From its release in the 1920’s, the television completely revolutionized the entertainment industry. Like all other technologies, the television has evolved progressively over the years with the aim of enhancing the viewing experience in terms of display and content. From free to air, cable, and satellite, to flat screens, LCD and 3D, television has continued to entertain consumers for nearly 100 years.
With the rise of mobile and internet technology in the 21st century, the television needed to change to meet consumer expectations and demands. The traditional means of delivering content such as satellites and cables have been replaced with a much cheaper and convenient alternative, the internet. Using the same cables that consumers access the internet, IPTV, or Internet Protocol Television, has revolutionized the television once more.
As the name suggests, IPTV derives its content from the internet by sending and receiving information in the form of ‘data packets’. Unlike the World Wide Web, IPTV uses separate ‘closed’ networks to send and receive data, which has many advantages in terms of speed and quality by avoiding the congested open networks of the internet. Rather than downloading content, IPTV allows users to stream content which is much faster and instant, meeting the demands of today’s generation. IPTV is deployed in subscriber-based networks where content is delivered to a user’s set-top box or other mobile device over the internet. IPTV can be classified into three distinct groups: Live television, Time-Shifted television (e.g. catch-up TV), and Video on Demand (VoD), which allows users to browse for items in a stored media catalogue.
There are a variety of benefits that users enjoy which make this system more popular than their traditional counterparts:
IPTV uses existing computer networks which is far cheaper than having to install hardware such as a satellite
Only the content that the user chooses to watch is delivered, which frees up bandwidth and makes the content fast and reliable
Users has a vast range of content that they can select, rather than having to watch designated content at a specific time like satellite and cable television
Users have the ability to watch video on demand (or pay per view) content which is similar to movie rentals except it is much cheaper
IPTV integrates an Electronic Program Guide (EPG) and a Personal Video Recorder (PVR) which allows users to pause, fast forward, rewind and record programs of their choice for future viewing
IPTV is compatible with all display devices, including computers and mobile devices, which significantly increases the convenience for the user
IPTV delivers content in high resolution, regardless of the display parameters
Users can watch content from anywhere with internet access
IPTV offers users the ability to customize their user interface and display preferences so they have a greater range of viewing options.
IPTV has become extremely popular in recent years due to the multitude of benefits it presents to users. To give you an indication of how popular IPTV has become, it was announced earlier in June that the total number of Netflix subscribers (a streaming service utilizing IPTV) has surpassed the total number of cable television subscribers in the United States.
The hotel and hospitality industries in particular enjoy many advantages that IPTV services have to offer. Hotels are able to provide their guests with high quality, reliable, and fast video content along with information and communication services directly from the hotels in-room TV. Guests are able to browse the internet, send messages to hotel staff, watch video on demand, and read about recommended attractions and restaurants. Hospitality IPTV systems such as Lifestylepanel seamlessly integrate with existing hardware and provide a premium services that guests can engage with to relax and unwind or to research the next day’s activities.