What Is IPTV?

IPTV stands for internet protocol television. The “IP” in IPTV is television programming that is being communicated using the internet protocol just like Voip (Voice over IP).

Cable and satellite both function by enabling users to “tune in” to specific channels within that signal and the fundamental difference is that cable is via a wired connection whereas satellite is wireless (until it reaches your house, anyway). A prime example of Cable TV is Time Warner Cable that is delivered via coaxial cable connection and an example of Satellite TV is from providers like DirecTV that is transmitted and delivered to the viewers via radio waves.

IPTV uses Internet protocol (IP) based network to deliver TV channels to users’ set-top box. Internet networks differ from cable and satellite by offering content through the same client-server model that renders email, websites and other Internet-based services. As we will see mentioned further in this blog, IP or Internet Protocol is the language that is used for transferring data packets between computers attached to the internet network.

The consumer requests and receives TV Shows and Video content is delivered to the viewer via Internet Protocol (IP) based networks instead of cable or satellite. Unlike cable or satellite where content is broadcast in real time, on a transmit and forget the model, IPTV has the ability to store the programming on servers at transmitting end, allowing users to request the content over the Internet at any time.

Do You Need a Set-Top Box for IPTV?

Because most TVs aren’t equipped for IPTV, you may need a set-top box that converts what you receive over your internet connection into a format that your TV can read.  Many new smart tvs are capable of doing this using an app called Smart STB which I show how to do here.  There are many devices that are supported as well, which you can find in supported devices or can send a message in chat to ask if your device is compatible. 

Architecture diagram of a typical IPTV network