IPTV (Internet protocol television) is not a new concept to the AV world, indeed IPTV service providers have been streaming broadcasts over the internet to an ever increasing audience for many years now. It is, however, advances in IP networking technology, along with the almost universal adoption of ultra secure, high speed IP networking infrastructure in businesses and education establishments alike that’s fuelling exciting new IPTV related technological advances within the world of audio visual installation, and bringing a host of exciting new possibilities to the table………

IPTV: The basic principle

IPTV is a fairly simple concept. Essentially, television services are transmitted over networks using the IPS (Internet protocol suite) and delivered to end users devices which are connected to the network. The flexibility of transmitting content using the IPS means that distribution is not limited to just audio and video, but text, graphics, and data can also be sent simultaneously, making IPTV a truly multimedia technology with exciting possibilities for interactivity and commercial digital signage installations.

One of the advantages of using the IPS is that IPTV systems are almost limitlessly scalable. Content can be sent securely over the internet from site to site, which has huge implications for corporate video distribution and education establishments offering distance learning, or, it can be distributed locally via a private LAN, allowing distribution of content to multiple users within a site, say multiple tablets in a classroom perhaps.ed was from service providers to end users, much in the way a traditional television broadcasting service works. As the technology advances however, more and more products are making their way on to the market which allow end users to become the masters of their own content; capturing, creating, editing and storing material, ready to push to all devices on a network as required.

IPTV utilises the existing IP network

IPTV: The possibilities working infrastructure of an organisation to distribute content, and as such forgoes the need to install the plethora of cables associated with analogue distribution systems. This makes IPTV an incredibly cost effective solution for high quality content distribution, as installations typically require less work to set up, instead capitalising on existing resources.

The main benefits of IPTV

IPTV's key benefits revolve largely around the ability to put content on an IP network. Placing content on a network instantly makes it accessible to everyone within an organisation. This has huge implications for the corporate sector, especially considering the ever increasing use of tablets, smart phones, and other wireless network devices.  Up to the minute video broadcasts can be distributed to every employee within an organisation, regardless of location, and stored on the company’s distribution system for them to review at a later date. This could be live information feeds such as financial market news, or a speech from a chief executive to all employees in a large organisation. It’s worth noting again that the use of IPTV negates the need to use a parallel video distribution system to achieve these powerful benefits, which offers huge potential cost savings for larger organisations.

The education sector is another fertile ground in which IPTV technology is developing fast, fuelled in no small part by the ever increasing use of tablets as teaching aids within the classroom environment which is creating huge demand for IPTV services.  Using IPTV it is possible to distribute carefully selected video content, for example forming part of lesson, to every student in a class, with IPS offering facility for them to interact with and respond to the data being presented. Lectures can be captured live enabling students not able to be present to view the lecture remotely on a device connected to the internet, and, when stored online, these recorded lectures can be used as part of a distance learning service available to anyone with internet access.

The distribution of digital signage within commercial premises also benefits hugely from the use of IPTV systems.

The ability to utilise existing network infrastructure affords incredible convenience for high quality content distribution in public spaces, especially larger ones such as shopping centres and airports. IPTV allows a much cleaner signal to be received by the end user as the signal is not susceptible to noise from mains voltage appliances that might have affected signal distribution in a purely analogue distribution environment. This, along with the ability to distribute multiple streams of full high definition content afforded by the ever increasing data bandwidth available with modern networking technology, enables video content of unprecedented quality to be delivered to display devices across a potentially massive area, enabling distribution of content much larger audience. ability to send both video broadcasts and data simultaneously is enabling a new wave of interactive digital signage technologies to emerge. Imagine the power of people having the ability to interact with the content they are viewing, using carefully placed motion sensors to detect their actions, engaging them on a whole new level. They could even pick and choose the particular adverts or content they would like to view, being able to create their own tailored viewing experience relevant to their interests.

IPTV: A final thought

With IPTV markets ever growing, IPTV seems set to become the dominant force in digital video distribution technology, which is hardly surprising given the combination of quality, flexibility and economy that the technology offers. With the ever expanding range of IPTV solutions available, there has never been a better time to assess whether your existing network infrastructure could be put to use the medium for your content distribution needs. For more information regarding the benefits IPTV could bring to you and your organisation, please feel free to contact the experienced engineers at Crossover who will be delighted to offer their expertise and advice.