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Emerging Technology » IPTV



Full Name

Internet Protocol Television


Internet Protocol television (IPTV) is a system through which television services are delivered using the Internet protocol suite over a packet-switched network such as the Internet, instead of being delivered through traditional terrestrial, satellite signal, and cable television formats.
The official definition approved by the International Telecommunication Union focus group on IPTV (ITU-T FG IPTV) is as follows:
"IPTV is defined as multimedia services such as television/video/audio/text/graphics/data delivered over IP based networks managed to provide the required level of quality of service and experience, security, interactivity and reliability."
IPTv refers to a TV connection that has capacity to transmit all broadcast channels, Video on Demand, Customer Live Request etc. through existing telephone line in the form of IP packets to and from the customer TV to content server.


The term IPTV first appeared in 1995 with the founding of Precept Software by Judith Estrin and Bill Carrico. Precept developed an Internet video product named IP/TV. IP/TV was a multicast backbone (MBONE) compatible Windows and Unix-based application that transmitted single and multi-source audio and video traffic, ranging from low to DVD quality, using both unicast and IP multicast Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) and Real time control protocol (RTCP). The software was written primarily by Steve Casner, Karl Auerbach, and Cha Chee Kuan. Precept was acquired by Cisco Systems in 1998. Cisco retains the IP/TV trademark. Internet radio company AudioNet started the first continuous live webcasts with content from WFAA-TV in January 1998 and KCTU-LP on January 10, 1998. Kingston Communications, a regional telecommunications operator in the UK, launched KIT (Kingston Interactive Television), an IPTV over digital subscriber line (DSL) broadband interactive TV service in September 1999 after conducting various TV and video on demand (VoD) trials. The operator added additional VoD service in October 2001 with Yes TV, a VoD content provider. Kingston was one of the first companies in the world to introduce IPTV and IP VoD over ADSL. In 2006, the KIT service was discontinued, subscribers having declined from a peak of 10,000 to 4,000. In 1999, NBTel (now known as Bell Aliant) was the first to commercially deploy Internet protocol television over DSL in Canada using the Alcatel 7350 DSLAM and middleware created by iMagic TV (owned by NBTel's parent company Bruncor). The service was marketed under the brand VibeVision in New Brunswick, and later expanded into Nova Scotia in early 2000 after the formation of Aliant. iMagic TV was later sold to Alcatel. In 2002, Sasktel was the second in Canada to commercially deploy Internet Protocol (IP) video over DSL, using the Lucent Stinger DSL platform. In 2006, it was the first North American company to offer high-definition television (HDTV) channels over an IPTV service. In 2003, Total Access Networks Inc launched an IPTV service, consisting of 100 free IPTV stations worldwide. The service has been used in over 100 countries worldwide, and has channels in 26 languages. In 2005, Bredbandsbolaget launched its IPTV service as the first service provider in Sweden. As of January 2009, they are not the biggest supplier any longer; TeliaSonera, who launched their service later now has more customers. In 2006, AT&T Inc. launched its U-Verse IPTV service in the United States, comprising a national head end and regional video-serving offices. AT&T offered over 300 channels in 11 cities with more to be added in 2007 and beyond. In March 2009, AT&T announced that U-verse had expanded to 100 or more high-definition channels in every U-Verse TV market. While using Internet protocols, AT&T built a private IP network exclusively for video transport. The Bell Video Store was a premium Internet video-on-demand service offered by Bell Sympatico in Canada. It began service in May 2007, under a cloud of controversy as Bell Sympatico had just begun throttling internet speeds for its customers. The Bell Video Store ceased operations in July 2009. In 2007 TPG became the first internet service provider in Australia to launch IPTV. Complementary to its ADSL2+ package this was, and still is, free of charge and now offers over 45 local free to air channels and international channels. By 2010, iiNet and Telstra launched IPTV services in conjunction to internet plans but with extra fees. In 2010, CenturyLink – after acquiring Embarq (2009) and Qwest (2010) – entered five U.S. markets with an IPTV service called Prism.This was after successful test marketing in Florida.


Data Rates

Broadband connection is required for IPTV
Bandwidth Requirements:
IPTV- Normal broadcast-grade quality : 512 kbps to 2Mbps
IPTV-HDTV(MPEG2 coding) : 20 to 24 Mbps
IPTV-HDTV(H-264 or WM-9): 20 to 24 Mbps

Services Offered

Two-way capability lacked by traditional TV distribution technologies.
Point-to-point distribution allowing each viewer to view individual broadcasts.
Stream control (pause, wind/rewind, etc.) and a free selection of programming, similar to the Web.
Live TV (multicasting)
VoD-Video on Demand
Playback / Rewind live TV channels at any time.
Parental Lock facility on any channel.


IPTv can be viewed within effective broadband ceverage area.


IPTV signal travels over the DSL line.
Frequency allocation of DSL circuit are as follow::
Existing Telephone service (voice):0-4KHz
Upstream :26KHz to 138KHz
Downstream:138KHz to 1.1MHz


Point-to-point distribution allowing each viewer to view individual broadcasts
If the service provider has built in the functionality, the viewer can view content by actor name or subject title. And also look up a player’s batting average and even who is on steroids.
In the IPTV system, levels of viewership and usage are detailed and allow the service provider to report statistics of channels, programs and advertisements.
In IPTV, compared to traditional cable TV networks, many channels can be beamed.


Investment for a telecom operator to build an end-to-end IPTV service can be substantial.
IPTV is sensitive to packet loss and delays if the streamed data is unreliable.
IPTV has strict minimum speed requirements in order to facilitate the right number of frames per second to deliver moving pictures.
The last mile delivery for IPTV usually has a bandwidth restriction that only allows a small number of TV channels – typically from one to three – to be delivered.

Present/Future in SAMENA

The West has traditionally been the leaders in technological advances over the years. Current market growth figures and the like are now showing that the East is growing and achieving massive leaps forward in technology. This is true especially for SAMENA region as its citizens are embracing new ventures and online advances quicker than just about anywhere else on the planet. According to iSuppli a research firma “Asia Has Biggest Appetite for IPTV in the years to come”.

PTCL already has started IPTV services to the first phase group of 20,000 subscribers. This new deal is considered to be just the first of many IPTV advances that will be generated.

Operators in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Egypt are planning to launch IPTV during this year.

Ericsson will enable the residential and enterprise customers in KAEC KSA (King Abdullah Economic City) to receive IPTV, personalized movies, IP telephony, high-definition video-on-demand, interactive games and other advanced multimedia services for TV, PC and telephones.

Worldwide Customers

83 Million

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