For most of the twentieth century, the only ways to watch television were through over-the-air broadcasts and cable signals. With broadcast TV, an antenna picks up radio waves to transmit pictures and sound to your television set. With cable TV, wires connect to a set-top box or to your TV itself. These wires run from your house to the nearest cable TV station, which acts as one big antenna. Aside from a few options like satellite TV, broadcast and cable were -- and still are -- the main ways to watch television. New technology can change the way we receive news and entertainment, though. Radio challenged newspapers in the early 1900s, and television challenged radio. Now, it looks as though traditional television has its own competitor, but it's not one that's easily separated from television. It even has television in its name -- it's what we're now calling Internet TV. An IPTV signal is a stream of data packets traveling across the Web.
| Internet TV is relatively new -- there are lots of different ways to get it, and quality, content and costs can vary greatly. Shows can be high-quality, professionally produced material, while others might remind you of Wayne and Garth broadcasting "Wayne's World" from their basement. Traditional TV networks are also easing into the technology and experimenting with different formats. Internet TV, in simple terms, is video and audio delivered over an Internet connection. It's also known as Internet protocol television, or IPTV. You can watch Internet TV on a computer screen, a television screen (through a set-top box) or a mobile device like a cell phone or an iPod. It's almost the same as getting television through an antenna or a series of cable wires -- the difference is that information is sent over the Internet as data. At the same time, you can find even more variety on Internet TV than cable TV. Along with many of the same shows you find on the big networks, many Web sites offer independently produced programs targeted toward people with specific interests Internet Protocol Television (known widely as IP TV), being the newest arrival on the block, threatens the other two mediums by promising to give a tough competition. IP TV is a mechanism of viewing the regular television channels over IP. Similar to Satellite TV and Cable TV, the signal is encrypted using vendor specific security mechanisms and can only be decrypted by a receiver (STB). The video is sent in the form of IP packets over the existing broadband infrastructure and is assembled at the viewers’ end with the help of a Set Top Box. This becomes advantageous as existing broadband distribution infrastructure can be used to deliver television signals enabling the user to enjoy television over the same broadband connection used for surfing the internet. This is beneficial for broadcasters as they can offer “Triple Play” service of voice, data and television over the same network using the same infrastructure. “Triple Play” service refers to three different services of VoIP, Internet and IP-TV bundled together and offered over the same network. With IP TV, one can be assured of better video quality and stereophonic sound much like in case of DTH & Digital Cable TV. Even the customer specific services of Video on Demand (VOD) become a reality. Also, this enables broadcasters to have two way communications with the viewers as opposed to in case of DTH and Cable TV. Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) is a system through which digital television service is delivered using the architecture and networking methods of the Internet Protocol Suite over a packet-switched network infrastructure, e.g., the Internet and broadband Internet access, instead of being delivered through traditional radio frequency broadcast and cable television (CATV) formats. It is important to note that historically there have been many different definitions of "IPTV" including elementary streams over IP networks, transport streams...
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