How does an IPTV work?

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Whether you watch programs when they are broadcast or you select and watch content on demand, you’ll have to make a choice on how you receive television. All options allow users to watch videos and programs through different technology or modes of transmission. Carefully look at the benefits of each TV option, as well as features, packages, and pricing. Here are the three types of TV services to choose from:

Cable TV

Cable Television is a system for distribution of content to viewers and subscribers. This type of TV service involves distributing television channels to subscribers through coaxial cables or optic fiber and broadband amplifiers. Note that there is a central location (head-end) where the TV programs are received or created before transmission over a coaxial cable network. Users are required to have a TV connection set up.

Satellite TV

Satellite television involves the delivery of TV signals. The stream of digital content is usually received by set-top boxes and satellite dishes. The positioning of your dish should point toward a specific satellite.


IPTV is a service for the delivery of different interactive multimedia services over a managed IP network. Users can either receive IPTV signals using personal computers or set-top-boxes.

What Makes IPTV different?

Storing Content

Content delivered by IPTV companies is either managed or owned by a TV channel. Therefore, the IPTV service provider must acquire the rights to collect and redistribute the content before building a head end facility for processing and distributing it to the end user. You can stream live programs while they’re being produced. However, when it comes to movies and pre-recorded programs, the IPTV service providers have to store them to allow for streaming on demand.

Modern storage capabilities allow providers to store thousands of popular movie titles for their Video On Demand offerings. Well, bandwidth consumption is a key factor that providers consider when making programs and content available. Limiting the amount of content available is critical because the internet has to serve other purposes. They don’t want to slow down the network or negatively impact the internet.

Preparing Content

Preparation, in this case, means converting all the available content into a format that will allow distribution and transmission. Whether it’s live video or pre-recorded content, delivery of the content is only possible in packets. The content stream in standard definition should be encoded in MPEG4 or MPEG2 format before it’s delivered using the internet. These are the correct digital formats.

You know how frustrating it feels when you have to wait for a video to buffer for before it continues streaming. IPTV providers usually compress the videos so that users can stream without periodic delays. The next step involves embedding advertisements and encrypting the information.

Streaming Content

Let’s take a look at what happens when you’re browsing a website. What you need to understand is that browsing involves temporarily linking two computers whereby one gets information from the other. Technically, your computer is pulling content from the other. The server provides you the information you’ve requested while having a brief, intermittent conversation. When the conversation involves one user’s server and another server, the process is referred to as IP unicasting. In this case, the client computer links directly to an IP address corresponding to whatever you’re looking for before it gets content from the server on the other end.

IP Multicasting

IPTV channel transmission involves transferring television media from a television gateway or server to the end user. When the transmission is copied and sent to multiple viewers at the same time, it’s referred to as multicasting.

During multicasting, the packets are sent simultaneously through the network to many destinations despite the fact that each of them leaves the server once. That’s the reason why the content from one server can be sent to many different clients almost the same way as it is for a single client. If you’re a football enthusiast, you now know why hundreds of thousands of fans can stream the World Cup final at the same time. What’s happening in such a case is that a single server is sending packets of streamed video simultaneously to all these people using IP multicasting.

IPTV protocols

It’s important to understand what happens when you’re streaming content on the internet. First of all, streaming a program involves downloading small bits of a given file while still playing it. It doesn’t happen the same way when you’re downloading an ordinary file because the file is not stored for a long time. This is achieved through different IPTV protocols which allow for communication and linking between computers across the world through the internet.

Which Devices Can you use to Watch IPTV?

Viewing IPTV is possible for anyone with a personal computer and internet connection. Multicast streaming content can play on most software media players. The fact that most people don’t love watching television on computers means that IPTV might consider launching set-top boxes to allow users to subscribe to the service.

The role of a set-top box is to receive a transmission from the internet connection before decoding it and displaying a picture and sound on a screen. It produces higher quality video output as a result of its big memory and faster processor.

IPTV vs. Apple TV vs. Roku vs. Chromecast

We’ve already indicated that IPTV is a service for the delivery of broadcast television, videos on demand and other interactive multimedia services over a managed IP network. The set top box is the hardware item associated with IPTV service providers. However, they require a middle-ware solution in order to be used.

When it comes to Apple TV, streaming content is managed using a slimmed-down operating system. Simple apps run on this operating system using a set-top box as well. Users can opt to use a dongle instead of a set-top box. A dongle works almost the same way as a set-top box since users can still have secure access to Internet television programs.

While some providers such as Amazon Fire and Roku don’t need any help from a mobile device or personal computer when using dongles, Google’s Chromecast can be used with these devices. Chromecast allows users to stream television programs or videos from the internet as well.

Vik Palan

Vik Palan

Chief Editor -

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