Internet television, which includes IPTV but also a number of other developing technologies, has risen in large part due to home network providers that can offer a bundle of digital services. By offering telephone, television and other services across standard Internet protocol language, a subscription service can offer much more consistent quality of service than if those services were delivered by separate means. A closer management of bandwidth used by a home network can ensure that phone, Internet and television services can all work without interruptions.
Internet Protocol Television differs from other forms of television, such as cable or satellite, simply by sending television data across an Internet connection. Instead of receiving TV data through a single cable and using a tuner to decode the data signal, an IPTV set displays a video stream sent across a dedicated online channel. Technically, an IPTV viewer has access to only a few channels at a time, in order to manage bandwidth, but a local provider office can process a change in channels by switching users to a different multicast channel containing their selected video stream. This local office is also usually tasked with managing subscriber authorizations and providing video-on-demand services.
This overview of IPTV technology published by the British Broadcasting Corporation describes a couple of models through which IPTV is commonly deployed to consumers. Each of these involves a set top box that transmits the video stream for display on a television set. In two of these embodiments, the set top box receives a channel video stream directly from a server; one system uses application code within the set top box to decode video data, while the other requires the set top box to interact with an application on the server in a cloud-like environment. The other two models outlined here utilize a set top box with a personal video recorder to store video data from a network.
Evolving Pictures Entertainment is diligently developing infrastructures capable of enhancing the future of IPTV.