An IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) allows you to watch TV programs like you are browsing the internet. It gives you the freedom to choose which programs to watch at a time that’s convenient for you. It also comes with three different types, each has its own way of working. IPTVs come in three different types: VOD, time-shifted, and live. All three types can be accessed using an internet-enabled device, say, a TV that is connected to your home network or WiFi.
|Video on demand (VOD)||This is the most popular type of IPTV. Streaming media services like Netflix is a prime example of a VOD. It lets you choose a TV show or movie of interest from a vast selection. Then, you pay the subscription and watch the movie on your TV, PC or mobile device.|
|Time-shifted IPTV||TV news networks like BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) has a streaming media player online called BBC iPlayer. It makes the programs BBC had already broadcasted available online so that anyone can watch at a time that’s convenient for them.|
|Live IPTV||As its name suggests, it involves airing of live TV programs on the internet. Many TV networks today like NBC sometimes deliver their programs online so more people can watch.|
How does IPTVs work?
Traditional TVs broadcast programs by converting them into radio waves and making them travel through the air to a home’s rooftop antenna. Then, the antenna encodes the waves into electric signals which the TV decodes to create sounds and pictures. So, how are IPTVs different?
Unlike live programs, prerecorded movies and shows have to be stored and displayed online so anyone can select and stream them on demand. Some streaming media services limit the number of programs they air online to help regulate the total bandwidth and its effect on the internet. For instance, if a popular TV network in your country made all of its programs available online, a large portion of your country’s internet bandwidth would be used up. Thus, it will slow down your country’s internet traffic.
TV programs, whether prerecorded or live, are encoded into a digital version so they can be delivered as small pieces of information and sent to their destination over the internet. Also, due to the limitations on bandwidth, some videos are required to be compressed so they can travel smoothly with no delays or buffer. The same goes for TV programs which are converted into either MPEG2 or MPEG4 format. The latter provides better quality TV images and uses only half as much bandwidth compared to MPEG2.
When you are going to access a website to watch programs via media players online, you’re making a temporary link between your computer and the server that caters the programs. Your computer will request all files it needs to create on your browser to build the web page you want to access from the server. Servers are often fast that many computers (or clients) can download files with little to no delay.