We are going to explain what IPTV is and what advantages and disadvantages it has compared to OTT streaming content services. This is a method used by some operators to allow you to access their online television package, with extra functions such as live rewinding of programs.
We will also mention the lists of IPTV channels or m3u lists, a whole underworld that has been created around this technology to be able to access some channels through specific applications. Of course, without the quality and functions offered by official services.
What is IPTV
Literally, IPTV means Internet Protocol TV, or Internet Protocol Television. Come on, IP Television, a way of transmitting television over the Internet with a different method than that used by conventional streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or HBO, among others. In Spain it is used by some operators such as Movistar to offer you their television channels.
In general, traditional television channels have always broadcast their broadcasts in a way that you can receive them with an antenna, satellite or cable. But these same channels, both digital terrestrial and satellite, also transmit their broadcasts in streaming live or on demand almost simultaneously, although with different protocols than those we are used to on the web.
What IPTV does is create a private and direct network between the operator that offers you the channels and the user, so that you can receive these channels without connecting to the Internet, just by having the router or decoder turned on. The channels are transmitted on demand, and the operator reserves part of your bandwidth for Abonnement IPTV. Thus, if you have contracted 100 megabytes, the IPTV may be assigned about 30 or 40 and the rest is left for your conventional Internet use.
Having a dedicated and specific bandwidth for reception is a method to try to guarantee the highest possible quality in the transmissions, as well as to allow you to receive more television channels. In addition, with this the operators ensure that to access their channel packages legally you have to contract the service.
The video of the channels is compressed using special software and sent to the IP address of the requesting client. Upon arrival, as a user you will need to have a special decoder to receive the signal, decompress and decode it to be able to see it clearly. Operator receivers often have more features, such as allowing programs to be recorded or stored locally.
Advantages and disadvantages compared to OTT services
When it comes to television channels, OTT or Over The Top services are what we know as streaming television, those that broadcast their signal openly over the Internet such as Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video or HBO. There are also cases in which an operator such as Movistar offers its IPTV service but also an OTT version such as Movistar+ Lite.
OTT services are not linked to any television or telephone operator. In addition, while OTTs broadcast their signal open-air and anyone can register and access their content, to access IPTV channels it will not be enough to register, and you will need a decoder to receive, decompress and decode the signal.
OTTs do not have a reserved bandwidth. This means that the quality of the reception may depend on the bandwidth you have free, and that if you are using your connection for a task that requires many megabytes, the quality of the streaming may suffer. This is not a problem for IPTV, since having the reserved width ensures that you have enough signal to offer the best image quality.
Another advantage of IPTV is in the decoders themselves, which offer you some extra features not available in OTT services. You can usually record several days of programming, or rewind a program when you are receiving it live because it is a personalized broadcast. You can also often easily purchase content like movies that are available before streaming services arrive.
As for the disadvantages, it is obvious that depending on an operator that gives you their receiver can be a very clear one. In addition, they are usually much more expensive services or included in packs, and having IPTV means that you will not be able to take advantage of all your Internet bandwidth, since a percentage is dedicated to receiving the channels.
Another major drawback is that abonnement IPTV is delivered directly to your home, while the other streaming services are accessible from anywhere through their official mobile apps.
What are IPTV channel lists
One of the reasons why IPTV is more popular is not because people seek to contract this type of television, but because there are ways to access many of these channels without needing an operator through the so-called “IPTV lists” or “m3u lists”.
These are lists in which the addresses with which you can access the IPTV channel broadcasts through remote IP addresses are stored. The format that they usually have to play is m3u, in addition to others such as m3u8 or w3u, and hence they are also known as “m3u Lists”. There are different programs, including Kodi or VLC, and more specific ones like Wiseplay.
With these lists you are not usually able to access the content that the operators send to their clients, but instead access free IPTV channels, other channels that do not broadcast over the Internet, or even paid lists that allow you to access different channels from your mobile and without a decoder. . However, they are not always a safe method to consume this type of television. First of all, because there will be times when these lists can be used as a lure to compromise your security, being hosted on pages with various types of malware waiting to be installed on your computer.