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What is IPTV? How does IPTV work?


IPTV is one of the many terms we come across when we talk about online streaming.IPTV, as a system, will play an important role in the transition from traditional broadcast formats such as cable or satellite television to internet-based streaming media.

Customers generally care less about owning content and more about accessing it.This is where IPTV comes into the picture.

Let's take a closer look at what IPTV is, how it works & its architecture, the type of IPTV services and the future of IPTV.

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What is IPTV?

IPTV is an internet-based protocol television in which the Internet is used to transmit live or on-demand television programs and videos.IPTV is a system in which the business of index word television is transmitted to the users through the medium of broadband or Internet connection and through Internet protocol technology.

It's a little different from the digital video that millions of users access on sites or apps like YouTube or Netflix, but it has quite a few of the same ubiquity.Unlike a standard cable or satellite connection, IPTV allows multiple sets to be used in a single subscription in a home.

IPTV provides viewers with the added advantage and convenience of being able to choose what they want to watch, whenever and wherever they want, in addition to tuning into any live TV show currently on air.

To understand the difference between IPTV and traditional TV, let's compare traditional TV viewing patterns with IPTV --

Both cable and satellite TV allow users to "tune in" to specific channels in the signal, the fundamental difference being that cable is wired and satellite is wireless (until it gets to your home, anyway).One of the best examples of cable television is time warner cable, which is connected via coaxial cable, and an example of satellite television comes from a provider like DigTV, which delivers and delivers to viewers over radio waves.

IPTV USES an Internet protocol (IP) based network to deliver television channels to the user's set-top box.Unlike cable and satellite, Internet networks provide content through the same client-server model that provides E-mail, web sites, and other internet-based services.As we will further mention in this blog, IP or Internet protocol is the language used to transfer packets between computers connected to an Internet network.

Consumers request and receive television shows, which are delivered to viewers over Internet protocol (IP) based networks rather than via cable or satellite.Unlike cable or satellite TV, IPTV is able to store shows on a server on the transmission side, allowing users to request content over the Internet at any time.

How does IPTV work?

Compared with traditional channel browsing, IPTV is more like browsing the Internet.It simply USES IP (Internet Protocol), which is a transport Protocol, a transport mechanism for transmitting video to the viewer.When viewers click on any TV show or request a video, the video from different sources (servers) is split into packets and sent over the Internet.The video server transmits the program to an existing home over a fiber-optic cable, sends the request and sends it back.

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Let's take a look at the IPTV architecture to better understand how IPTV works.

IPTV architecture

Depending on the service provider's network architecture, IPTV deployment can consider two main IPTV architectures: centralized and distributed.

The centralized architecture model is a relatively simple and manageable solution.Because all media content is stored on a centralized server, there is no need for a comprehensive content distribution system.A centralized architecture is typically appropriate for networks that provide relatively small VOD service deployments, have adequate core and edge bandwidth, and have efficient content delivery networks (CDN).

The distributed architecture is as scalable as the centralized model, but it has the bandwidth advantages and inherent system management capabilities that are essential for managing a larger network of servers.Therefore, operators planning to deploy relatively large systems should consider implementing the distributed architecture model from the start.A distributed architecture requires intelligent and complex content distribution technologies to enhance the efficient delivery of multimedia content through a network of service providers.

Typical IPTV network architecture diagram -


The central unit receives broadcast content from satellites and local antennas.The central unit is where real-time television channels and AV sources are encoded, encrypted and transmitted in the form of IP multicast streams.The central cell will also contain an advertising server, a live TV streaming server, a video on demand (VOD) server, and a platform in which the on-demand video assets are stored and used as IP unicast streams when requested by the user.The VOD platform can sometimes be positioned with a central unit of IPTV and considered part of it.

The requested video and television channels are sent to viewers over a delivery network consisting of robust Internet uplink over fiber optics from the IPTV broadcast end.

The e viewer will receive the signal at its terminal through its local or preferred Internet service provider, which can choose from a range of options such as broadband, fiber optic, DSL, etc.

When viewers subscribe to a specific IPTV service, they receive a specific set-top box (STB) for that service.A set-top box is a terminal device that decodes and decrypts television and video-on-demand streams to display on a television screen.The box connects to the viewer's Internet connection (router) and USES the Internet to deliver video and TV content to the viewer.

Viewers request video or TV channels through an interactive portal in a set-top box that allows them to navigate through different IPTV services, such as a VOD directory.

Although this is a typical example of IPTV architecture model, but due to various types of service providers in the market today, and there are a variety of options IT on the market, each service provider may decide to implement a slightly different architecture, in order to satisfy the demands of its, geographical area, endpoint Internet connection, the local market conditions & requirements and business models.At the core, however, these principles remain the same, probably not much different from what you see here.

IPTV service type

In addition to delivering classic TV channels, IPTV also provides the following interactive services:

1) video on demand: video content is transmitted to the user separately.It allows users to watch any movie in the video-on-demand server's media library.

2) near-video on demand: it is a paid video service for multiple users to subscribe to nVoD service.The content broadcast schedule is preprogrammed so subscribers can view the schedule and view the content according to their interests.

3) time-shifted TV: time-shifted TV allows users to watch live broadcast later, facilitating playback and recovery.TV shows also offer rewind options

4) television on demand (TVoD) : record the selected TV channel for viewing at a convenient time.

5) live TV: to increase or not increase interactivity in the current TV programs.

Current situation and future of IPTV

Over the past few years, IPTV has been on a growth path.At present, the total number of IPTV users in the world has exceeded 180 million.In the last 24 months to the end of 2018, the net gain of 8 million users was the highest.They have been boosted in large part by countries such as China, which added 5.2m IPTV subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2018.

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In terms of total users, Europe and Asia are the leading regions.But in terms of services revenues, Europe and North America account for a larger share of global revenues because per capita income is very low in China and India, and the fastest-growing (and ultimately largest) market is Asia.

According to a report from Zion Market Research, the global IPTV Market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of around 18.01%, from $34.67 billion in 2015 between 2016 and 2021 to $93.59 billion in 2021.A separate report by Transparency Market Research forecasts that corporate revenues will reach $79.38bn by 2020, up from $24.94bn in 2013, growing at a steady compound annual rate of 18.1 per cent.

IPTV's growth in market share will be largely at the expense of cable, while satellite TV's market share will be quite high.In fact, satellite platforms are actually benefiting from the growth of IPTV, as they deliver channels to the front end for distribution on fixed-bandwidth infrastructure on the ground.

Russia, Britain, Canada, France, Belgium, India, Germany, China, Sweden and even the Dominican republic have IPTV networks, according to a list of global IPTV providers obtained from Reddit.

Despite the growth driven by global operators offering IPTV services, we have observed a shift in IPTV usage and believe that viewing habits, as part of services such as Netflix and Hulu, will shift more to OTT and SVOD.

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