At the turn of the century, you’d need to head on down to your local video store if you wanted to rent or purchase all of your favorite movies and box sets. But, due to the wonderful creation that is online streaming, that has all but become a thing of the past.
Thanks to the shift in viewer behavior, subscription-based services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have most definitely reaped the rewards – with each of the aforementioned companies having enjoyed substantial growth in recent years. It really isn’t hard to see why given that they offer a quick, easy, and convenient way of watching all of your favorite movies and TV shows at the click of a button. What’s more, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your home!
Along with the monumental growth of on-demand services, there has also been a huge surge in the popularity of IPTV services. Studies undertaken by Grand View Research estimated that the market could be worth a staggering $117 billion by the year 2025.
But, just what makes IPTV so popular? How does IPTV work? Is IPTV legal? These are some of the most commonly asked questions across the web. In this article, you’ll find the answers to these questions and more.
What is IPTV?
If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re not aware of what IPTV is. If that’s you, then this section will cover the basics. IPTV stands for ‘Internet Protocol Television’. In total, there are three different types of IPTV you can choose from:
- VOD (Video On Demand) – services such as Netflix which allow you to select your choice of movie and watch it there and then.
- Time-Shifted IPTV – services such as ITV Hub and BBC iPlayer which allow you to catch up on programmes you have missed throughout the week.
- Live IPTV – streams which allow you to watch live TV as it is being broadcast.
One of the best things about IPTV is that it offers a convenient method for accessing your favorite TV shows and movies via a whole host of platforms. This includes Windows, MacOS, Android, and also devices such as Amazon Fire TV.
However, you’ll also find that IPTV services often work out to considerably less when compared to traditional satellite or cable TV packages. With that in mind, it is easy to see why they are so popular as viewer behavior continues to evolve.
The next section will provide further insight into exactly how IPTV works. So, continue reading to find out everything that you need to know.
How Does IPTV Work?
Particularly if you aren’t so technically minded, you might just be wondering to yourself – just how does IPTV work? If that’s you, you’ll be happy to know that the following section will delve deeper into exactly that.
IPTV works much like browsing the internet. Essentially, video content is transferred over a standard broadband internet connection. This means that you don’t need a satellite dish, rooftop antenna, or fiber-optic cable as you would with traditional programming.
On-demand and time-shifted IPTV services are often more reliable as the content is stored on a server, and you only have access to a limited amount of material. Although, it is always worthwhile having a decent internet connection to reduce the likelihood of any streaming issues.
However, when it comes to live IPTV streams, it is safe to say that users can often encounter problems. Particularly if many users are utilising the same stream at once, this can put a strain on the server the stream is being hosted on. Therefore, delays and buffering are issues which users often have to deal with.
Is IPTV Legal?
Is IPTV legal? – it’s one of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to online streaming. But, it all depends on the type of content that you are accessing. If you are making use of streams such as Hulu or Now TV, for example, these are official services and so you won’t need to worry about getting into trouble with the authorities.
However, when browsing online marketplaces such as eBay, the chances are that you will come across a wealth of IPTV services offering premium and HD packages for a discount price. But, it is safe to say that the vast majority of these services aren’t legal. This is because IPTV providers often set up servers which re-stream digital feeds which can then be passed on to
The age old saying “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” certainly comes into play here. After all, just think of how much you are saving when compared to purchasing a satellite or cable TV package – it’s likely to be a huge difference, right?
Do I need a VPN for IPTV?
There’s no “yes” or “no” answer to this question but IPTV and VPN are great companions. Why? Well, a couple of reasons:
- Some IPTV services have geographic restrictions in place to limit access to certain countries (due to copyright agreements). The most popular example of this is Netflix – the US library of Netflix the is largest one by far and so viewers around the world expect to be able to access it. Unfortunately, Netflix won’t let you, and that’s where VPN services come into the picture. A VPN will let you connect to a server in the US and appear to be a US-based user, thus becoming eligible to access Netflix US. That’s just one example, but geographic restrictions are rampant in the IPTV sphere.
- The second reason has to do with legality: some IPTV services give users access to pirated content. An example would be the unofficial add-ons of Kodi, but there are plenty more. In this case, a VPN is useful because it will hide your identity from your ISP and thus let you avoid fines or even jail time.
So if either of these reasons applies to you, the answer to “do I need a VPN for IPTV?” is a resounding yes. Otherwise, you’re probably fine without it.
The sheer convenience of IPTV services is truly undeniable, and it’s one of the main reasons why they have grown in popularity over the last decade or so. Combined with the fact that you can save yourself a lot of money when compared to satellite or cable TV packages, it’s easy to see why IPTV services are on the rise.
However, it is worth taking into account that you need to take care when using certain IPTV services. This is because they provide access to copyrighted material you’d usually have to pay a premium to access.