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Streaming has become common in the digital media realm. The primetime entertainment options that were once limited to our TV sets are now brought to your smartphones, computers, and even game consoles. Netflix has racked up 182.8 million subscribers and that is not a small subscriber-base. That clearly shows how streaming services are growing exponentially. But you know about Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime then what is IPTV?

IPTV is no different from most of these streaming services. In fact, one format of IPTV is what streaming platforms like Netflix confer, which is Video on Demand. So technically speaking, Netflix falls under the VOD category of IPTV.

But most of us are oblivious to the term. And it is true that you seldom hear about it in the media scene. So what exactly is IPTV and how is it changing the current face of digital media? Keep reading to find out.

What is IPTV (Internet Protocol Television)?

There is content you exclusively access over the internet and a good example is YouTube. That is not an IPTV format. Television content that is delivered over Internet Protocol networks is what IPTV is. It is connected to the content that is aired on your TV set via cable or satellite providers but with a few changes. IPTV service brings the same content that you can view on your traditional TV to your smartphone, PC, tablet, and even your TV but via a streaming media format. And that is executed through various sources, such as streaming apps or devices like Xumo Stream Box with Spectrum TV, Roku, Sling TV, and Google Movies & TV.

The notion of IPTV is also not strictly limited to television content. Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu follow a Video on Demand model of IPTV that lets users subscribe to a certain streaming service and pick from the content that is pre-added to the platform’s directory. Other formats include time-shifted TV that lets you record content, Live TV for real-time viewing, and quite a few other types.

If you have an older TV model, you might need to use a set-top box or streaming device like Amazon Fire Stick. If your TV can connect to Wi-Fi, it is IPTV compatible.

So now you know the basic gist of Internet Protocol Television. What about the services that fall under the IPTV category? We have jotted down a list of all available IPTV services below.

Types of IPTV Services

The following types of IPTV services are popular:

Video on Demand (VOD)

Our aim is to keep the explanation as simple as we possibly can. So we will not be jumping into the technical tidbits and jargon of Video on Demand – a type of IPTV format or service. The term ‘Video on Demand’ itself is self-explanatory. Most of us turn into couch potatoes and tune in to Netflix on weekends. The streaming services we have majorly become familiar with are exactly what VOD is. Streaming platform giants like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and the newest one to join the competition, Disney , are all examples of Video on Demand. These services follow a subscriber-based model and are one of the widely recognized forms of IPTV services.

Live Television

Watching TV programs and sports in real-time is what you hold as Live Television. Primarily programs like reality TV shows, award programs like The Academy Awards & Golden Globes, and sports games & telecasts are provided in real-time. Now you would think that it could be the same as live television shows broadcasted over your TV set but Live TV with IPTV is different. The content is broadcasted over the internet, not coaxial cable. It is a novel way of watching your favorite football team’s games and award shows. Services like Sling TV, Fox Sports Go, and Hulu Live TV have made this possible. 

Time-shifted TV

It is a rewind time! Does the phrase resonate with time-shifted TV? It sure does. Supposedly, you miss out on a live telecast game of your favorite basketball team. What would you hope to do in this scenario? View the broadcast you just missed, right? Well, that is time-shifted TV but it has a limited lifespan. While it might sound similar to Video on Demand but you can view content on Netflix and Hulu whenever you want. There is no service life unless the streaming app decides to remove the TV show or movie from its directory. Time-shifted TV allows users to record data, store it, and then watch it later on. But mind you, it is only available for a limited time.

TV on Demand

When you pay over $15/mo. for the Standard Netflix plan, you get access to the complete content directory of Netflix. However, with the TV on Demand (TVOD), that is not the case. Such an IPTV service lets you purchase each movie or TV show individually. So if you are looking to binge-watch your weekly proportion of On Demand content, you will have to pay for each piece. While this offer might not seem so enticing, it has its bright sides. The TV on Demand service is divided into two parts – Electronic sell-through (EST) and Download to rent (DTR). EST gives users permanent access to the televisual content they purchase online. As for DTR, lets users rent out their favorite TV shows and movies for a limited time. Popular services that follow this IPTV format include the Google Play Store and Apple iTunes.

Near Video on Demand

Near Video on Demand (NVOD) follows the model of Pay-Per-View services. Each TV show or movie you access on a PPV service is scheduled on its allocated time. The user then picks a program that is added to a certain broadcast interval. This helps the viewer to pick a show/movie of their liking in advance. The content broadcasted on NVOD channels has a fixed schedule and once the schedule ends, new content is added to the list.

To Conclude

You are now up-to-date about the notion of IPTV services. You can streamline your content consumption, you can record your favorite shows and stream channels on your TV set or smartphone, as you deem fit. IPTV is becoming the new face of digital entertainment and we can only anticipate how far the service will go in the future.