What is IPTV ( Internet Protocol Television )?

IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) is the delivery of television content such as media and video over an Internet Protocol (IP) network. You can view IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) using the public internet, Virtual Private Network (VPN), wide area network (WAN), or a private local area network (LA).

Internet Protocol television (IPTV) services can be viewed with an Internet-enabled TV, mobile phone, tablet, laptop, or PC.

Internet Protocol television (IPTV) Definition

As per International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the answer to What is IPTV  is,

IPTV is defined as multimedia services such as television/video/audio/text/graphics/data delivered over IP-based networks managed to provide the required level of quality of service and experience, security, interactivity, and reliability.

Another definition by Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) for IPTV and How it works?

IPTV is defined as the secure and reliable delivery to subscribers of entertainment videos and related services. These services may include, for example, Live TV, Video on Demand (VOD), and Interactive TV (ITV). These services are delivered across an access-agnostic, packet-switched network that employs the IP protocol to transport the audio, video, and control signals. In contrast to video over the public Internet, with IPTV deployments, network security and performance are tightly managed to ensure a superior entertainment experience, resulting in a compelling business environment for content providers, advertisers, and customers alike.

girl with mother watching iptv on tablet
girl with mother watching IPTV on a tablet

IPTV Usage

Commercial and corporate

IPTV has been mostly used to distribute television and audio-visual (AV) media all around business premises and commercial places, whether as live TV channels or Video on Demand (VOD). Commercial usage examples like airports, schools, offices, hotels, and sports stadiums, to name just a few.

Residential IPTV home networks

Nowadays all Houses are connected to the Internet through the residential gateway that provides connectivity with the Internet access network located close to the IPTV set-top box. This scenario becomes very common as service providers start to offer service packages with multiple set-top boxes per subscriber.

Networking technologies that take advantage of existing home wiring (such as power lines, phone lines, or coaxial cables) or wireless hardware have become common solutions for this problem, although fragmentation in the wired home networking market has limited somewhat the growth in this market.

IPTV market expansion globally was expected to grow from 28 million subscribers at US$12 billion in revenue in 2009 to 100 million in 2022 in terms of the overall number of subscribers.

what is iptv ?
what is IPTV?

IPTV Protocols

IPTV supports both live TV as well as stored video-on-demand. Playback requires a device connected to either a fixed or wireless IP network in the form of a standalone personal computer, smartphone, touchscreen tablet, game console, connected TV, or set-top box.

Content is compressed by Video and audio codecs and then encapsulated in MPEG transport stream Real-time Transport Protocol or other packets. IP multicasting allows for live data to be sent to multiple receivers using a single multicast group address.

In IPTV systems following protocols are used

Service-provider-based streaming:

IGMP for subscribing to a live multicast stream (TV channel) and for changing from one live multicast stream to another (TV channel change). IP multicast operates within LANs (including VLANs) and across WANs also.[citation needed] IP multicast is usually routed in the network core by Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM), setting up correct distribution of multicast streams (TV channels) from their source to the customers who want to view them, duplicating received packets as needed.

On-demand content uses a negotiated unicast connection. Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) over User Datagram Protocol (UDP) or the lower overhead H.222 transport stream over Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) are generally the preferred methods of encapsulation.

Web-based unicast-only live and VOD streaming:

Adobe Flash Player prefers RTMP over TCP with setup and control via either AMF or XML or JSON transactions.

Apple iOS uses HLS adaptive bitrate streaming over HTTP with setup and control via an embedded M3U playlist file.

Microsoft Silverlight uses smooth streaming (adaptive bitrate streaming) over HTTP.

Web-based multicast live and unicast VOD streaming:

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) recommends RTP over UDP or TCP transports with setup and control using RTSP over TCP.

Connected TVs, game consoles, set-top boxes, and network personal video recorders:

Local network content uses UPnP AV for unicast via HTTP over TCP or for multicast live RTP over UDP.

Web-based content is provided through either inline Web plug-ins or a television broadcast-based application that uses a middleware language such as MHEG-5 that triggers an event such as loading an inline Web browser using an Adobe Flash Player plug-in.

Local IPTV, as used by businesses for audio-visual AV distribution on their company networks is typically based on a mixture of:

  1. Conventional TV reception equipment and IPTV encoders
  2. TV gateways that receive live Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) MPEG transport streams (channels) from terrestrial aerials, satellite dishes, or cable feeds and convert them into IP streams.

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