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IPTV terms

General terms

IPTV (Internet Protocol Televesion) is television by IP-protocol. The technology of digital television streaming in data networks based on IP-protocol.
It is important to understand that IPTV is a general term that includes all types of streaming in IP networks. Often IPTV is understood only as broadcast in local networks using multicast (IGMP), but this is only one of the implementation options. Broadcasting unicast content to mobile devices, via the Internet, from a corporate web site - all these are also subsets of IPTV. But downloading a clip from a remote store for watching later on your computer is not IPTV.

OTT (Over the Top) is a method of providing IPTV services over networks of third-party operators.
No, OTT is not an Internet TV technology. Moreover, this is not technology at all. OTT is a model of rendering a television service, implying that services are provided in networks of third-party operators. Often in the definitions you can hear "unmanaged networks", but this is not entirely correct. Any network is manageable, the only question is who controls them and in this case the networks are managed not by the TV provider. Even often people can put an equal sign between OTT and broadcasting on the Internet, but you can only agree with certain providers and provide services only in specific networks. Also some people equate OTT to unicast broadcasting, but now even in local networks it is necessary to organize unicast-broadcasts, since many subscriber devices (mobile phones, for example) do not support multicast.

Client's devices and applications

STB (Set Top Box) is a set-top box, a device for receiving a TV signal and outputting to any display medium (screen, TV, etc.).
Under this concept, any set-top box is suitable, because STB includes satellite and cable receivers, as well as game consoles. If it is necessary to specify that the set-top box is intended for IPTV, it is better to specify the IP STB. IP STB necessarily includes a network interface for connecting to an IP network, an audio-video decoder and a TV-out. And in addition it can include a hardware or software descrambler, a host for connecting external devices (for example, a USB drive) etc.

WEB-service is providing access to IP-TV (and not only) through browsers installed on any equipment of the subscriber.

Mobile-service is providing access to content on mobile devices (phones, tablets).
Regarding IPTV, it usually refers to special applications for Android and iOS operating systems that allow you to use the services of a TV provider. The device itself can be located in a mobile network, and can be connected via WiFi or other available types of communication.

SmartTV/ConnectedTV is a technology that provides integration of interactive online services with TVs and TV receivers.
Such "smart" TVs use specially developed operating systems that determine its capabilities: the nature of the applications available for installation, the speed of the system, the interface, etc. In brief, Smart TV is a symbiosis of a conventional TV (or receiver) and a computer with a specialized operating system.

Multiscreen is a combination of two or more content delivery platforms (STB, WEB, Mobile, Smart TV) within the same service (provider). Also, multiscreen is often called the service of a TV operator, which allows the subscriber to use the provider's services on several authorized devices.


VoD (Video on Demand) is the service of individual delivery of content at the request of the subscriber.
Under the content in this case it is necessary to understand not only video (movies, TV shows), but in principle any digital content. In modern IPTV platforms the delivery of music (Music on Demand), electronic books is possible at the request of the subscriber. The delivery technology can be very diverse - from individual streaming to preloading, including the option without user’s request (so-called push-VoD).

NVoD (Near Video on Demand) is a service of providing a subscriber with access to content through multicast.
Often this service is called a "virtual cinema" or "carousel video", because the subscriber independently chooses and orders the content that he wants to receive, but can’t put the play on pause or rewind. But the subscriber has the ability to switch to another stream (for 10-20 minutes forward / backward), since this service allows you to broadcast content in several mailings with a time offset.

Catch-up TV is a service that gives subscribers access to specific programs that have already been broadcasted, but have been recorded by the provider.
Providers store such records usually from three days to two weeks, so subscribers can watch TV programs in their spare time.

PVR/nPVR ("personal video recorder") is a service that allows a subscriber to record a TV program on a local device (PVR) or on a remote server provided by the provider (nPVR).
The functionality of this service closely resembles Catch-up TV. The only difference is in the initiator of the program recording. In general, the Catch-up TV service is more convenient for the subscriber, since it allows not to worry about ordering the TV program in advance, so it gradually replaces the PVR / nPVR from the operators.

EPG/IPG (Electronic Program Gguide/InteractivePprogram Guides) is the service of providing the subscriber with access to the listing of TV programs (including the time of the show, name, description of the program and other data) through a special menu.
In modern systems, the menu of the TV program is supplemented with interactive functions. For example, a subscriber can set a reminder about the beginning of the program, set up a program record or access to previously recorded content, etc.


TVoD (Transactional Video on Demand) – "providing video on a one-time request" is a method of distribution, in which the user pays for each individual content. This method of monetization has two varieties:

SVoD (Subscription Video-on-Demand, Subscription) is a method of monetization, which implies charging fees from subscribers for providing access to a specific content catalog for a certain time.
The term SVoD is commonly used for "video-on-demand" directories, and Subscription - for packets of TV channels, although in essence it is the same.

AVoD (AdVoD, Advertising Video on Demand) – is a method of gaining profit, based on advertising displays.
Advertising can be shown before, during or after watching of the main content, which is usually provided to the subscriber for free. Although it is possible to combine: for example, a discount for watching a commercial or clicking on a link.

Null box, a la carte ("Subscription to a certain channel") is a service delivery model, meaning that the subscriber is given access to one channel.
The subscriber has the opportunity to select and pay only those TV channels that are of interest to him, instead of purchasing a package of programs compiled by the operator.


CAS/DRM (Conditional Access System/Digital Rights Management) – is software and hardware that restrict access to content and prevent its unauthorized use.
Often these concepts are separated, meaning CAS for content encryption systems used in digital television (satellite, on-air or cable), and DRM for protection mechanisms from copying and playback, but in practice the solutions are applied together, complementing each other.

CDN (Content Delivery Network) is geographically distributed network infrastructure, consisting of caching proxy servers, allowing to distribute the service delivery centers to subscribers in order to optimize the load on the communication channels and increase the data download speed.
It should be noted that the term CDN is usually used only for static content, including broadcasting TV channels in HLS format, although it is also possible to implement a similar system of repeaters for streaming content.


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