What is IPTV? How does it work?

IPTV or Internet Protocol Television uses the internet for delivering TV content or Videos, either on demand or live. That is, the content is delivered over Wide Area Network (WAN) or Local Area Network (LAN). This is based on IP network (Internet Protocol) and outputs a rich quality of service. Unlike real time content broadcasting systems such as cable or satellite, IPTV streaming services, the content stored on servers in data centres will be available at any time and from anywhere. The best IPTV solution is something that restore your traditional TV system and enriches the viewing experience more interactive and personalised. IPTV works similarly to surfing the internet than traditional channel browsing. IPTV service is booming, so the future of TV is IPTV.

IPTV only needs a single subscription for multiple TV sets. The best and most advanced advantage is that viewers can select or watch any program, at any time and from anywhere. IPTV services are commonly used by businesses, organizations, residential properties, hospitals, and commercial users including offices, airports, sports stadiums, and hotels to deliver TV to rooms, reception, common rooms, and waiting areas and are integrated with digital signage capabilities.

IPTV system uses an Internet Protocol based network that aid in delivering the TV channels or contents to users via Set Top Box. Apart from subscription and VOD, IPTV follows a client-server mechanism. This is an interactive bidirectional competence TV, the user can request the content from websites or any other internet-based resource, and this request will process and send valid content to the user. Unlike, cable or satellite broadcasting systems, IPTV can store on servers at the transmitting end and allows the users to request their desired content via internet at any time. The requested file will be transferred in a compressed and optimized format before reaching the end user.

How does it Work!!

Analog signals are directly sent to users via cables and users can only access the live broadcasted content in traditional TV. Meanwhile, in IPTV server stores the content, and the user or viewer has full freedom to request the program they need via the internet.

When a viewer changes the channels, a new stream is directly transferred from server to viewer. Like cable TV, this also requires an IPTV capable television or IPTV set top box and other devices like routers or broadband internet connection.

IPTV uses Packet Delivery System. That is, data packets are bundled with IP based telecommunication services such as voice over IP and high-speed internet. IP based telecommunication helps for other services and applications such as video on demand (VoD), interactive TV, live streaming, in-program messaging, and time-shifting TV services and your guest can fetch and enjoy content more than the live broadcast.

Live TV: This is like traditional TV, allowing users to watch real-time broadcast content. For example, sports events, live news, conferences, etc.

Video on Demand (VoD): VoD is almost like OOT platforms. That is, it has a large library of movies, videos, Tv shows, etc users can request the content which they wish to watch.

Interactive TV: The user or guest can interact with representatives for services like spa, food ordering, restaurant reservation, room service, flight ticket booking, etc using the IPTV system.

Time Shifted TV: This service is also known as Catch-Up TV. Users can watch their previous favorite broadcast TV shows. The main difference between Time Shifted and Video on Demand is that in Time Shifted TV, users can rewatch the shows only for a limited time.

IPTV uses IP multicasting with Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) for IPv4-based live television broadcasts and Real-Time Streaming Protocol for on-demand programs. Multicast Listener Discovery is used on IPv6 networks. Other common protocols include Real-Time Messaging Protocol and Hypertext Transfer Protocol.

Content Source

Signals can be received from multiple sources – satellite dish, terrestrial, cable, etc.

Headend And Middleware

Headend unit is installed to receive signals from the source and delivered in the form of an IP-multicast stream. IPTV Middleware aid to view TV channels and other services like VoD, via Smart TV.

Core Network

As per user’s request, the content is fetched from the servers or source. And broken into data packets and delivered over an IP network. When the user changes the channel, a new stream is directly available to the user from the server.

End-user Point

End-user connected to a TV STB, the endpoint equipment is connected to the router of the user that allows to decode, decrypt TV/AV/VoD streams for on-screen display. These services not only can be explored by TV but also from laptops, smartphones, desktops, tablets, etc.

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