When you watch television, you are delivering content over an IP network, which is a network that is connected to the Internet. This content is typically audiovisual, though such networks can also be used to transmit other information, such as program guides, to subscribers.
The IPTV service provider must first prepare, code and then distribute the content over their network in order for it to function properly. Typically, a set-top box is required in order to view programs, but desktop computers, laptops, tablets and even mobile phones are increasingly being used.
Steps To Deliver Content To Its Customers
This will typically entail the provider obtaining the rights from whoever owns or controls the programming; in the case of movies, this may be a studio, and in the case of a sporting event, it may be a sports’ official organization. The IPTV provider will typically be granted permission to redistribute the programming once the rights have been obtained.
Once the content has been obtained, the Iptv providers will need to encode it in order to ensure that only those customers who are permitted to view it do so in the future. This encoding stage is usually completed after the content has been received from a satellite feed; in most cases, this process will also change the format of the programming in order to make it suitable for distribution over an IP-based network.
IPTV services typically make use of existing phone-based broadband connections to deliver their content. In order for this process to be successful, there must be sufficient bandwidth available to deliver the content to the customer’s set-top box; otherwise, users may experience difficulties streaming the content. The prevalence of bandwidth issues is increasing in countries with legacy phone systems that are simply incapable of carrying large amounts of data; in such cases, fibre optics are being used to enable faster data transmission speeds.
Because this is essentially the user interface that the customer will be interacting with, it must be simple and straightforward to navigate to the content that they are looking for. A typical example of this is an EPG (Electronic Program Guide), but it can also be far more interactive, with picture-in-picture or search functionality based on program titles, actors, or categories being available.
The set-top box is the final piece of the IPTV service jigsaw puzzle to be completed. Final but not least, this is the device that transmits content to the television, manages the middleware, and decodes the information received from the source.
At the end of the day, it must perform effectively, not be prohibitively expensive, and be durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of a household. As an alternative, there are some services that allow IPTV to be viewed on a variety of different devices.
This is a very simplified explanation of how an IPTV service works, and there will undoubtedly be differences in the ways in which different IPTV providers operate. However, the author hoped to highlight the fundamentals of IPTV and make the process more understandable for readers. You can find out more about how IPTV works when you click here.