What is IPTV?

Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) is a way of watching digital TV using the internet instead of conventional terrestrial, satellite or cable formats. Find out how IPTV works and how it can help you get greater access to your favourite shows.

Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) is a way of watching digital TV using the internet instead of conventional terrestrial, satellite or cable formats. Find out how IPTV works and how it can help you get greater access to your favourite shows.

Holly Niblett
From the Digital team
3
minute read
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Posted 14 JANUARY 2021

How does IPTV work?

IPTV provides TV broadcast services through your internet connection, instead of via fibre-optic cable or radio waves. Unlike cable or satellite where content is broadcast in real-time and then forgotten, IPTV stores content on servers after transmitting, so you can access them at any time.

What are the benefits of IPTV?

IPTV has several plusses:

  • Availability: IPTV is one of the most convenient ways to watch TV. You can personalise your TV schedule and watch shows when it suits you, rather than just when they’re being broadcast.
  • Accessibility: An IPTV package will also let you access content via your smartphone, tablet or laptop – so you can watch your favourite shows on the go.
  • Pause and record: Most providers offer a catch-up TV feature, so you can pause, fast forward and rewind programmes mid-viewing. Also, some IPTV boxes will let you record and store programmes to watch later.

What types of IPTV are there?

  • Video on demand: Most of us are familiar with VOD – think Netflix and Amazon Prime.
  • Catch-up or ‘time shifted’ IPTV: This is pretty much the same as video on demand, except programmes are only available for a limited time – like on the BBC iPlayer, for example.

How do I get IPTV?

To access IPTV, you’ll need to sign up to a service. If you’re watching on your computer, tablet or mobile, you can then simply stream the programmes you want.

If you want to watch IPTV on your TV set, you may need a set-top box. Alternatively, you can just plug your computer into your TV and watch on the bigger screen.

Most premium IPTV packages from BT, TalkTalk, Sky and Virgin Media won’t charge an installation fee.

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