What is IPTV? How does IPTV Work? (Explained)

Online streaming has become more popular among people because of the availability of multiple entertainment channels and media content. One can easily select a channel or program and stream them on-the-go. Undoubtedly, there are a wide variety of online streaming services available. However, we found streaming over IPTV to be more convenient and cost-efficient. IPTV is the best cord-cutter to replace traditional cable and satellite TV broadcasting. The best IPTV services will let you stream your favorite content regardless of the place. Instead of transmitting contents through optic cable and radio waves, IPTV broadcasts over standard internet. Whether you are at home or traveling, you can enjoy streaming. Check out this section for more details about IPTV, how does it work, and more.

What is IPTV?

What is IPTV? The default question that arises in everyone’s mind. IPTV (the full form is Internet Protocol Television) delivers media contents online. Internet Protocol Television Streaming is available for both live and on-demand videos. Apart from these, users are allowed to record live streams. With this, you can watch the video at any time later offline as time-shifted content. It includes catch-up TV, start-over TV, and VOD.

What is IPTV

With IPTV, you can stream media files continuously. With this, the client media player will play the TV channel without any further delay. There are various IPTV providers available, some may offer free streaming, and some require registration along with the subscription. You can request content rather than watching what is currently playing.

How IPTV Works?

As mentioned, any IPTV requires an active internet or Wi-Fi connection. It uses the Internet Protocol (IP) and delivers the TV channel to the set-top box of the user. When you click on any stream, videos from multiple sources (servers) are split into data packets and sent via the internet. So, the videos requested and received by the user uses IP. i.e., the video server transmits the program using a fiber-optic cable to the TV via the internet.

Finally, the video file that the user has requested will be compressed and optimized before the user receives it. With IPTV, you will experience a secure and reliable streaming experience.

Is IPTV Legal?

In general, all IPTV services are legal to use worldwide. It applies as long as the service provider has incorporated with licensed channels and contents to access. But in the case of third-party apps, websites and plug-ins, they are not promising and depend on the source.

What is IPTV

It is really hard to find if the IPTV is legal and the associated IPTV provider has obtained the licenses. However, you can find if it is legitimate with the following tricks.

  • Check for a dedicated streaming app.
  • Most legit IPTV players link to their partners.
  • There will be fewer ads, and you will have the subscription option.
  • Those legal providers sell other services besides IPTV like the internet.

There are lots of chances for an IPTV to be illegal. You could identify them with the below tips.

  • Illegitimate IPTV hosts offshore and supports channels that aren’t licensed in your region.
  • They will not explicitly mention their partners.
  • Such services will be free or available for less price.
  • They prompt you to make payments using unreliable payment methods.
  • You will be recommended to use a VPN for optimal streaming.

Know more Is IPTV Legal?

Importance of Avoiding Illegit IPTV Services

Many reasons exist that make streaming channels or videos via any illegal IPTV provider unsafe. Although the content provider faces most of the legal issues, there are chances for the user to face legal problems.

The illegal IPTV service and its content may disappear at any time when the original content-provider files a legal suit. You will be scammed in most cases with the illegal IPTV. Your device will get infected with viruses and malware.

As a result, your private data may get stolen. It will bring you video buffering or loading issues, and thus you cannot expect smooth playback. As a result of using illegal IPTV, your ISP might downgrade the internet service or disable it entirely.

Need for Set-Top Box

Hence a Set-Top Box is required to translate the internet broadcasting and convert them to a convenient format supported by your home device. It is because traditional TVs are not designed with the ability to support IPTV directly from the internet.

IPTV Supported Devices

Internet Protocol Television services are accessible on different devices that support the M3U formula and streaming portal VLC Player, Smart TV, and many more. Some providers offer IPTV boxes that can be connected to a monitor or TV.

Smart TVs are built-in with IP supports that can be connected to the internet or Wi-Fi connection. Other than Smart TV, IPTV can be accessed on a laptop or PC, Smartphone (Android & iOS), streaming devices (Firestick, Roku, Chromecast, Android TV, etc.), and Gaming Consoles like Xbox, PlayStation.

IPTV Set-Top Box

Related: Best IPTV Players for Android

Types of IPTV Services

IPTV delivers its streaming contents and channels in three formats, namely Live TV, Video on Demand, and Time Shifted Media. We shall take a look at them in brief.

Live TV

Most of the IPTV services offer live broadcasting from various international and local networks. It lets you watch your favourite TV programs, sports events, and many more online from anywhere. Some IPTV compatible networks are FOX Sports Go, CBS Sports, Sling TV, Hulu Plus Live TV, etc.

Live TV

Video On-Demand

Video On Demand is one of the effective and useful features. It allows you to choose movies, TV shows, and other videos from the library. You can watch them any number of times whenever you want. On-demand contents are accessible only over the internet.

Time-Shifted Media

Time-shifted media, otherwise called Digital video recording. Live broadcasting actions are captured and released digitally by the network. Various action replays, memorizing moments, and many more are officially recorded by the streaming network and uploaded on its digital platform after a few days of original airing.

Hybrid IPTV

The TV providers in recent times prefer the hybrid IPTV approach. The advantage of using it is it resolves the issues which otherwise occur on fully IP-enabled broadcasts. Hybrid IPTV is a mix of traditional TV services with the IP. It delivers content to multiple users from one single box. With this, the IPTV service can add new products and services without making any complications on the set-top box.

Do I Need VPN to Access IPTV?

IPTV is entirely legal to use, and its channels and contents are legal to watch. Some of the services are accessible only in a particular region or country. If you are residing outside the range, you need to use a VPN to access those streams outside the boundaries. Moreover, using a VPN will enhance your security by hiding your real IP address and locations. So it becomes difficult for hackers to track your online activity. VPN is necessary while accessing public WiFi networks.

Advantages of using IPTV

There are lots of benefits you will get with the IPTV. They are,

  • It features an interactive TV guide, and you will find the programs for the day with timings.
  • The bi-directional nature of IPTV enables personalization, and you can choose what and when to stream.
  • With automatic switching, mark shows, movies, series, etc., in the TV guide and schedule the channel to switch it automatically.
  • It provides an option to record any content and stream it at your convenient timings.
  • You can set parental control as a code on channels or content to restrict children from streaming them.
  • IPTV supports streaming certain channels in HD with better and sharper pictures or colors.
  • The service is not limited to TV as it works on multiple other devices like phones, PC, tablets, etc.
  • Use the time-shifting feature to shift the program to your preferred time and stream them.


Few disadvantages of using IPTV are as follows.

  • IPTV uses IP to send and receive info, and this may bring you loss or delay when the connection is not fast.
  • Many IPTVs have a suspicious origin, and the illegal sources cannot be tracked easily.
  • At times, you require a decoder to receive, decompose, and decode the signal.

The Future of IPTV

Predicting the future of IPTV isn’t possible at the moment. It is because there are lots of providers, formats, and pirated content that needs to be tracked. Without any doubt, IPTV services will find a large userbase and popularity over time. According to a report, there is a high chance for the subscription-based IPTV to gain users in the next decade.

To Conclude

IPTV services are affordable and constant streaming services equipped with multiple numbers of channels and video content to watch. One of the notable features is that they are accessible even on low internet bandwidth.

For any clarifications regarding this article, kindly mention it in the comments section below.

Disclosure: We refer product or service to our readers via an affiliate link, which means I may receive a referral commission from the sale if you buy the product that we recommended, read more about that in our affiliate disclosure.

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