What Is IPTV?

Whatcha watchin' on Internet Protocol Television?

IPTV stands for Internet Protocol Television. It supports the transmission of standard television video programs over the internet and Internet Protocol (IP). IPTV allows a television service to be integrated with a broadband internet service and share the same home internet connection.

Due to the high network bandwidth requirements of digital video, IPTV requires high-speed internet connectivity. Being connected to the internet grants IPTV users more control over their television programming and the ability to customize it to their preferences.

A person watching tv
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Setting Up IPTV

Several IPTV systems exist, each with special set up requirements. Some of those systems include:

  • Televisions with built-in IP support—often called Smart TVs—that can be connected to home networks and configured to receive IPTV programming.
  • Set-top devices like Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV, which can also be installed on home networks and interfaced with older TVs that aren't internet-enabled.
  • Laptop computers and game consoles that can be installed with the necessary software to support online video and some kinds of IPTV viewing.
  • Tablets and smartphones, which can similarly run apps that work with IPTV services.

IPTV and Internet Video Streaming

More than just technology, the term IPTV represents a broad-based effort in media and telecommunications to build a worldwide video creation and distribution environment.

Major online video services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime offer subscription services for motion pictures, pre-recorded television, and other types of video streaming. These services have become the primary source of video viewing for a new generation of consumers and represent a shift away from traditional television.