What is IPTV?

online iptv player iptv player
What is IPTV? IPTV is a newly created computer protocol that is expected to replace conventional television transmission protocols over time. It raises some questions. What is IPTV? What are its characteristics? What are the advantages of using the IPTV protocol? Discover in the rest of this article the answers to these various questions. What does IPTV mean? IPTV stands for Internet Protocol TeleVision. As the name suggests, it is a method of transmitting television that uses the Internet to function (via IP which stands for Internet Protocol). To better understand this concept, which is relatively new to many people, it is helpful to learn more about traditional transmission protocols (that is not using IPTV). Generally, television channels use satellite or terrestrial transmission systems to broadcast programs. Thus, each subscriber with a TV, an antenna and a decoder can receive the signal at home via the satellite or microwave network. However, the classic process has a major shortcoming: it is not possible for the viewer to control what he is watching. The channels predefine daily programs to which all subscribers must refer if they want to follow programs. With well-defined schedules (and therefore by definition not flexible). IPTV on the other hand is totally different. In addition to using the Internet to function, it also offers the user the option of choosing their programs. In other words, the viewer can follow what they want, when they want. Note: Be careful not to summarize IPTV only as streaming platforms or online multimedia content distribution (YouTube, Netflix, etc.). How does IPTV work? As briefly mentioned above, the working principle of IPTV is: make television available on demand. Thus, analogously to what happens during an Internet search (Google search for example), the viewer requests a program that he wants to follow and the corresponding signal is sent to him. Since data traffic takes place via the Internet, the user no longer needs a satellite dish or any antenna to receive broadcasts, just from an Internet Service Provider (an ISP), and an internet connection. Note: that IPTV does not prevent the use of a satellite television signal receiver (satellite dish). If you wish, you can even use them together (together or alternatively). What you just need to know is that these are two completely independent concepts. How do operators broadcast programs using IPTV? Deploying an IPTV protocol is very complex. First of all, it requires a very advanced storage base. It is in fact thanks to this that the operator will store all the multimedia content that it makes available to its subscribers. There are mainly two types, namely:
  • Centralized storage servers (practical for small local operators);
  • Decentralized storage servers (for large-scale operators).
  • Once the multimedia content is placed on the storage servers, the operator sets up an encryption algorithm. It must also ensure that every viewer can have the best possible video quality. As for the broadcasts themselves, they are carried out as streaming (ad-free) on demand with very high transmission speeds.
The media for using IPTV: One of the peculiarities of IPTV is that it can be deployed on various media (hardware and software). A distinction is made, for example, between web browsers, smart TVs and set-top boxes.
  • Web browsers:
IPTV, unlike most television transmission protocols, is compatible with web browsers (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari and Microsoft Edge). The manual is very simple. All you need to do is subscribing to an IPTV service provider and then connect to the IPTV’s streaming URL. In this way, you can have access to all the programs of your choice. For example, you can watch Champions League matches streaming for free. Note, however, that for the best IPTV experience on a web browser, it is important that your device performs well enough even if it is not necessarily useful to have a pro gaming PC for it. The same goes for your Internet connection, it must have a good speed otherwise the experience may be disappointing. If you can (unfortunately I haven’t yet), opt for an internet connection using fiber optics instead.
  • digital television: TV smarts:
The most conventional way to watch television is to have a television set. IPTV is no exception to this rule. However, it should be noted that only smart TVs can receive programs broadcast by IPTV. Or you will need to connect your computer to your television via HDMI. To use IPTV on your smart TV, you will need to have previously downloaded and installed an IPTV application. There are several depending on your location, they are generally found in online libraries (LG Content Store for example for LG brand smart TVs). As for the configuration and mode of operation, they vary from one television model to another.
  • The IPTV box
Apart from Internet browsers and smart TVs, IPTV can also work thanks to an IPTV box. It is a small device (mostly an Android device) similar to a set-top box that is used to transmit IPTV signals. It does not use an antenna for this. Like the other devices discussed above, all you need is a fairly fast internet connection and you’re good to go. In addition, the IPTV box turns out to be very practical given the many additional features it offers:
  • Internet browsing.
  • Recording of favorite shows to follow them later.
  • Internet radio.
  • Reading various removable disks (USB key, hard disk, etc.)
What are the different forms of IPTV? There are mainly 3 forms of IPTV, namely: VOD; Catch-up television and Live IPTV.
  • VOD:
VOD stands for Video On Demand which literally means “video on demand”. It is one of the most popular forms of IPTV. Indeed, it (VOD) has been featured in large part earlier in this article. The user is free to choose the audiovisual programs they want and to follow them in real time. It is in this category that we find popular SVOD streaming platforms such as Netflix, OCS or Amazon Prime Video. If you are looking for a movie or a series for example, all you have to do is make a request and the multimedia file will be sent to you via the Internet in a format of your choice (all this in a few seconds). Depending on the online service you use, you may even be able to choose the version of the video: French version (often referred to as VF), original version with French subtitles (VOSTFR) or even a version in a different foreign language than the original.
  • Catch-up television or time-shifted media
This is a special form of television broadcasting. It allows you to follow deferred programs in streaming. It is a free service that provides recent programming, generally less than 30 days old, with the exception of sporting events or films (for copyright and broadcasting rights issues). Thus, thanks to this technology, you can for example follow a Sunday program (broadcast live) in deferred streaming on Tuesday. All the TV channels now offer their programs on demand via a website, a mobile application for iOS / Android or directly from the internet box. Catch up TV should not be confused with the rebroadcasting that most TV channels do. This is a completely optional delayed streaming, with other programs continuing to be broadcast live.
  • Live IPTV
As the name suggests, IPTV is akin to conventional television. It consists of broadcasting a television program (film, series, football match, and sporting event) live via the Internet. The advantages of IPTV IPTV is very convenient. The main advantages of this protocol are:
  • IPTV is very simple and easy to configure, it also does not require any cable installation: specific socket;
  • IPTV allows the viewer to have complete control over what they watch;
  • Thanks to IPTV, it is possible to pause a program, skip backwards or even forwards;
  • IPTV works on many platforms;
  • The price / quality ratio of IPTV is very advantageous.
The disadvantages of IPTV As disadvantages of IPTV, we distinguish:
  • The legal problems inherent in its use;
  • Transmission bugs linked to the overload of central servers;
  • The inability to watch TV programs without a high-speed Internet connection;
  • Slow loading (direct consequence of a poor Internet connection);
  • The poor signal quality sometimes.
What future for IPTV? Considering the growing popularity of IPTV services (in this case VOD), everything suggests that the future of this service is bright. It should also not be overlooked that with the evolution of the Internet (soon the launch of 5G), users will be more turned to 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 issue of its legal framework.