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Hybrid IPTV, the new buzz in broadcasting sector

Technology has penetrated every type of industry whether it is food processing industry or automobile sector; so how can the broadcasting sector remain immune from it?

The broadcasting sector is in full spirit to reap technological advantages and in the future, its dependence on technology will be even more. It has seen a transformation from cable television to satellite television, internet protocol television (IPTV) to now hybrid IPTV.

What is hybrid IPTV?
It is simply the combination of traditional broadcast TV services and video delivered over managed IP networks. The set-top boxes include both a broadcast tuner and an Internet connection. It will be an increasing trend in 2020 in both the consumer and pay-TV (operator) markets.

In recent years, due to two factors, hybrid IPTV has become popular. First, the emergence of online video-aggregation sites, like YouTube, as traditional pay-TV operators have come under increasing stress to provide their subscribers with a means of viewing internet-based video on their idiot box. Second, specialist IP-based operators, predominately telecommunications providers. Without adding either additional cost or complexity to their transmission operations, they have looked for ways to offer analog and digital terrestrial services to their operations.

As bandwidth is a costly asset for operators, many have looked for other options to deliver these new services without investing extra on infrastructure.

Hybrid IPTV, without the need for a separate box for each service, allows content from a range of sources – including terrestrial broadcast, satellite, and cable, to be brought together with video delivered over the internet via an Ethernet connection on the device.

Other advantages of hybrid IPTV set-top boxes include access to a range of advanced interactive services, such as VoD/catch-up TV, video telephony, surveillance, shopping, e-government accessed via a television set and gaming.

What is the benefit for pay-TV operator?
By enabling them to deploy new services and applications as and when consumers require, it gives pay-TV operator long-term flexibility. Most of the time, they do not need to upgrade equipment. Hence, it increases speed to market and limits disruption for consumers.

To subscribers, this can provide a huge selection of channels without overburdening the internet. At the same time, it offers IPTV services to small or remote operators outside the reach of terrestrial high-speed broadband connection.

No doubt the broadcasting of high bandwidth applications, such as IPTV is accomplished more efficiently and cost-effectively using satellite. It is foretold that the majority of global IPTV growth will be fueled by hybrid networks.

Hybrid IPTV is not free from technological limitations. It has its limitations.

The latency of response to requests to change channels mostly affects customers’ perceived quality of service. The issue affects satellite IPTV no more than terrestrial IPTV.

Command latency problems, faced by terrestrial IPTV networks with insufficient bandwidth as their customer base grows, may be corrected by the high capacity of satellite distribution.

However, satellite distribution does suffer from latency – the time for the signal to travel up from the hub to the satellite and back down to the user is around 0.25 seconds. It cannot be reduced.

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