IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) Explained

Last Updated: September 5, 2022By

Close up of black remote tv

In today’s age, there are more ways to consume content than most people can keep track of. It seems like companies are coming up with new technologies and, of course, abbreviations that nobody knows the meaning of every other day.

This can get really frustrating really quickly, but don’t worry- as always, we’ve got your back. We’ll share everything you need to know about the different types of technologies that are out there in the world today, so you’re all caught up.

Today, we’ll discuss IPTVs (Internet Protocol Television)- what they are, how they work, why they are made, and more. Let’s begin.

What Are IPTVs, and How Are They Different From Traditional TVs

IPTV (or Internet Protocol Television) is a type of TV service that provides media content to viewers using the internet protocol or the transmission control protocol. This means that instead of tuning into whatever is on for show, you get to choose what you want to watch.

Viewing media on IPTVs is more similar to watching YouTube or browsing videos than watching traditional TV. This is because, in IPTV services, media content is delivered to subscribers via their internet connection.

IPTV services are usually provided by ISPs (or Internet service providers), and a single subscription to an IPTV service can run on multiple TV sets inside a single household.

In contrast, Traditional TVs either use satellites to transmit radio waves or optic fibers to transmit light signals (more commonly called cable signals) to your TV. With this system, you don’t get to choose what you can watch and at what time of the day- you only get to tune into whatever is on for the show, and that’s it.

In technical speak, traditional TV delivery is based on a “multicast” format meaning that a specific set of available program signals are transmitted, and viewers don’t get to choose what they can watch except by tuning into whichever channel they want to watch.

By contrast, IPTV services are delivered in a “Unicast” format, meaning that only one program’s signals are transmitted at a time (the program of your choosing). In IPTVs, Internet service providers maintain the content you can watch remains on their network and send its signals to your device on demand.

Of course, another difference between the two kinds of services is that Traditional TVs don’t require additional equipment to display content. In contrast, IPTVs need a working Wi-fi router and other accessories for support.

Services on IPTV

Silver remote tv on hand

IPTVs can offer you five services apart from transmitting the channels available on traditional TVs. They are:

  • Video on demand: With these services, subscribers get video and other media content delivered to them on demand. Viewers get to choose what they watch and when they watch it. The only limiting factor is that they’re restricted from selecting the options available on the server’s media library. It’s not as bad as it sounds, though. They still have a lot of content to choose from.
  • Near video on demand: As the name suggests, this service option of IPTVs is pretty similar to “on-demand video.” You get to choose exactly what you want to watch and when you want to watch it with the difference that you have to pay for everything you watch individually. This is because the near-on-demand video is intended for multiple users sharing a single subscriber ID.

Another way this service is slightly different from an on-demand video is that near-on-demand video services compile content in a broadcasting schedule that is available to viewers beforehand. This gives them enough time to see their options (and the timeframe in which they’ll be available) so that they can place their orders accordingly.

  • TV on demand: TV on-demand services are similar to traditional TV services with one major difference: specific channels in TV on-demand services are recorded and stored, meaning if you miss your favorite shows or if you want to see what programs were on for show while you were away, all you need to do is go back, watch the history of the programs and pick the recording of what you want to watch.
  • Time-shifted TV broadcasts: This service option is pretty similar to the last one. Time-shifted TV broadcasts allow you to watch live broadcasts that you might’ve missed later in the day. Whatever live streaming of sports, news, shows, or movies you’ve missed, you can watch in your free time using the rewind or playback option.
  • Live Television: This service allows you to view shows being broadcasted in real-time.

IPTV Providers

There are hundreds of company or operator-based IPTV providers you can choose to get serviced from today. Some of the most popular names are companies like Netflix, Google, Apple, and Sony.

All of these companies provide streaming services through smart TVs with the use of Wi-fi. Here are a few more popular IPTV service options you can choose from.

  • Roku
  • Hulu
  • YouTube
  • Amazing TV
  • Falcon TV
  • Best Cast TV
  • Select TV, and
  • Xtreme HD TV

Other decent IPTV provider options exist as well, but these are the ones that people most commonly opt for since they’re known and reliable brands.


To sum up, IPTVs are different from satellite and cable TV in that they transmit media content to viewers using the internet protocol. Unlike traditional TV, IPTVs allow viewers the freedom to choose what they want to watch and when they want to watch it by transmitting media content to them on demand.

The only limitation that IPTV comes with is that viewers only get to choose what they want to watch from their assigned server’s media library.

There are five services that IPTV provides in addition to regular media broadcasting. These are:

  • On-demand Videos
  • Near On-demand Videos
  • TV On-demand
  • Time-shifted TV broadcasts, and
  • Live Television.

Details about what each of these services entails are mentioned in the sections above.

Finally, here is a short list of some popular IPTV providers that you can go to if you plan on opting for IPTV:

  • Google
  • Netflix
  • Apple TV
  • Hulu
  • YouTube