Digital media is what the present is all about and IPTV is one such digital service. In today’s world technology is advancing like crazy. Convenience and user-friendly services are the most sought after and entertainment consumption is at its peak with no signs of stopping.
But how is technology affecting the way we, the 21st-century folk, are keeping ourselves entertained?
The answer is simple; the Internet. Connecting to the internet is the cheapest form of entertainment available today. It has a wide range of content and is mostly unregulated.
TVs which were once considered the most advanced electronic of their day are quickly becoming outdated. These are promptly being replaced by Smart TVs and a variety of other Smart devices. And thanks to the internet now we have a wide range of services to choose from, one of these services being the IPTV, which is TV but better
What is IPTV?
This integration of the internet and with the traditional TV experience is what led to the creation of the IPTV. It’s like a mix between the best of yesterday and the best of today.
To get into the technical garden, IPTV stands for Internet Protocol Television. It is a video and audio streaming network through which a user can access TV content through IP (internet protocol), or simply put the internet. It is a system of watching TV but via the internet, it is instead of a cable or satellite connection.
In comparison to traditional one-way cable connectivity or satellite broadcast networks, IP networks provide significantly more network flexibility and enable two-way interactivity. This gives users greater power and alternatives for interacting and customizing their experience.
IPTV programming is frequently distributed via a controlled or specialized network, such as DSL( digital subscriber line) connectivity. A private network allows network operators more control over video traffic than the public internet, allowing them to ensure the quality of service, availability, capacity, and better reliability.
An interesting thing about IPTV is that this private broadband-based network allows private and corporate entities to set up their own IPTVs to allow them to share media within the private circles. Although this is not a frequently followed technique as maintaining a private IPTV network is an exhaustive process.
The official definition approved by the International Telecommunication Union for IPTV is one of its type and can be productive.
IPTV is different from conventional TV streaming which uses a cable connection or a satellite. This traditional set-up only allows the users to watch what is being broadcasted in real-time meaning there is no user control at all unless the user is using an external recording device. If you miss a show there is no way to watch it again unless it is being broadcast again.
IPTV provides the users with various access to various TV channels through the internet, at the same time it also allows access to web-only content made specifically for IPTV. The key features or services provided by IPTV that set it apart from other forms of digital streaming are:
live-tv– this feature allows users to view TV channels in real-time or as they are being broadcast much like conventional TV. This might include but is not limited to reality shows, sports telecasts, and news.
Then, another important feature is the catch on TV or the time-shifted media– this is an interesting feature that allows users to watch missed shows and movies at their convenience from the very beginning while it is being broadcasted or a couple of hours after it has been broadcasted.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of the IPTV is the Video on demand – this feature adds that layer of interactivity which is the hallmark of internet-based services. This feature allows the user to request access to shows, movies and other content from the IPTV service provider. This way users can watch shows and movies that were broadcasted years ago or even yesterday. This feature personalizes the viewing experience of each user.
Devices to access IPTV services
The primary requirement for access to IPTV services is a set-top box or smart TV. However digital devices such as computers, smartphones, and tablets can also be used to view IPTV content.
The key thing to keep in mind here is that the users need equipment which is capable of receiving signals from the IPTV provider and turning them into signals that can be understood and displayed on the TV. Therefore TVs, if they are not compatible with IPTV signals, require a set-top box to interpret those signals.
It is a subscription-based service while depending on the service provider a few channels could be free. These free channels usually come with tons of ads as compensation for being free.
IPTV vs OTT. Which one is better?
IPTV is different from OTT platforms in terms of the fact that while OTT platforms, IPTV content requires the internet, OTT platforms distribute its content through the public or the open internet, while the IPTV is tightly managed and controlled by the service provider much like the traditional cable TV providers. It is a private network which requires bandwidth-based connectivity. So while OTT platforms that cater to VOD (Video on Demand) are easy to access, their quality and range are far less superior to IPTV which could include VOD content along with traditional video content.
Most service providers are leaning towards providing their customers with a hybrid option that integrates IPTV services with OTT services. This comes as a way for these service providers to a middle path. Keeping in mind the fact the IPTV concept is still new to the public, changing their infrastructure to that of IPTV will not only prove to be expensive, but the public might not accept it readily as well.
Hence, the set-top box allows the user to switch easily between cable TV, IPTV, and OTT services.
So is it worth getting an IPTV subscription? It depends on you and your needs.