadcast over the internet instead of through cable TV.
Live IPTV is available on Fox Sports Go, CBS Sports HQ, Hulu Live TV, and Sling TV.
Services for IPTV
Despite IPTV’s growth, it’s still a pretty niche market. Netflix and Hulu provide a lot of TV shows (when they can get the rights), and video on demand is growing rapidly.
IPTV’s other formats, where it has the potential to change how people watch TV, have yet to take off.
The popularity of catch-up TV is increasing. Viewers can download apps from providers like FOX, CBS, and NBC to catch up on shows they missed without having to set up and record something via a set-top box.
Although NOW TV, TVPlayer, and Epicstream are all making headway in the live IPTV market, they’re still not as popular as VOD services.
The IPTV trend seems to be most pronounced in sports. Subscription sports packages can be viewed from your computer or streamed to your TV at any time.
In the meantime, it’s safe to assume that the rest of the live television world will follow suit.
It is becoming increasingly easy for users to create their own VOD and live-streaming services. On our Examples page, you can see how some people are using Uscreen to share their skills, advice, and passions.
IPTV Providers – Starting Your Own IPTV Service
The best way to start your own IPTV service is to connect with one of these providers. With their bandwidth, server capacity, and distribution channels, they can meet your needs.
Sign up, choose a plan, and start uploading. What kind of content are you looking for? What kind of audience will it attract? What will you do to make money? You are responsible for all of those things.
There are IPTV channels for learning magic tricks, getting fit, dancing, watching movies, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. You can use IPTV to share something with the world.
All of that content must still be recorded. It takes a lot of time and effort. Once you’ve done that, these services will allow you to promote and distribute your TV shows, online videos, or movies.
Imagine building your own Netflix just for you and your subscribers.
Currently, it’s hard to tell how many people are using IPTV services. A wide variety of providers, different formats, and a large amount of pirated content make it difficult to keep track of everything.
IPTV will continue to grow in popularity, however. By 2025, Grand View Research estimates the market will be worth over $117 billion. As user demand increases and networks improve, this growth will be supported.
According to Grand View, subscription-based IPTV will grow rapidly over the next decade, with services like TVPlayer and Hulu Live TV gaining popularity.
Growth has already begun in some areas.
To compete with Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming giants, major media providers plan to offer new streaming services. Traditional TV providers are also allowing time-shifted media through their apps. Cable providers are also allowing their subscribers to watch from their phones.
The amount and variety of IPTV options will be increasing rapidly now that people can create their own channels to distribute their content. The future will allow viewers to see everything from fitness videos to audience-specific movies from each other, not just what broadcasters share.
IPTV is the future of TV.