What is IPTV? - FalconTV

How does IPTV work?

If we talk about online streaming, there are a number of words we come across, IPTV is one of them. We are undergoing a paradigm change from conventional modes of broadcasting, such as cable or satellite Television, to internet-based streaming, and IPTV as a technology has a significant role to play in this transitional period.

Customers do not even care about owning content as much as they care about consuming content. This is where the IPTV is coming into the frame.

Take a closer look at what exactly IPTV is, how it functions and its architecture, the types of IPTV services and the future of IPTV.

What is IPTV?

IPTV refers to Internet-based Network Television where the Internet is used to transmit either live or on-demand TV programs and videos. IPTV is a network where the digital television service is provided to the subscriber by means of Internet protocol technology via the medium of broadband or internet access.

It’s slightly different from digital content that millions of users access on sites or devices like YouTube or Netflix, but it has the same ubiquitous, universal nature. Also, unlike regular cable or satellite connections, multiple TV sets may use a single subscription inside a home on IPTV.

IPTV gives viewers the additional benefit and flexibility of being able to select the program they want to watch whenever and wherever they feel like watching it apart from tuning to any live TV shows that are actually being broadcast.

To understand how IPTV varies from conventional TV, compare the conventional mode of viewing with IPTV –

Both cable and satellite work by allowing users to tune in to different channels within the signal, and the key difference is that the cable is wired while the satellite is wireless (until it enters your home anyway). A prime example of Cable TV is Time Warner Cable, which is distributed via coaxial cable link, and an example of Satellite TV is from providers such as DirecTV, which is broadcast and provided to viewers via radio waves.

IPTV uses an Internet Protocol (IP) network to transmit TV channels to the consumer set-top tv box. Internet networks differ from cable and satellite by providing content in the same client-server model that provides email, websites and other Internet-based services. As discussed further in this article, the IP or Internet Protocol is the language used to transfer data packets between computers linked to the Internet network.

The user orders and receives TV Shows and video content is transmitted to the audience through an Internet Protocol (IP) network instead of a cable or satellite network. In comparison to cable or satellite, where content is transmitted in real time, broadcasts and forgets the pattern, IPTV has the ability to store programming on servers at the end of the transmitted, enabling consumers to request content over the Internet at any time.

How does IPTV work?

IPTV is much more like internet browsing than conventional channel surfing. It only uses IP (Internet Protocol), a transport protocol that is a delivery system for transmitting videos to the user. When a viewer clicks on a TV show or requests a file, the file from various sources (servers) is separated into data packets and sent over the internet.

Video servers relay programs via fiber optic cable to existing households via internet access, and requests are sent out and shows are sent back.

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Take a look at the IPTV structure to get a better understanding of how IPTV operates.

IPTV structure

Based on the network configuration of the service provider, there are two major types of IPTV architectures that can be used for IPTV deployment: clustered and distributed.

The unified architecture model is a fairly simple and easy-to-manage solution. Since all media content is stored on centralized servers, there is no need for a robust content delivery network.
Centralized architecture is typically ideal for a network that offers fairly limited VOD service rollout, has an sufficient core and edge bandwidth and an efficient content delivery network (CDN).

Distributed architecture is just as flexible as a centralized model, but has the advantages of bandwidth utilization and inherent system management capabilities that are necessary for running a larger server network. Carriers preparing to deploy a fairly large infrastructure will also consider adopting a distributed architecture model right from the outset. Distributed architecture includes smart and advanced content distribution technologies to increase the efficient delivery of multimedia content through the network of service providers.

Architecture diagram of a typical IPTV network –  

Broadcast material from satellites and local antennas is provided by the central unit. The central unit is where live TV channels and AV sources are encoded, encrypted and distributed in the form of IP multicast streams.The Central Unit will also include Advertisement Servers, Live TV Streaming Servers, Video on Demand (VOD) Servers & Platforms and is where on-demand video assets are processed and distributed as IP uni-cast streams when requested by the customer. The VOD server can often be located with and considered part of the IPTV central unit.

The requested videos and TV channels are transmitted to the user via a transmission network consisting of a comprehensive internet uplink from IPTV broadcasters through Fiber Optics.

The user may receive this signal at its end from their local or chosen Internet service provider, which can differ from a variety of options, such as cable, fiber optics, DSL, etc.

Once viewers subscribe to a particular IPTV channel, they are equipped with a different Set Top Box (STB) package. The set top box is a piece of endpoint equipment that decodes and decrypts TV and VOD streams for display on the TV screen. The STB is connected to a viewer’s internet connection (router) and uses the internet to transmit video and TV content to the user.

The viewer requests videos or TV channels through an interactive STB portal that allows the user to browse through various IPTV services, such as the VOD catalogue.

Though this is a standard example of an IPTV architecture model, given the large variety of service providers currently on the market and the IT options available on the market, each service provider may decide to introduce a slightly different architecture to match their needs, geographic region, end-point Internet access, local market conditions & requirements, and business model. In the heart, though, the values remain the same and might not be that different from what you see here.

Forms of services offered by FalconTV

In addition to broadcasting classic TV channels, IPTV now offers the following digital services:

1) Video on Demand: direct distribution of video content to subscribers. It allows users to view any movie from the media library of the VoD service.

2) Close Video on Demand: is a pay-per-view video service intended for multiple users of the app. The content broadcast schedule is collected in advance and subscribers can look at the schedule and watch the content according to their interests.

3) Time-shifted TV: Time-shifted TV lets viewers watch live shows later so that they can play back and restart at their convenience. Rewind choice is also available for TV programs.

4) Premium Sports: Watch all the live heat now in FalconTV. NBA, UFEA, Football, Cricket and all sort of sports streamed live.

5) New movies and shows: with access to the biggest library of Latest and all time favorite movies and tv-shows.

Present situation and future of IPTV

In the last few years, IPTV has been on a steady growth path. The cumulative number of IPTV subscribers worldwide has now reached the 130 million mark. Net additions of six million subscribers are the maximum over the last 24 months to the end of 2015. These were largely helped by the usual suspects, such as China, which saw 3.7 million new IPTV subscribers sign up in Q4 2015.

Europe and Asia are the leading countries in terms of the total number of subscribers. Nonetheless, in terms of service revenues, Europe and North America account for a greater share of global sales, with relatively low average revenue per user (ARPU) in China and India, the fastest growing (and eventually the largest) markets in Asia.

According to the Zion Market Research report, the global IPTV market is projected to grow by around 18.01 per cent to USD 93.59 billion in 2021 from around USD 34.67 billion in 2015, between 2016 and 2021. Another study by Transparency Market Research estimates that sales will hit $79.38 billion by 2020 compared to $24.94 billion in 2013, rising at a strong compound annual rate of 18.1%.

IPTV’s market share gains would come mainly at the expense of cable, with satellite holding up very well. Indeed, satellite platforms are actually benefiting from IPTV development as they feed channels to the overheads for delivery through land-based fixed broadband networks.

While there are global players offering IPTV services that are fuelling its rise, we notice a change in the use of IPTV and assume that viewing preferences will turn more towards OTT and SVOD as services such as Netflix and Hulu as part of the ongoing trend.

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