Over the last decade, the growth of satellite service, the rise of digital cable, and the birth of HDTV have all left their mark on the television landscape. Now, a new delivery method threatens to shake things up even more powerfully. Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) has arrived, and backed by the deep pockets of the telecommunications industry. It’s poised to offer more interactivity and bring a hefty dose of competition to the business of selling TV. IPTV describes a system capable of receiving and displaying a video stream encoded as a series of Internet Protocol packets. If you’ve ever watched a video clip on your computer, you’ve used an IPTV system in its broadest sense. When most people discuss IPTV, though, they’re talking about watching traditional channels on your television where people demand a smooth, high-resolution, lag-free picture, and it’s the telcos that are jumping headfirst into this market. Once known only as phone companies, the telcos now want to turn a “triple play” of voice, data, and video that will retire the side and put them securely in the batter’s box. In this primer, we’ll explain how IPTV works and what the future holds for the technology. Though IP can (and will) be used to deliver video over all sorts of networks, including cable systems which are the most aggressive players in the game. They’re pumping billions into new fiber rollouts and backend infrastructure.

IPTV services may be classified into three main groups:
•Live television: with or without interactivity related to the current TV show;
•Time-shifted television: catch-up TV (replays a TV show that was broadcast hours or days ago), start-over TV (replays the current TV show from its beginning);
•Video on demand (VOD): browse a catalog of videos, not related to TV programming.
IP-based services will help to enable efforts to provide consumers anytime-anywhere access to content over their televisions, PCs and cell phones, and to integrate services and content to tie them together. Within businesses and institutions, IPTV eliminates the need to run a parallel infrastructure to deliver live and stored video services.

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