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AlphaCS offer you IPTV

What is IPTV ?

Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) is digital service delivered to your television through a high speed internet (broadband) connection. In this service, channels are encoded in IP format and delivered to your TV through a set top box or smart device. IPTV service also includes video on demand without needing a VCD/DVD player. You don’t need satellite cables or dishes – just a high speed internet connection – to watch from anywhere.

How does IPTV work?

It may sound obvious, but in order to get internet TV you will need a broadband internet connection and a router. IPTV is simply video sent over the internet for a PC or other device to receive.

At its very least most set-top boxes and TVs that contain IPTV services will allow access to YouTube, which means you can browse videos with just your remote control! No more mouse or keyboard needed, you can navigate video pages like you would a DVD menu. Apart from YouTube on your TV, others service may include catch-up programming or video-on-demand.

Internet TV by its very nature is proprietary, and is designed to protect the content from piracy. We would argue that most of the pressure for IPTV comes from the free-to-air broadcasters who are keen to stave off the rise of illegal downloads from overseas shows.

While most video services like YouTube enable other sites to “embed” videos on their pages, the video still remains YouTube property. But with living room-based services the controls are much tighter.

While you may be able to get YouTube on your set-top box it’s as a result of a lot of hard work in the background to get it there. Unfortunately, each TV or PVR needs to set-up differently, and this extra work is a major stumbling block for the widespread adoption of IPTV.

In contrast, this is why Google TV as used by Sony holds so much promise: not only is it a single platform, which is great for programmers, but it also enables consumers to use Android apps on their TV!

NB: most IPTV content uses up data allowance from your ISP. Some ISP’s have agreements with IPTV providers to ensure that content is not counted against your data limit. For example, BigPond customers can use BigPond Movies for “free”, while conversely Internode customers can use ABC’s iView data-free. Be aware that some set-top boxes, such as the PS3, may use their own servers and “free” content may actually count against your data allowance. Check with your ISP.

What equipment do I need?

Apart from the traditional method of buying a PC, there are two different ways to watch IPTV services through your television: with the addition of a separate set-top box, or buy a TV with internet services on-board.

iptv tivo caspa

The TiVo Media Device features the CASPA IPTV service (Credit: Hybrid Television)

Most new Blu-ray players and PVRs have some form of IPTV service on-board and will connect to your network via Ethernet (most common) or wireless (either on-board or via a USB dongle). Some media streaming devices, such as the Apple TV, also allow IPTV capability, but as these tend to cater toward enthusiasts the number of services available is smaller.

Simply connect your device to the internet as you would a notebook and on-board services such as catch-up TV and video-on-demand come to life! You’ll be able to download the latest movies and TV shows, and you don’t need to be an internet engineer to do it! Applicable set-top boxes include FetchTV 2,TiVo and PlayStation 3.

Televisions can also be used to access IPTV services and will carry the following labels:

  • LG: NetCast
  • Panasonic: VieraCast
  • Sony: Bravia Internet Video
  • Samsung: Internet@TV

While most internet-connected TVs are upgradeable and are able to enjoy new features for free, if you’re solely interested in future-proofing a stand-alone set-top box is probably the most sensible option.

IPTV services are still relatively new, and as we’ve already discussed there are no clear standards. If you spend three grand or more on a TV, there’s no way to tell if it will keep up with any features that may be introduced in the next few years. Buying a set-top box is much cheaper, and having to buy a new one down the track is a lot less painful.

Of course, the upside of buying a new TV is … you have a new TV! As with any purchase, waiting till “next year” is never a good idea, if you need a new TV do your research and get one. Hoping for something better around the corner is fruitless as there is always something better coming. It’s much better to buy something you like now and get good use out of it.

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1000 Channels and 3000 VOD.

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