Through the years we have seen many new developments and advancements in the field of science. One concept that has emerged and is steadily growing in the field of Broadcasting is IPTV. IPTV is here to stay for years altogether. How can we say? Simply from its popularity and acceptability all over the globe.
IPTV has challenged the limitations of the conventional broadcasting techniques which is by now, considered outdated. IPTV has a major role play in the transitional phase of the broadcasting arena. Traditional TV and cable, satellite networks are experiencing a paradigm shift. And IPTV is definitely emerging into the forefront.
IPTV is the acronym for Internet Protocol TV. This basically means the streaming of TV over the medium of the internet. Apart from the speed and quality of TV programs broadcasted, IPTV has an added advantage of letting customers decide what they want to see on TV. In conventional or regular TV networks, the viewers are forced to watch the programs that are being aired on the TV in real-time.
IPTV has many advantages over the normal TV that makes it a better and viable option. According to statistics, the customer base of regular TV is more than that of the number of IPTV subscribers. But it is estimated that IPTV is going to outnumber the customer base of regular TV in no time. Why? Of course, because of its many unique and distinctive features of course. Let’s do a comparison of IPTV over normal broadcasting techniques. This will help in better understanding the scope of IPTV.
Traditional broadcasting techniques require the viewers to regularly renew their subscription to enjoy the services without any hitch. This is also applicable if they do not watch the show or the channel. But IPTV allows the viewers to cut down on the extra charges. As per the features of IPTV, you only have to pay for what you watch.
Till a few years back, people were satisfied with the concept of regular TV as they felt the comfort of being at home to most worthwhile. But now with the advent and introduction of science and technology on almost all aspects of life, people started being more mobile. They now require portable options for almost everything- including TV. IPTV provides accessibility for viewers to watch shows and TV programs even while on the run.
The traditional TV only allows viewers to watch the shows in real-time and only when they are aired. This is however different if your cable provider has option for catch-up or other features. These features, however, come at an additional price. IPTV gives you the flexibility to stream only the shows that you are interested in. Viewers can even download the shows to watch at a later convenient time. Unlike traditional TV, IPTV is more customer-centric.
Setting up an IPTV network is easy and less costly than you think. It works on the basic principle of live streaming of data content over a broadband internet connection- which can either be a private or public, or a combined network.
IPTV, for the most part, is advertisement free and hence, is more popular among people. You get to watch TV shows without interruptions of any sort, unlike normal TV broadcasting where there are frequent advertisement breaks.
Apart from the Live TV option of watching Tv shows in real-time, IPTV also offers two other features. The Video on demand (VOD) feature allows viewers to watch shows as per their interest. Time-shifted media makes it possible for viewers to choose shows to be watched at a convenient time. However, video content here is available only for a limited time.
As against the one-sided contact of basic Television, IPTV allows viewers to interact and engage in the viewing experience. In fact, IPTV subscribers can even review and rate their favourite shows and also trigger the view whenever they want (VOD).
A single IPTV subscription will allow users to access video content from multiple numbers of devices, including mobile phones, tablets and such. This is especially useful in families or larger group of people wanting to watch different shows but, at the same time. It cannot be denied how normal TV viewing experience is limited to only one show at a time.
IPTV has the unique and added advantage of giving viewers the freedom to continue watching their show from where they left off in the prior login. Besides, users are also able to skip off the content they wish to not see, thereby saving a lot of time and energy!
Cable TV operators enforce certain stringent rules on the viewers making it hard to disconnect a subscription. This may also involve the difficulty in settlement of prior advance payment made for memberships. IPTV however, offers a range of subscription options to cater to a wide range of needs.
Thus, it is quite obvious from the advantages mentioned above that IPTV is a good choice of broadcasting over conventional TV and cable operators.
There are ideally two kinds of people involved in the IPTV field. One is the viewer who subscribes to the IPTV service and the other is the person who provides the IPTV service to customers. Being the next generation in the medium of broadcasting, IPTV is viewed to be one of the most potential concepts from a business viewpoint. You can benefit from it by being an IPTV service provider or a reseller of IPTV.
Before we get into the details and benefits of building your own IPTV set up or service, it is very important to understand how IPTV works. It is essential for one to get to know the various aspects related to it.
In Traditional TV networks, signals are converted to radio waves and beamed through the air to be captured by the antenna on the rooftop of homes. The antenna converts the waves back into electrical signals and is displayed on the TV sets after decoding. The working of IPTV is however different. It essentially goes through the following steps in the working.
Live programs are streamed as they are broadcasted on TV. But for VOD (Video on demand) feature the programs have to be prerecorded and stored making it convenient for the user to select and stream on-demand. Some VOD providers limit the number of programs per viewer to limit the overall bandwidth of their service thereby avoiding any delay in streaming.
The recorded TV shows need to be first converted into a digital format. This is then delivered as data packets using the Internet protocol. This is especially applicable to programs in the analogue or SD format. These programs need extra processing to turn it into digital format. Since there are limitations on the bandwidth, videos are compressed for smooth streaming without buffering.
There are two ways in which programs are streamed in IPTV.
IP unicasting- When you browse a website, an intermittent connection is made between the client and server computers. This is done by directly linking to an IP address that corresponds to the website. Most of the web browsing falls under this category.
IP multicasting- Streaming essentially means the programs do not take time in downloading and gets played simultaneously to the download. In this case, the connection between the server and client is more or less generic and is not of a one-to-one nature. In IP multicasting, each packet leaves the server only once but is sent simultaneously to many different destinations.
IPTV Providers often use synchronized worldwide networks for streaming programs. IPTV involves using protocols adapted for simultaneous downloading and playing. IPTV has a public, organized and hierarchical managed network to make things work smoothly.
Technically speaking, anybody who has a computer and a broadband connection can get to watch IPTV. However, to enhance the viewing experience and to watch it on a larger screen there are certain additions needed. The future of IPTV sees viewers buying set-top boxes (STB) to receive input from the internet connection and to decode the signal to play it on a high definition TV screen. In fact, some smart TVs have the device inbuilt. Alternatively, a more compact solution in this regard is to have a dongle that allows secure access to Internet TV programs. Dongles are self-sufficient as it gets connected to the internet via WIFI and then streams video content directly to the TV.
Having gone through the various steps involved in the working of IPTV, you may be anxious as to whether the set up of an IPTV network is a tedious process. But let us tell you that, if you have proper and relevant knowledge of the system and its working, the process is quite simple. These networks are intranets and the web browser is on the set-top box itself.
In fact, it is safe to say that if you can set up an intranet or public website, then you can also set up your own IPTV service. It doesn’t require large development teams working on complex and expensive servers. Alternatively, you can also stream content from an IPTV provider and be a reseller instead. This is a safe bet as the chances of risk are comparatively lesser.
So, now that we have analyzed why IPTV is considered a better choice in broadcasting, let us take a look at what the future holds for the IPTV business.
Let’s be frank here. The number of regular traditional TV viewers are much more than that of the IPTV customer base. However, statistics reveal that this will not be the case in the near future. With the acceptance of the concept of IPTV world over and the popularity and usage of the internet, things are going to look a lot more favourable for IPTV in the future.
People are already making a move from broadly defined channels and rigid schedules that cable operators offer to a narrower and pay-per-view perspective of the IPTV. It is however claimed that consumer demand will not be the driving force of the transition of TV to IPTV. Then what could lead to this major perspective change? In a short number of years to come, we will see that TV, telephone and the internet per household will merge into a single entity and pave way for live streaming of content over a broadband connection. Companies would redefine their technical strategies in providing attractive bundles for all three services combined. As a result, IPTV would definitely make way into the forefront of entertainment media.
Apart from the various technical and legal hitches that IPTV must overcome, there is another issue that needs to be corrected for the emergence of the IPTV. Many households across the globe still do not have access to broadband connection with enough capacity to handle high-quality TV stream. It is sure to take time and considerable investment for households to upgrade from ordinary broadband connections to high speed and efficient fibre optic broadbands. They could routinely provide an internet speed of 10-100mbps; which is the most favourable for IPTV.
IPTV provides the promise of a high quality of service and better picture quality if it meets all the necessary technical requirements. This itself would turn out to be a major win over conventional TV and cable operators.
Thus, IPTV is seen to be the best choice in broadcasting, today and in the coming future too. It will surely capture the broadcasting arena in no time!