The term IPTV isn’t that well-known outside the world of media and streaming. However, it’s most people have likely used it without even knowing what it is– and they’re likely to use it even more in the future.
IPTV is a huge part of the paradigm shift from traditional modes of broadcasting, including cable TV and radio, to internet-based streaming. It is growing at a steady rate in today’s internet-friendly landscape, with newer, better services and providers mushrooming every day.
Here’s everything you need to know about this concept, from the definition of IPTV to how to create your own IPTV service.
What is IPTV?
IPTV is Internet Protocol Television, a system by which the internet is used as a messenger for delivering video content online either live or on-demand. Digital TV services are made available to a subscriber through Internet protocol technology, which uses your internet connection as a medium.
IPTV shares similarities with both traditional TV and digital video platforms such as YouTube, but there are some significant differences. In the case of IPTV, Tv programmes are sent via the internet to a user’s set-top box. Unlike traditional TV, where viewers have to tune in to whatever is being broadcast on a channel at that time, IPTV allows viewers to choose what they want to watch because video content is stored on the transmitting end to be played on demand. In just this way, its similar to Netflix and YouTube.
How does IPTV Work?
In simple terms, whenever a viewer requests to see a video, that video is split into different data packets and relayed through the internet and fibre-optic connections to the user’s set-top box.
There are two types of IPTV service structures, the deployment of which depends on the network structure of the IPTV service provider. They are:
In centralised architecture, all video content is stored on centralised servers. This means content distribution happens from the same server, which translates to not needing a dedicated content distribution system. While scaleable, it is recommended mainly for networks with smaller VOD service deployment and a seamless content delivery network.
This structure has essential features that make it possible to manage large server networks. It needs more complex content distribution technologies, especially when deploying a relatively massive system. It’s ideal for companies who have to deal with a large number of video and multimedia content and has distinct advantages such as better system management.
Types of IPTV Services
IPTV is beneficial in distributing traditional TV programmes over the internet through a set-top box. However, an IPTV solution is just as useful when it comes to the following services:
This service allows users to view live broadcasts such that they can pause and resume playbacks at their convenience. Sometimes, these may also feature the option to rewind a programme– something that’s not possible on traditional TV programmes.
Video on Demand (VoD)
This feature is individualistic in that it delivers single video content pieces to each subscriber. Viewers may choose any movie or video content they want to watch from the VOD library.
Near Video on Demand (nVoD)
This is a pay-per-view service that operates according to a pre-set content broadcasting schedule. Viewers can look through the schedule and tune in to what they want to watch at the right time.
TV on Demand (TVoD
Viewers can make use of this feature by selecting pre-recorded TV programmes to watch whenever it is convenient for them.
The Future of IPTV
Currently, the total number of subscribers who make use of IPTV features has crossed 130 million. The global IPTV market will reach USD 93.59 billion in value by 2021– a massive climb from 34.67 billion in 2015. IPTV networks have spread to many major world players, including Russia, China, India, Sweden and Germany, and the rest of the world is fast catching up.
Sports seems to be an industry that’s seeing the most growth in IPTV– this is fuelled by the number of popular TV service providers who now stream live and VOD matches through the internet onto any device connected. IPTV has made it that much easier to catch an India-England match or a crucial Real Madrid vs Barcelona game.
Pre-recorded and catch-up TV is also fast catching up. Household names such as NBC, FOX and CBS in the US have apps that you can download to watch the shows you’ve missed without having to record the shows yourself. In the UK, the BBC iPlayer is a similar service.
Several new names are also being added to the list of IPTV platform providers across the world, each offering their perks and preferential rates. Over the next few years, the world will continue to see a rise in these numbers, as well as better features for viewers who make the switch from traditional TV to IPTV.
Starting Your Own IPTV Service
Now that the answer to the question “what is an IPTV service” is all laid out, it’s appropriate to jump into how to start your own IPTV business or service.
The quickest and most cost-effective way to begin is to connect your business with a popular IPTV service provider in your country. The best ones have the capacity and the bandwidth you’ll need to distribute your content; they’ll also be well-versed in walking you through the process and helping you overcome any hiccups you may face.
Before you select an IPTV provider, you’ll want to identify your niche, content type, schedule, frequency and target audience. You’ll also need to look into the future to see how much scalability and content distribution technologies matter to your business plan– this will enable you to choose the type of architecture that is best suited for your end goals.
IPTV is gaining steam in the world of video content and broadcasting, so now is better than never to hop on the bandwagon and make your waves!