There are primarily four different types of digital services that we can use/subscribe to for watching TV now: Cable, Satellite, OTT Streaming, and IPTV. Almost everyone is familiar with cable and satellite (dish) as they were and still are, the two main digital mediums that broadcast TV channels use. OTT streaming would be internet-based, multi-device subscriptions offered by companies such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc.
Now that leaves us with IPTV, which is neither of the two but has elements of both in it. Read on to know why you should be interested in IPTV and what it has to offer that none of the others can.
What is IPTV?
Delivering the best of both worlds, IPTV or Internet Protocol Television provides viewers with the option to watch live or recorded TV programs, sports, news, etc. via the service provider’s privately managed internet network. We have highlighted the main aspects of IPTV next, for a clear understanding of the concept.
- IPTV is a service for watching broadcast television and Video On Demand (VOD), which is delivered via the Internet, rather than through an aerial, cable, or dish antennae
- Unlike streaming services which use the open web, IPTV providers may or may not use private networks of their own
- Unlike traditional satellite or cable TV packages, the user is free to choose what to watch and when to watch it
Can We Watch Live TV Without Lag on IPTV Subscriptions?
The whole idea behind is to let the viewer watch TV channels both live and at their own leisure, so live sports, news, shows, etc. being aired are all instantly accessible in real-time. However, there are a few factors to consider as well.
- Since IPTV is internet-based, there might be a delay while streaming live programs, as compared to cable TV or satellite TV
- The delay is usually of just a few seconds or less if the internet connection is fast enough
- If you have a high-speed fibre optic plan from Virgin Media or Hyperoptic though, this delay might be non-existent
The bottom line is that there will be no lag, and in most cases, you may only experience a few seconds’ delay, as compared to satellite or cable TV. That delay, however, will not even be noticeable unless you have satellite/cable and IPTV running side-by-side. For those that do have the fastest connections, there will be no noticeable delay or lag at all.
How Many Channels Do We Get and How Affordable are the Plans?
As you will also need to pay for a high-speed internet plan, the cost of IPTV has to justify the service. This is where things can get a bit tricky because in order for IPTV to be a better deal than cable or satellite TV, it must offer more for less. Not all providers can get that cost-effectiveness bit in order, but just check out TellyTime’s IPTV subscription if you are looking for a true value-for-money IPTV subscription.
To provide some preface on the kind of cost-effectiveness that the best providers are offering here, consider the fact you should be able to get 3,500+ live TV channels for £9.99/month, coverage of channels not just in the UK and Ireland, but also hundreds of then from the US, Canada, Sweden, Poland, Turkey, Africa and various other sections of the globe. Some also offer VOD for shows and movies in FHD/4K HDR to enjoy! if value for money is what you are looking for, shop around.
Are IPTV Services Limited to TVs Only?
Technically, we are streaming content with an IPTV subscription, so the user can choose any smartphone, tablet, laptop, or TV to enjoy their IPTV channels and VOD programmes on. However, regular IPTV plans are usually meant for one device, be it a TV, a smartphone, or a laptop, so you may need to sign up for a combo deal, or pay a small add-on fee to stream on multiple devices.
Using IPTV: The Requirements
Using an IPTV network doesn’t require anything that most homes don’t have already (except perhaps the subscription), but here’s a complete list all the same.
- An IPTV subscription plan from your provider
- Any fairly recent, smart TV or smart device with Wi-Fi/ethernet/USB connectivity options
- If your set is not a smart TV, you will need an Amazon Fire Stick, but the TV will still need to have a USB port
- If the smart TV’s download store doesn’t have your IPTV provider’s application on it, you will need the Fire Stick
- A fast internet connection with high or unlimited bandwidth
- If you plan to watch TV on a tablet, PC, Mac or a smartphone only, all you will need is the fast internet connection
- Bear in mind you’ll need a TV licence to watch any live TV programmes
As should be obvious, these requirements are pretty much the same those as needed for accessing Netflix, Hulu, Prime, or any other popular OTT streaming services, so the chances are pretty high that you already have the setup you need to start watching unlimited broadcast television.
Radio Frequency Vs. the Internet: Why is IPTV Better?
Both radiofrequency, aka satellite or cable TV and internet TV, aka IPTV, has its advantages, but in terms of technology, radiofrequency has one major advantage which the internet cannot match; under normal circumstances, the feed is uninterrupted, lag-free and instantaneous.
Unfortunately for traditional radio frequency-based satellite/cable TV, that’s pretty much the only advantage that it has over IPTV, and with the commencement of Gigabit connections, net reliability and speed has increased drastically now, almost closing the gap to the point of non-existence.
Other than that, IPTV just has so many advantages over traditional TV that even some of the major broadcast channels are starting to make a shift to this format of television. To sum up the major advantages that have given IPTV a comfortable lead, we have listed the following.
- Broadcast TV costs more than IPTV subscriptions, significantly more!
- Most homes already have fast internet connections for work, entertainment, education, and streaming
- Your options are limited when you subscribe with a cable/satellite TV provider, as opposed to unrestricted, unlimited options on IPTV
- The list of available VOD entertainment in high definition and 4K add a whole new dimension to watching TV
- You can watch live TV channels (sports, news, events, etc.) on any smart device with a single IPTV subscription, unlike broadcast TV, which is limited to TV sets or PCs/Macs at best
As we can see, IPTV practically offers users more entertainment for significantly less money, and it’s just impossible to beat that kind of value. It is expected that down the line, IPTV is going to become the future of television, alongside the various OTT streaming services. In fact, as far as value-for-money is concerned, IPTV even beats streaming services like Netflix and Prime in that department. We need to subscribe separately to each of those services to watch their exclusive content, but in order to watch every channel that we could possibly ever need to watch, a single IPTV subscription is enough.
Besides, on adding the VOD features that allow an IPTV user to stream content not normally available on broadcast TV, IPTV just seems like a better deal than anything else available out there today.
Photo: Shutterstock / Edited by: Martina Advaney
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