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IPTV - A simple guide to Internet Protocol Television

Since the phasing out of analogue television, digital TV has really started to come into its own across Ireland. And the choices on offer to viewers have never been greater.

Right now, there are four different ways to view digital signals in Ireland - terrestrial, satellite, cable TV and IPTV. But what is IPTV?

Internet TV

As its name suggests, IPTV is Internet Protocol Television. In other words, TV signals are transmitted through broadband and internet connections, rather than over radio frequencies.

This is not to be confused with online on-demand services like catch-up channels or designated video sites like YouTube. It’s a carrier rather than a channel, but many consider it to be the most effective way of getting digital TV to the public.

IPTV services

IPTV providers currently host over 80 channels, which are transmitted along phone lines directly to the home TV via an IPTV set-top box. Commonly, the service is offered as a ‘Triple Play’ service, incorporating video on demand (VOD), broadband internet and voice over IP for video and voice chat (VoIP).

Which IPTV provider?

Currently the only IPTV provider in Ireland is eir’s eir Vision TV service. They offer bundled services, which include premium programming, money-saving home telephone and internet deals, or fibre optic broadband packages.

How to get it

To start receiving IPTV services, you need to be connected with a relevant provider. They will usually provide you with your set-top box as part of the deal. It’s worth considering the package prices, any installation costs and the speed of connection on offer before committing to one provider.

One of the key bonus features of IPTV is the ‘Pause and rewind live TV’ facility. Viewers can use this to pause, fast forward and rewind programs using a remote control.

The future of IPTV

IPTV is still only one of four potential ways to receive digital TV signals in Ireland. And it might not be for everyone. Nobody yet knows whether it will become the future standard, but there’s no doubting that its tie-in with broadband or fibre-optic internet connectivity serves it well.

There is a lot to be said for uniting TV and internet services into the one set-top box. For one thing, it means you need never log onto your computer to watch TV again. That, coupled with the greater freedom and variety of programming, makes IPTV a desirable option for future viewing in Ireland.

Compare broadband and digital TV packages on Switcher.ie today.