Internet TV is the transmission video and audio (television) information on a communication channel that is delivered through the public Internet. These television signals can be viewed in computers, standard televisions (using an adapter), or other types of multimedia devices that can receive streaming video signals (such as game consoles). Internet TV is sometimes referred to as broadband TV or over the top television (OTT) because the TV signals travel over the top of the Internet rather than through a broadcast television system.
This figure shows that Internet TV systems are composed of content providers, broadband Internet connections, video viewing devices and Internet TV service providers. The content providers include existing television networks, on demand content providers (content aggregators), and independent content provider companies. This example shows a distribution networks that uses many types of systems to transfer IP video packets from the content source to the viewing devices. IPTV viewing devices include standard televisions (with adapters), multimedia computers and multimedia mobile devices. The Internet TV system operator manages how customers can connect to the system and which services they can receive.
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Because Internet TV signals can reach many types of connected devices located almost anywhere, virtually any company or person can become a global television provider. Internet TV services can provide the same types of programs as broadcast television stations plus additional features because of the two-way communication capability and ability to interconnect to other Internet services such as social tv networks.
Internet TV Content Sources
Internet TV content sources can range from live TV networks (such as CNN) to niche, on-demand content from micro-producers (niche programs). Internet TV systems can deliver an unlimited number of channels as each television set only requires one TV channel connection, which can be linked to any other TV source the Internet TV service operator (broadcaster) can provide.
Internet TV Service Providers
Internet TV service providers obtain the rights to transmit media programming to people that they allow to view their signals (free and/or paying subscribers). While Internet TV service providers may focus on providing TV services in geographic areas (such as where they own or control TV distribution rights), they can technically provide programming anywhere they can reach customers through a broadband data connection.
Internet TV Distribution Systems
Internet TV distribution systems transfer media programs from content sources to viewing devices. There are many types of systems that can distribute IP data packets, including telecom, wireless, cable TV systems, power companies (data over power line), and competitive access providers (such as new optical networks).
Internet TV Viewing Devices
Internet TV viewing devices can receive media in Internet IP Television (IPTV) form and convert it into media that can be viewed by users. IPTV viewing devices range from standard televisions that use digital media adapter boxes to convert IP video signals, to mobile telephones with digital video viewing capabilities.