A Simple Explanation of What Is IPTV and How It Works

Intro to what is IPTV and how it works

Since the internet was created many changes have arrived. From how we interact with people to the content we consume; its working has largely been present.

That has been the case about traditional television formats (e.g., satellite or cable) as well. IPTV emerged as a new option aiming to replace them. By now, the word “IPTV” is quite common, and we see more and more offers/providers out there.

As the world keeps evolving, it is worth paying attention to the most interesting changes. Among them we have IPTV, thus, in this article, we will tell you all you need to know about it.

Let us start.

What Is IPTV (Internet Protocol Television)?

In its most simple form, it is a replacement for traditional television using the internet as the format. Instead of using a satellite or cable connection, it uses the internet to transmit data from the “owner” to the consumer.

If you know what the term “streaming” means, you know it all. In short, reproducing content via constant transmission of data online.

We have one example to illustrate this. Instead of turning on your TV using traditional formats, you watch a show via a browser/program on a laptop.

What’s IPTV Box and Do You Need One?

A “box” is essentially what allows you to watch IPTV on televisions that either cannot connect to the internet or read data from this format.

What it does is transform the signals from IPTV (internet) to a format compatible with traditional TVs. Think of it as your average cable box but replace “cable” with “internet”.

Do you need one?

Well, if you want to use IPTV and your TV is not compatible, it is an option. But not the only one in most cases.

You see, the “box” mimics what you could be doing with your laptop and a cable to connect it to the TV. Of course, having a box with a remote and a nice interactive interface is more comfortable, but is not needed per se.

The only reason that may turn it into a necessity is if you want to use a particular provider that only offers its services via a box. Otherwise, it is not necessary, though highly convenient, we must say.

Also, they can be an interesting alternative to buying a brand-new smart tv, gaining them extra appeal.

How Does IPTV Work?

Without getting too technical here, let me explain the basics. If you’re familiar with how any type of content is distributed/watched online, understanding IPTV is a piece of cake.

IF not, here’s the explanation. When discussing how IPTV works, we are talking of the good old requesting and sending of data. Here, a point of collection (a server) is needed.

The process is as straightforward as it gets. Data from the media outlet reaches the server (already transformed to “internet format”). That server sends the data that you request (e.g., via a click) to your device (say box or computer) via your internet router. That’s it.

Lastly, there are two types of architecture worth knowing about. Especially if you are interested in purchasing one of these services.

The centralized model, which has a main building with all the servers and a central CDN (content distribution network). And the distributed type, which has large servers and several CDNS in several areas. It is aimed to deliver at scale (probably internationally).

If you happen to be interested in IPTV providers and want the best result, we recommend this. Ask about the type of infrastructure it has and how it reflects on performance and quality from your side.

Types Of IPTV Services

As with traditional television, you got plenty of services out there.

Live TV: content aired and distributed in real-time. Say a concert, sport, cultural shows, etc.

TV on demand: Access to shows or movies individually by paying for each. You could either buy or rent them.

Video on Demand (VOD). Think of Netflix. A large library available to you whenever you want, accessible via a subscriber-based model.

Near Video on Demand: Resembles PPV (pay per view). You pay to access a given show/movie with a timeslot reserved on air. It is like buying a ticket to the cinema. Instead of going to room X from 2-4 pm, you go to “channel” X.

Time-shifted TV: it allows you to record shows/movies and watch them later (for a limited time only)

Given that many IPTV providers offer such great deals, the question of whether IPTV is too good to be true (legally speaking) is often asked.

To be completely clear, we have to make a distinction here. IPTV is a protocol/format, by itself, it is no more illegal than any cable box in the market. To determine whether it is illegal, we have to look at each service/provider individually.

For it to be illegal, the provider must break copyright/distribution laws. Normally, illegal providers somehow access the content without the required licenses. And later reproduce it online, often charging for it.

That is illegal and the legal responsibility falls into you as a consumer as well. Law enforcement entities usually target providers rather than users. But consumers are also breaking the law, they could be persecuted/fined.

For that reason, we encourage you to carefully assess each IPTV provider. There are great well-known legal offers out there, try to focus on those to avoid any issues.

IPTV Smarters

IPTV Smarters Player is an application/portal that allows providers to deliver content through it. In a nutshell, it serves as an intermediary between them and the end-users (you).

Basically, think of it as a platform where you see content from several providers in one place. Like YouTube but where each “channel’ is an IPTV provider, and the offer is not based on videos but on all the various services that we mentioned before.

IPTV Smarters is an interesting useful portal also because it is an app with large compatibility. Android, Android TV, iPhone, Apple TV, LG and Samsung TV, Windows 8-Onwards, and all Mac Os are supported.

Future of IPTV

Anyone that has been paying enough attention will say that IPTV will only continue growing. We’ve been shown over and over again that the expansion of the internet is rampant. Often it seems unstoppable.

With that, by extension, the presence, prevalence, and importance of IPTV receive a huge boost.

And rightly so, if you think about it, its use is only the natural transition from traditional TV to the internet.

A transition with significant improvements to the customer. Like higher accessibility, ease of use, comfort, choice, etc.


People can have their opinions about the impact of the advent of the internet on our society as a whole. However, it is inarguable that IPTV has arrived only to improve things.

Long gone are the days were only a handful of selected cable/satellite enterprises monopolized the market. Nowadays, the offer has never been this great, and it is only expanding and improving as we speak.

If we are asked to come up with a top 3 list of the most interesting and promising developments that came with the internet, we will definitely put IPTV in it. Keep a close eye on it.

Thanks for reading this article, we expect it was informative and concise.

Diego Castrillon Levoyer

International university student, Online Marketing enthusiast, and Content-Creation fan. Current affairs passionate follower, cosmopolitan par excellence, a natural learner, and cool-headed person. An avid research writer partnered with Duomly’s crew.

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