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What is IPTV and how does it work?

by rahulpandey

Twenty years ago, my television consumption was dictated only by cable and satellite. I had no latitude to watch what was on when it was on, regardless of the show’s schedule. If I missed one of my favorite shows, I had to either cancel all my plans or stay up late to watch a replay at an inappropriate time. Twenty years later, with the proliferation of Internet access speeds, I am now free from scheduled channels. This “liberation” gave birth to the famous phrase “cord-cutting”, which simply involves switching from traditional cable and satellite TV to IPTV.

What is IPTV and how does it work?

IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) is the broadcast of television programs over the Internet. Unlike traditional television, IPTV enables two-way interactivity between the user and the television provider. So users can choose what they want to watch and when they want to watch it – video on demand (VOD).

Traditional television broadcasts content in real time, while IPTV uses servers that store the broadcast content. When a user requests a TV show, the content stored on the servers is transcoded into a digital format, packaged over the internet, received at the user’s location, and transcribed into a format that the TV sets. user can read and transmit.

If the user’s TV cannot transcode to digital, it becomes necessary to have a set-top box connected to the TV via HDMI or AV cables. The set-top box transcends digital format and then sends the content to the TV.

IPTV categories

IPTV can be categorized into the following content formats:

1. Time-shifted television

It allows users to watch previously broadcast content, such as sporting events, conferences, political debates, etc. This content is usually only available for a few days after the broadcast before being phased out by the IPTV provider.

2. Live IPTV

Live TV allows live TV broadcasts to be broadcast directly to the user. It is very popular for live sporting events, historical events or even live news.

3. Video on demand

Video on demand is simply access to a large library of video content that the user can request to watch at will. It works much like with other OTT providers like Netflix or Hulu.

What is the downside to IPTV?

From my perspective, the only potential downside to IPTV is the latency that sometimes occurs, especially when watching live sports. I happened to find out that my favorite football team had scored a goal a full minute after the fact, due to the latency of my feed.

However, it’s a small price to pay for having the freedom to watch what I want, when I want, at a much lower cost than traditional television.


Since the early 2000s, IPTV has grown steadily and shows no signs of slowing down. And as our internet speeds and latencies continue to improve over time in response to new technological developments like 5G, we will see IPTV become even more ubiquitous than ever.

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