Why should someone’s television channel preference dictate what you should watch or even worse, the time
you should watch it? It is a fact that the choice of channels you can choose from are many, but the problem is
that they are quite limited as you can only catch them at a specified time; when they are being aired.
Wouldn’t life be much easier if programs were listed like they are on YouTube? Then you wouldn’t have to
worry about missing out in the case several of your favorite programs being aired simultaneously. Even
better, you could watch them whenever and wherever you choose to.
One of the guarantees of IPTV
(Internet Protocol Television) is the possibility of this happening. Using
Internet technology, it delivers television programs on your request. We shall look at how it operates, its
benefits and the challenges it brings to the telephone companies and broadcasters during its delivery process.
What defines and makes up IPTV? Instead of receiving TV programs via the satellite dish or antenna, they
are downloaded and played through your set-top box or computer device by means of internet connection. It
uses a bandwidth ten times higher than the standard which is about 10-10oMbps as opposed to 1-10 Mbps.
From a broadcaster’s standpoint, an encryption of the video file is done and streamed across the internet
from hundreds to millions of people at a go. You can fix advertisements for companies at a cost, especially if
the program was given free of charge.
Types of IPTV Internet Protocol Television comes in three varying flavors, the first one being video on
demand (VOD). You are probably already familiar with this. When using Netflix for example, you select a
program/movie of your choice, pay for it and watch it there and then.
The second type of IPTV is, you watch a scheduled broadcast at the time of your choice. BBC recently
made its programs available online using a web-based video player which is called the BBC iPlayer. This type
of service is known as time-shifted IPTV.
The third type is known as IP simulcasting or live IPTV. It involves the live broadcasting of television
programs across the internet. You can watch your favorite shows, games or events as they take place.
For the best quality streaming of all three forms of IPTV, use a set-top box, your computer or an ordinary
digital TV. You can also watch using your smartphone device. All can be delivered through the use of a public
or private internet connection.
Personalized interactive TV Combining video and television pictures gives you the opportunity of an
interactive experience. Through live streaming, there will be an audience of thousands to millions of viewers.
The sending of instant feedback will be made possible. This is the future of television. In the case of a live
interactive show taking place, you will be able to send your opinions and receive feedback almost instantly
from the presenter!
You will be able to fast forward through your advertisements or select the ones you want to watch, as
opposed to the generic ads we see on television today.
How is IPTV different from traditional TV? Let us explain how the traditional TV works first. Programs are
turned into radio waves then transmitted through the antenna or satellite dish. The antenna or satellite dish
converts waves into electrical signals and your television decodes them to form sound and picture. IPTV is
different in the following ways.
1. Storing of programs To lessen net traffic, some VOD services regulate the count of programs they avail
to the viewers, limiting the general bandwidth of their service. This is with the exception of live broadcasts
which are streamed as they are presented.
2. Preparing programs Videos need to be compressed to prevent buffering and increase bandwidth. They
also need to be converted into digital format to give a higher quality in the case pictures are in standard or
3. Streaming programs A type of downloading takes place, it is referred to as IP unicasting. The server
and the client (your computer) have a short intermittent conversation whereby the client requests all the files
that are needed to build the page you are looking at. Servers are mostly powerful and fast such that clients
can simultaneously download content with minimal or no delay.
4. IP multicasting When you stream your content, you cause potential buffering to the server so lP
multicasting is used. Each packet is sent simultaneously to several destinations. An example is a thousand
people watching the World Cup series at the same time. Receiving streamed video packets from a single
server, it would be sent at the same instant to a thousand clients by use of IP multicasting.
IPTV providers use synchronized networks on servers known as content delivery networks (CDNs) that allow
for reliable information streaming from any corner of the planet, no matter how remote.
5. IPTV protocols The internet links all computers of the world using technical procedures known as
protocols. Instead of using HTTP and FTP which are the standard television protocols for downloading,
streaming involves RTSP (Real-Time Streaming Protocol) and RTP (Real-Time Protocol), adapted for
simultaneous download and play. Multicast streaming uses IGMP (lP Group Membership Protocol) as it allows
one server to broadcast to groups of clients effectively.
6. Managed networks By controlling the entire network, IPTV can guarantee a high level of quality and
service. The national office of IPTV known as Super Head-End feeds into regional hubs known as Video Hub
Offices (VHOs) who in turn service local distribution offices. These offices are linked to set-top boxes that
are present in your home.
Viewing programs Every single individual who possesses a computer and a broadband connection can have
access to IPTV. Most of us, however, do not want to watch TV on a laptop screen. It is likely that most IPTV
viewers will purchase set-top boxes. They are computers programmed to decrypt packets of streamed video,
convert them to video files and display them as HD television pictures, quite similar to Apple TV.
You can also use a dongle, which resembles a USB flash memory stick. It allows you to access internet
programs. You plug the device into an HDMI socket on your computer or television and connect via Wi-Fi to
download music, videos, television programs and movies.
Could IPTV the future of broadcasting?
As much as no-one can indeed appreciate something which they
have not experienced for themselves, the popularity of emerging VOD websites such as personal video
recorders and BBC iPlayer strongly suggest that television will evolve to a pay-per-view programming.
It is likely that TV and telephone will join forces due to consumer demand in the near future, which will pave
way for the transition. The likelihood of them competing against each other is slim. But if it does happen, it
shall indeed be a hindrance.
Few households today have broadband connections that have the capacity to handle high-quality television
streaming. This means Upgrading standard broadband connections to fiber-optic broadband may take
considerable investment and a relatively lengthy period of time.
With luck, Internet Protocol Television may take off in a manner similar broadband Internet in the early
200os. The control, interactivity and convenience of IPTV far outweighs the standard television. The most
competent alternative usually takes the lead with time. For me, IPTV is without a doubt the future of