IPTV is a newly created computer protocol that should replace traditional television transmission protocols in the future. It raises some questions. What is IPTV? What are its characteristics ? What are the benefits of using IPTV? Discover the answers to these various questions in the rest of this article.
What does IPTV mean?
IPTV is an acronym for Internet Protocol TeleVision. As the name suggests, it is a television transmission process that uses the Internet to operate (via IP which stands for Internet Protocol). To gain a better understanding of this relatively new concept for many people, it is a good idea to learn more about traditional transmission protocols .
Generally, television channels use satellite or wireless transmission systems to broadcast programs. Thus, each subscriber with a TV, antenna and decoder can receive the signal at home via the satellite or wireless network.
The classic process has a major issue: it is not possible for the user to control what he is watching. The channels predefined daily programs to which any subscriber must refer if he wants to follow programs.
IPTV is totally different. In addition to using the Internet to operate, it also offers the user the possibility to choose their programs. In other words, the viewer can follow what they want, when they want.
Note: Be careful not to summarize IPTV only to platforms for streaming or broadcasting multimedia content online (YouTube, Netflix, etc.).
How does IPTV work?
With traditional television, the programs are broadcast by being transformed into radio waves and broadcast in the air to an antenna on the roof of your house. The antenna converts the waves into electrical signals and your television decodes them to produce sound and image (satellite television works in the same way, except that the signal bounces in space and returns, while television by cable sends the signal directly to your home without radio waves). How is IPTV different?
IPTV is a little more complex. You need a sophisticated storage system for all the videos you want to make available and a web interface that lets people select the programs they want. Once a viewer has selected a program, you should be able to:
- to encode the video file in a format suitable for streaming,
- to encrypt it (by encoding it so that only the people who paid can decode it and receive it),
- to integrate advertisements (especially if the program is free),
- to distribute it on the Internet at any time, from one person to (potentially) thousands or millions of people at a time,
- find a way to deliver a consistent, high-quality image (especially if you advertise with your programming – because that’s what your paid advertisers certainly expect).
IPTV exist in three different versions
Video on demand (VOD)
VOD streaming is exactly what it looks like; you get video every time you request it. Movie streaming sites are VOD providers. There is no time limit for what you can watch.
You tell the service what you want to watch, they send it to you over the Internet and you watch it.
With a service like Netflix or Amazon Prime video, you select a TV show or movie you want to watch from a wide range. They work as a subscription, there are also services where you pay per content consumed
Many broadcast networks now allow users to watch programs they missed while on the air.
The important difference between broadcast media and video on demand is that shared content has a limited shelf life. You can’t go back and watch an episode of a show that you missed several years ago.
You watch regular and scheduled shows at a time convenient to you.
Video on demand and deferred media are very similar. The difference is mainly how long you can watch a program after it airs.
The third type of IPTV is to broadcast live television programming over the Internet while it is being watched, that is, live over IPTV or simulcast over IP. So, like TV broadcasting, you can also watch live broadcasts on IPTV. Many people view sporting events this way; It’s easy to watch a game streaming on your phone when you’re moving.
Sport seems to be the area of television that has been most quickly adopted by IPTV. There are many sports subscription plans that you can watch from your computer or by streaming on your TV whenever you want.
The benefits of IPTV
IPTV is very practical. The main advantages of this protocol are:
- IPTV is very simple and easy to configure, it also requires no cable installation: specific socket;
- IPTV gives viewers complete control over what they are watching;
- It is possible to pause a program, to jump back or even forward;
- IPTV works on many platforms;
- The value for money of IPTV is very advantageous.
Disavantages of IPTV
As disadvantages of IPTV, we distinguish:
- The legal problems inherent in its use;
- Transmission bugs related to the overload of central servers;
- The inability to follow television programs without a broadband Internet connection;
- Slow loading (a direct consequence of a poor Internet connection);
- Sometimes poor signal quality.
Everything suggests that the future of IPTV service is promising. It should also be borne in mind that with the evolution of the Internet, users will be more interested in streaming platforms, to the detriment of other transmission methods. However, IPTV still has a long way to go, particularly with regard to its stabilization and the question of its legal framework.