In the UK there are four ways to access digital TV - terrestrial, satellite, cable and IPTV. As the name suggests, IPTV is television broadcast over Internet Protocols, which essentially means 'television services provided through internet and broadband connections instead of radio frequency'.
IPTV is reputed to be the most efficient way to provide digital TV to the public, but isn't to be confused with watching television shows on your computer using an on-demand service (like 4oD), or watching video on your computer on a site such as YouTube.
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With IPTV, you can get around 80 channels transmitted to your home TV over your home phone line using IPTV set-top box. IPTV is often bundled in with packages offering broadband, video on demand (VOD) and voice over IP (VoIP). Together the bundles are often referred to as “Triple Play”.
Who is offering IPTV?
All UK IPTV providers offer some very attractive deals when bundled with other services. BT's service is called Vision, features some fantastic premium programming and is available with home telephone and internet bundles, and Virgin Media's equivalent (powered by Tivo) can be combined with some excellent fibre optic broadband packages.
TalkTalk offer an IPTV service called YouView. The same YouView service is also available with BT, alongside its Vision offering.
Interested in BT YouView or BT Vision? Compare BT TV Deals now.
Prefer Virgin Media? Compare Virgin Media IPTV deals now.
Considerations when buying IPTV
- Package price
- Cost of installation
- Other perks of the broadband bundle
- Cost of set-top box
- Speed of connection
In order to use IPTV, you need to have a connection with an IPTV provider who will supply you with a set-top box. Most premium packages from BT and Virgin Media provide the box and installation free.
Providers also offer a “catch up TV” feature, like Virgin’s NPVR (network-based Personal Video Recorder) service, which allows users to pause, fast forward and rewind programs.
Although the jury is out on whether IPTV will be the standard in the future, there is no denying that analog is dead.
If you are used to only watching broadcast television shows, IPTV will open a number of new doors for you allowing you greater freedom and variety to watch what you want, when you want to. More importantly, it moves internet and TV services into one connection, so you can enjoy both from your lounge instead of your computer room.
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