What is IPTV and How Does it Work

New forms of electronic media have emerged in recent years. One of the exciting new TV technologies is IPTV.

Internet Protocol television or IPTV is seeing rapid growth across the Asia-Pacific markets. One of the main segments under IPTV that is gaining popularity is subscription-based IPTV, which is also a legal form of IPTV.

In this article, we will know more about IPTV.

What is IPTV?

IPTV is the transmission of television signals over TCP/IP internet protocol, unlike traditional forms of television signals that are transmitted using satellites or underground cables.

How does IPTV work

Working of IPTV
Working of IPTV (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

IPTV works by sending packets of digital information using the standard TCP/IP protocol through a dedicated network from a central server to different routers. These routers then route or re-direct the incoming signal to multiple homes or end-points connected by a set-top box.

These digital packets are then decoded by the set-top box and transmitted to your TV set for your viewing pleasure.

How does IPTV differ from other forms of television?

The traditional forms of television include satellite and cable television. In both these forms, the content is streamed from one central point through radio waves in the case of the satellite TV or though co-axial cables in cable TV.

Direct-to-Home (DTH) is a form of satellite TV that is streamed from one central node to millions of homes with mini-dishes (transceivers).

The earlier form of TV used cable wires to transmit TV signals to homes and offices. Although this form of TV still exists, its popularity has reduced substantially.

IPTV is similar to Over-the-top (OTT) streaming services like Netflix or YouTube. In OTT services, the media is streamed from a server to the consumers using the regular internet medium on which other services are also available as your email, social media, and standard web browsing.

On the other hand, in IPTV, the content is streamed using a private mode of internet that is not available for regular web browsing and is solely dedicated to viewing IPTV content.

Advantages of IPTV over other forms of TV

IPTV has some benefits over different types of TV like DTH and cable TV lack:

  1. IPTV is streamed over a dedicated internet connection, so the TV experience is not interrupted by “buffering” or limits placed by your internet provider, as in the case of OTT streaming.
  2. IPTV provides a Video-on-Demand (VoD) service that allows users to watch the TV shows or movies that they want unlike cable TV and DTH, in which users have no choice over the programming of TV shows and movies.
  3. IPTV has no data caps, as in the case of OTT streaming that is subject to bandwidth limits placed by the internet service provider (ISP).
  4. IPTV combines the best of satellite TV and OTT services like Netflix. The best IPTV providers allow you to watch thousands of TV channels and shows on a single subscription. At the same time, you can also watch VoD shows and movies provided by OTT services.

Limits of IPTV

IPTV rates can differ from location to location, and it is not a cheap TV option; instead, it provides an uninterrupted TV viewing experience without data limits and buffering.

Also, unlike OTT services that can be viewed over the mobiles, IPTV is meant for viewing over TV only, and it requires the installation of a set-top box like in the instance of DTH.

IPTV can be both legal and illegal since it is streamed over the internet, which is precisely what we will discuss below.

Is IPTV legal?

IPTV is just as legal or illegal as other forms of streaming services like satellite TV or OTT. If you are accessing IPTV content that is copyrighted and your IPTV provider does not have a legal agreement with the copyright holder to stream the content, then it is illegal.

On the other hand, if you access copyrighted content that is streamed as part of a distribution agreement between the copyright holder and your IPTV provider, then it is perfectly legal, and you have nothing to worry about.

We hope you have benefitted from this discussion on Internet Protocol television (IPTV). If you have any questions, we will be happy to answer them in the comments below.

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