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Useful Guide That Will Make You Understand IPTV/OTT Fundamentals

Useful Guide That Will Make You Understand IPTV/OTT Fundamentals

IPTV is a brave new world. Talking and learning about it is pretty much like braving into the new world, like when Columbus first got to America. For each knowledge resource you read, ten questions arise. One thing is sure, though: IPTV will be around in the future.

Yes, indeed we use that term a lot around WeTek. But do you know what it means? Even more than knowing what it means, are you aware of what it is?

We created a little guide with just enough information to get you into IPTV without being overwhelming.

Let’s start with this: IPTV stands for Internet Protocol television.

What is IPTV?

Internet Protocol television (IPTV) is the delivery of television content using signals based on the Internet protocol (IP), rather than through traditional terrestrial, satellite signal, and cable television formats. 

Simply put, you get to stream TV.

There’s some discussion regarding terminology and what makes both the concepts of IPTV and OTT different (or even the same…).

You can say there are three different types of IPTV:

  • Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) -  Services such as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Video Prime allows you to choose a TV program or movie you want to watch from their library and stream it.
  • Ad-based Video On Demand (AVOD) aka Time-shifted IPTV - Most major broadcasters around the world already offer their content using a web-based streaming video player or app, allowing you stream its last week's programs, for instance. A good example is BBC's iPlayer (only available within the UK). Hulu can also be a good example of TV content backed by advertisement, however with a small fee.
  • Live IPTV or IP simulcasting - Refers to the ability to watch live television on the internet as it’s being broadcasted


BBC's iPlayer in action

How can I get it?

You can get any form of IPTV using either using your computer and an ordinary web browser or, if you want to enjoy on your living room screen, a set-top box. IPTV can be delivered via the public Internet. This form of broadcast usually falls into to the  'OTT' gray area because it is offered over the top of the ISP, without their involvement. Usually, HTTP is the protocol, or perhaps a modified form of HTTP or even over a managed or closed network, generally provided by the ISP themselves. In this case, the streams don't usually travel the public Internet and can give you the best experience as the signal goes from the provider's network straight to your home.

How good is it?

VOD services that you can easily get via the public internet such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and more, offer you the best picture quality around. You can stream content up to 4K resolution and capable of HDR playback.


Netflix's Marco Polo ready to be broadcasted in glorious HDR.

TV channels streaming their channels on their websites 

Many ISP already provide IPTV bundling SD and HD channels, but can you tell the difference between its cable or satellite counterparts? Well, you might. IPTV uses compressed video formats: the higher the compression rate, the bigger the effect every lost packet has on the picture you see. Whether it shows or not, depends on how good the compression is dealt with.

Is it legal?

Yes. Totally. IPTV technology is legal in many forms. Just imagine this: would BBC have their iPlayer app if it wasn’t? There has been a lot of discussion as of lately due to a mediatic UK bust concerning if Kodi is or isn’t a legal software. It is legal. 

Saying that Kodi is illegal, is the same as saying that Google Chrome is illegal because it allows you to browse and download torrents. Or even that Facebook is a piracy haven because some members are exploiting its live feature to broadcast sports events.

It’s not the technology that makes it illegal. It’s what you, as a consumer, choose to watch and how.

Watching a major broadcaster live channel on its web page: LEGAL
Watching a subscription TV channel without paying for it: ILLEGAL