IPTV Service is the delivery of media content, videos or live television over an IP network. IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) can either use the public internet, a private local area network (LA) or wide area network (WAN). An IPTV service can be delivered to an IP enabled TV, mobile phone, tablet, laptop or PC and can be easily incorporated into a video on demand solution.
IPTV services are commonly used by businesses and organizations to deliver TV to waiting areas, reception and common rooms and often integrated with digital signage capabilities. IPTV is also a popular solution for the provision of tv services within a hotel, hospital or residential property.
A lot of the paid IPTV subscription services will offer live TV channels which include live sporting events. IPTV services will also offer a collection of movies.
How Does IPTV Work?
There are three different IPTV formats. We’ll take a look at each one individually.
Video on Demand (VOD)
VOD streaming is exactly what it sounds like; you get video whenever you demand it. Movie-streaming sites are VOD services. There’s no time limit on what you can watch (other than what the service currently has the rights for).
You tell the service what you want to watch, they send it to you via the internet, and you watch it. Simple.
Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video are popular examples of Over-The-Top (OTT) video streaming services. (There are many smaller, niche services available, as well.)
If you’ve watched “catch-up TV,” you’re familiar with this type of IPTV. Many broadcast networks now allow users to watch shows that they missed when they have the time to do it.
The important difference between time-shifted media and VOD is that the content being shared has a limited shelf life. You can’t go back and watch an episode of a show that you missed several years ago (well, you could, but it would be VOD then).
One of the most popular services that offers time-shifted media is BBC’s iPlayer.
(If you think that VOD and time-shifted media sound very similar, you’re right. It mostly has to do with how long you’re able to watch a show after it airs.)
Like broadcast TV, you can also watch shows live on IPTV. Many people watch sporting events this way; it’s easy to stream a game on your phone while you’re on the go.
Other than being broadcast over the internet instead of through traditional cable TV media, live IPTV is pretty much the same as regular TV.
FOX Sports Go, CBS Sports HQ, Hulu Live TV, and Sling TV all offer live IPTV.
While IPTV is definitely getting bigger, it’s still a pretty niche market. Services like Netflix and Hulu offer a lot of TV shows (when they can get the rights to them), and video on demand is growing quickly.
It’s the other formats of IPTV, where there’s a significant potential for changing how people watch TV, that have yet to take off.
Catch-up TV is becoming more popular. Downloading apps for providers like FOX, CBS, and NBC let viewers see the shows that they missed without the effort it takes to set up and record something via a set-top box like a TiVo.
NOW TV, TVPlayer, and Epicstream are all making headway into the live IPTV market, but they’re still not as mainstream as more popular VOD services.
Sports seems to be the area of TV that’s most quickly embraced IPTV. There are plenty of subscription sports packages that you can watch from your computer or stream to your TV whenever you want.
But it’s a safe bet that the rest of the live television world will be right behind.
Devices that work with IPTV services
IPTV services can work with a variety of devices including computers, smart TVs, mobile phones, tablets, and more. You can also use internet TV sticks and boxes for IPTV services.
These internet TV sticks and boxes are small digital media players that are easy to setup and use with your favorite IPTV services.
Here is a list of popular internet TV sticks and boxes :
Chromecast with Google TV
What should you consider when choosing an IPTV service
There are many options out there for IPTV services and you want to make sure you are choosing the right service for you.
Here are some important points to consider.
While there are a lot of free IPTV services, most of them will have commercials built into the content. If you want to watch your content commercial free, then you will have to pay for it.
Make sure to do comparison shopping for pricing and the types of content they offer. Some subscriptions can be as little as $5 a month and upwards of $20 or more a month.
Good Customer Support
It can be frustrating when your service is not working and there is no good way to get in contact with the service provider. You want to make sure that your IPTV service has good customer support to help troubleshoot the issues you are having.
Make sure to read through customer service reviews before deciding on an IPTV service.
Does it work with a VPN?
Not all IPTV services support the use of VPNs. You want to double check with the IPTV service provider before signing up with them.
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