IPTV stands for Internet Protocol Television. It’s when you get your TV content through the same network as your internet service. However, the TV content you get can have a greater variety and more interactivity than traditional TV packages. Here’s everything you need to know about IPTV.
IPTV . . . As Opposed to What?
Before IPTV, there were three main ways of getting television.
Terrestrial TV: TV broadcast for free over radio waves. You used to get them via bunny ears. Now that they’ve gone digital, you can take advantage with a digital antenna. Keep in mind that only a handful of major networks are broadcast this way.
If you were a kid and only had terrestrial TV, you generally had to wake up early on Saturday morning to watch cartoons.
Cable TV: A big bundle of channels you paid for that would connect to your TV thanks to a cord and box from the cable company. Because you paid, you got a bunch of niche and specialty channels.
If you were a kid and had cable, you got an entire channel dedicated to cartoons that you could watch all the time.
Satellite TV: A monster package of channels beamed to your TV through a satellite dish. You’d get network channels from right across the country.
If you were a kid and had satellite TV, you could watch a different episode of The Simpsons from the time you got home until dinner thanks to the sheer variety of channels at your fingertips.
So, What Is IPTV?
Your TV comes to your house through your IP network. As with cable, you get all the channels you’d get from cable, the channels come bundled, and you can upgrade with a la carte options. However, because you’re using your IP network, IPTV comes with some major advantages.
What Does IPTV Offer?
IPTV comes with a few benefits that regular cable doesn’t.
Live & On-Demand: You can watch live TV with your IPTV package. You can also watch some content on-demand. Some content is released in playlists, just like content on Netflix or Amazon.
Device Flexibility: You don’t have to run cable and have cable boxes at every TV you want to watch IPTV at. You can plug your TVs into the home Ethernet network or just watch your IPTV over Wi-Fi. You don’t even have to use your TV. With IPTV, you can watch TV on laptops, tablets, and smartphones too.
Integration: Many services selling IPTV also sell internet and (VoIP) packages. This might mean you get a better price or that these services have cross-functionality.
PVR: Many IPTV packages come with an integrated PVR (personal video recorder). Aside from recording TV for you to watch later, it also lets you pause, rewind, and forward (to a point) live TV. If you’ve ever jumped around the progress bar on a YouTube live stream, it works sort of the same way.
Variety: Most IPTV packages have a few core channels and offer dozens (if not hundreds) of other channels you can add.
The Big Takeaway
IPTV is a great new option for people looking for a more competitive TV package. It combines the variety of cable packages with the interactivity of streaming services. It’s ideal for people looking to replace their cable packages with something better, for people who want to be more selective of what channels they get, or for people who like elements of live TV but don’t want to be married to TV schedules.