What is IPTV?
- From a TV watcher's point of view, IPTV is very simple: instead of receiving TV programs as broadcast signals that enter your home from a rooftop antenna, satellite dish, or fiber-optic cable, you get them streamed (downloaded and played almost simultaneously) through your Internet connection.
- Not the kind of connection you have today, which can probably handle only 1–10 Mbps (million bits per second—roughly the amount of information in an average novel entering your computer every second!), but a broadband line with about 10 times higher bandwidth (information carrying capacity) of maybe 10–100Mbps.
- You watch the program either on your computer or with a set-top box (a kind of adapter that fits between your Internet connection and your existing television receiver, decoding incoming signals so your TV can display Internet programs).
Three types of IPTV
IPTV comes in three different flavors :
- IPTV involves broadcasting live TV programs across the Internet as they're being watched or IP simulcasting.
- Video On Demand (VOD). With a service such as Netflix (an online movie website), you select a TV program or movie you want to watch from a wide range, pay your money, and watch it there and then. A different kind of IPTV is being offered by some of the world's more enterprising TV broadcasters.
- Time-Shifted IPTV, is watching ordinary, scheduled broadcasts at a time that's convenient for you. In the UK, the BBC , ITC & Channel 4 make last week's programs available online using a web-based streaming video player. these are known as the BBC iPlayer.
All three forms of IPTV can work either using your computer and an ordinary web browser or (for much better quality) a set-top box and an ordinary digital TV. All three can be delivered either over the public Internet or through a managed, private network that works in essentially the same way (for example, from your telephone and Internet service provider to your home entirely through the provider's network).