What is IPTV?
IPTV is an acronym that stands for Internet Protocol Television. It is a system where digital television service is delivered to the subscriber through Internet protocol technology via the medium of broadband connection. It is a relatively new technology that is continuously evolving. It is different from the traditional way of watching television where the content is broadcast using cables. You can watch crystal clear television content that is delivered to more than sixty (60) iptv devices.
The existence of IPTV stems from the thinking that one should not be forced to see content that has been made without his consent and also at a time when he is not ready to watch it. This is usually what happens when you switch on your television. Of course there are so many channels but you have to work hard and also record programs to be able to watch them at the time of your choosing. The idea of IPTV is similar to browsing the web. You have such a wide choice that you are free to pick and choose and watch content to your liking whenever you decide to switch on your television. IPTV can deliver programs on demand to the consumer and therein lies its beauty. Being in its nascent stage of evolution, there are millions of people who are still not aware of IPTV and how it works.
How IPTV Works?
IPTV is a process that delivers television content over IP based network. Service provider gets the content and demodulates and decrypts it if it is necessary. He then encodes it to transport it digitally over IP network with some additional encryption and compression. These signals can be received and viewed on a device that is IPTV capable such as a set top box.
Acquiring the content from the programmer
It all starts with acquiring the content that has to be delivered to the consumer. In television industry, the company that holds the right to content is called Programmer. Service provider of IPTV acquires the content from the programmer (for example, the league that holds this right for the matches that are played under it) to distribute it over its network. This content has to be processed by IPTV service provider to be able to send it on the device of the end consumer. This processing takes place at a physical facility called headend facility. Headend can be broken into three sections namely
- Reception from the satellite
- Encryption and encoding
If you go into the head-end facility of any IPTV server provider, you would find rack after rack of receivers catching satellite signals. You also see a large dish or several dishes called dish farm. These dishes are used to amplify the signals received from the satellite that become significantly weak coming from space on to earth. At some places, a 5 meter dish may be sufficient, but at other places, the strength of the signals coming from space may be very weak, requiring specially designed large and strong dish.
The signals from the satellite are captured and shared by receivers Split signals are demodulated and decrypted which might be necessary in some cases where signals are encrypted before being sent to space to protect intellectual property rights.
All the signals coming out of receivers are fed into a device that encodes them so that they can be assigned to an IP address. The formats that are used for encoding the signals could be MPEG-2 or MPEG-4. MPEG-2 encoding is cheaper than MPEG-4 encoding. Encoding in MPEG-4 format becomes essential if the content is in HD. One important step that is followed before encoding signals into MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 and that is conversion of analogue signals into digital signals.
Encryption of the signals after all these processes is undertaken. There is a sub system called Digital Rights Management having two ports. Encrypted signals go into on port and come out encrypted from the other port of this system. This DRM also needs to be fully compatible with the set top box placed at the end of the user.
Understanding unicasting and multicasting
When you are visiting a website using internet, a link between two computers is formed temporarily. One of these is of course yours while the other one is a much more powerful called server. Your computer (client) makes requests and the other computer (server) fulfils all your requests to provide the information from its pages. As these servers are very fast and also powerful, you can even download information at the same time without any delay and buffering. This type of streaming and downloading is called IP unicasting.
In IPTV, programs are streamed and a much greater load is placed on the server. This can cause unacceptable delays. To avoid buffering, another technology called IP multicasting is used. Each packet of information leaves the server to reach the end of the customer but this packet is sent simultaneously to many other customers at the same time. This allows programs to be streamed on the televisions of hundreds and thousands of customers at the same time possible without any delays and buffering. You can visualize thousands of customers enjoying live telecast of a world cup match on their TV’s using IPTV with the help of this unique technique called IP multicasting.
What is IPTV server?
Two most common server architectures deployed for IPTV network are centralized and distributed. Centralized IPTV server is easy to manage and a simple solution for IPTV. This is because of the fact that all content is stored centrally and there is no ned of a content distribution service that is comprehensive. Architecture of the server that is centralized is great when video on demand portion is small and there is a content delivery network that is efficient in nature. However, there are IPTV networks that utilize distributed server architecture because it accords advantages in bandwidth usage and also proves to be highly efficient in management of large server network. This is the reason why operators who plan to provide IPTV over a large area should install distributed server architecture from the beginning. These operators have to keep in mind the requirement of an intelligent content distribution technology to support the centralized server architecture.
Where to find Reliable IPTV server provider?
It is not an easy task to finalize the IPTV server provider for your IPTV network that you are planning to operate. One of the foremost requirements of IPTV network is that it should run uninterrupted and provide content on demand as and when required and requested by the end user. To fulfil this requirement, you need a server that promises uninterrupted access to customers and guarantee of 99.99% on time service. You can check the products and features of server providers on internet and ask for a quote to decide one service provider with which you can go to start your IPTV network. Here is some iptv providers :
DirectTV is an American broadcast satellite service provider based in California which provides you more than 200+ TV channels in HD and also supports 4K Programming. You can easily get access to their channels through their IOS, Android or Kindle App.
NowTV owned by Sky plc and launched in the United Kingdom, it provides latest movies, kids entertainment, films, tv shows, live sports, etc. live and on demand. All are available on more than 60 devices: tv, computer, mobile phones, games console, etc.
Different types of IPTV subscriptions
Basically there are free and paid subscriptions of all IPTV service providers. There are no free lunches in this world and you can view for free only content that is available for free to your IPTV service providers. Even free content does nto cost free to the IPTV service provider as it bears operational and maintenance costs. If you do not want to pay monthly subscription fees to your IPTV service provider, you can get access to only free channels that might not telecast live programs of content full of entertainment.
- PAY PER VIEW
- DAILY PLAN
- WEEKLY PLAN
- MONTHLY PLAN
- YEARLY PLAN
All IPTV service providers have various subscription plans for their customers. Higher is the monthly subscription fee as the customer opts to subscribe to a large number of paid channels. As a customer, you always have the option of choosing the subscription plan that is best suited to your liking and requirements. You can always ask for c customized subscription plan by adding a few features and by deleting some features that you do not want to subscribe to.
How to get free trial IPTV?
Many IPTV service providers, in a bid to increase their consumer base and also to popularize their services, are resorting to a promotional offer with a free trial period. This offer is mostly for a limited time period (24 hours) during which a customer can enjoy watching up to 10000 channels free on his smart TV. You are advised to check if it is an unconditional free trial offer or whether you have to pay something to the service provider for it. All it takes to enjoy free trial is a click on your part. Of course you need to have a valid email address at which you are sent the password and all other details for watching IPTV for free for a limited time period.
IPTV M3U is a very popular IPTV network across the world. It streams content from many European television networks to its customers including German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Ukrainian, Swiss, French, and English. Customers love this IPTV service because of the clarity of the content and wonderful audio accompanying this content. One can also watch Turkish and Arabic television channels using this IPTV service irrespective of where he resides in the world.
Viewing programs with IPTV
You can watch programs of your choice on your laptop provided you have internet or Wi-Fi at your home. But you cannot get the level of entertainment that you are seeking from IPTV on the small screen of your laptop. This is why it becomes necessary to get a set top box that can receive signals and decode them to beam programs on your large screen LCD or LED television. In such a scenario, set top box acts like a standalone computer as it receives signals, decodes them, and then converts them into a format (MPEG-2 or MPEG-4) that you can see on your television screen.
Another way to watch IPTV on your HDTV is to plug in a dongle that looks like a USB drive. It connects to internet or Wi-Fi and starts to beam IPTV programs on your TV. Some of the most popular dongles being used by people to watch IPTV are Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire, and Roku.
There is a difference between a set top box and a dongle device. Set top box is bigger and may take place near your television, but it is fitted with a faster processor and also has larger memory than a dongle. This is why IPTV programs beamed using a set top box appear to be better quality in terms of audio and video.
Though there is slow demand for IPTV from the consumers as they are used to watching television programs in the traditional manner, there is no doubt that IPTV will be the next big thing in the pay TV market in the years to come. You can think of IPTV as a small but growing part of the broadcast landscape. In a country like Spain, IPTV has doubled the number of subscribers in the last two years and it is now dominating the pay TV market in the country. IPTV has crossed the barrier of 6 million customers in Spain which is no mean feat for this fledgling technology.
Growth of IPTV is no threat to traditional broadcasting media
At a recently organized TV Connect Conference, experts were unanimous in their observation that IPTV is growing and diversifying but it is in no way threatening for traditional television. IPTV is still a very small part of the broadcasting landscape and it would be wrong to assume that its growth will one day signal the end of the traditional broadcasting media. Mark Wilson Dunn, who is the Vice President of BT Media, said that television is and will always remain the preferred way of watching programs in homes and offices. But the situation would be different for consumers who are on the move as when flying or travelling in a train. IPTV would be the best way to enjoy TV programs on mobile devices like tablets, smartphones and laptops.