If you’re not familiar with Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), it’s one of the most used technologies involving the delivery of broadcast TV and other interactive multimedia content over the internet. IPTV is a system where digital TV service is prepared and delivered over an IP-based data network. Instead of the television content being distributed and delivered through traditional cable and broadcast formats, it’s received by the user/viewer through a network infrastructure. The number of IPTV service providers entering the Canadian market has been increasing over the past few years.
The biggest difference with the distribution of television programs today is that viewers can select the information or content they want to watch since everything is not broadcasted as it happens with satellite and cable. Another important thing is that the system allows for interaction between the viewer and the service provider.
When you look at the TV industry in Canada, you’ll realize that traditional cable TV viewers are yet to intensify the awareness about switching to IPTV. However, it’s also clear that Personal Video Recorders (PVRs) and Video on Demand websites are gaining more popularity day by day. What could this mean? Well, viewers are no longer limited to those rigid television schedules on traditional TV. It, therefore, follows that we are having a shift from those broadly defined channels with rigid program schedules.
IPTV in Canada
The world today is changing at a very fast rate, and companies that can’t redefine or reinvent their services have a hard time surviving in the market. Several years ago, traditional telephone companies were faced with the decision of redefining themselves due to competition from cable companies. They had no option that starts offering both phone services as well as internet connectivity. Today, some of them have started reinventing to provide phone service, Internet connectivity and television service simultaneously. They only have to partner with broadcasters, and the deal will be sealed. Probably there is a time in the near future when telephone, Internet connectivity, and television will no longer be considered as separate entities.
The number of Canadian homes with broadband connections that have the capacity to handle high-quality video stream is too small. This is one of the inhibiting factors when it comes to delivering IPTV service. It’s not as easy as it may look. The existing broadband connections should be upgraded to fiber-optic to create enough capacity (about 10 to 100 Mbps) for streaming. That means IPTV service providers need to invest money and spend time improving the connectivity before they can deliver their service. That means homes will continue receiving TV service satellite and cable companies because of IPTV providers can’t deliver quality service without upgrading the broadband connectivity.
Sending packets via the Internet usually involves routing each packet through the network to a given destination. The process also involves managing the loss of the packets especially when they aren’t able to reach the destination. Some of the problems faced in VoIP telephones is packet loss and delays in packet arrival. First of all, these two problems are already an issue on VoIP, what happens when you add broadcast-quality video content? It means the effect will be even worse.
Although IPTV might seem to be taking off at a slower rate, the service is most likely going to be the future of TV broadcasting. Most viewers are yet to start using the service, but once they get the opportunity to experience how interactive and convenient it is, IPTV providers will be able to invest in higher bandwidth Internet connections. That’s what happened in the early 2000s when broadband Internet was introduced. As the number of people using the Internet increased, telco companies got more revenue for upgrading their networks.
What are the different types of IPTV?
As the name suggests, Live TV refers to when viewers watch live television programs that are being broadcasted across the Internet.
Video on Demand
Video on Demand refers to a service that provides TV programs per the demands of viewers or subscribers. You interactively request the content you want and watch it at your convenience.
Time-Shifted TV allows viewers to watch high-quality video content at any time anywhere on different platforms and devices. It usually involves recording content to a storage medium giving viewers the convenience of watching it anywhere at different times of the day.
Viewers need a personal computer with an ordinary web browser or a digital TV and a set-top-box in order to receive IPTV programming.
Personalized Interactive TV
Traditionally, the delivery of TV programming to viewers has been through one-way networks such as cable or satellite. However, with the prevalence of two-way Internet broadband access networks, companies can now add services such as voice (VoIP) and video thereby allowing viewers to have an interactive experience.
The conventional TV programming allows viewers to be somehow involved in the programs mostly by voting or sending in their opinions and views on given topics. Viewers should start expecting to be involved more in the TV programs they watch considering the fact that multimedia content and TV programs are increasingly being delivered online. We might not continue having a couple of people in the studio as a live audience. With millions of people watching programs online, television presenters will be talking to a huge audience that will be sending feedback immediately.
How is IPTV Changing the future of traditional advertisements?
When it comes to advertising, you can be sure everything is going to change. As a matter of fact, viewers using Video on Demand (VOD) services are now receiving interactive advertising. What’s happening is that viewers are just watching content in a typical web page. It’s upon them to choose whether to visit the website by clicking on the advertisement or just ignore. We’re simply experiencing a shift from the conventional way of advertising to highly targeted, behavioral advertising online. IPTV will, therefore, be an important tool for delivering highly targeted advertisements. Adverts will not just be delivered to anyone that’s available online. The generic adverts we see today on television channels won’t have a place on IPTV. Furthermore, viewers might as well select the advertisements they’d like to watch.
IPTV, according to industry experts is a viable programming platform that is changing the way people receive video content and revolutionizing content creation. The video content on IPTV is transforming the web experience and making it more robust for viewers. The presented content and information is put in compelling formats that greatly interests viewers. It’s clear that IPTV has a promising future. You may consider comparing IPTV plans in Canada to see what will work for you.