Suraj Gulati
Senior Manager – Technical,
UCN Cable Network Pvt. Ltd.

Trends Driving IPTV Adoption

IPTV is IP network-delivered Television. It is the delivery of television content using signals based on the logical Internet protocol (IP), rather than through traditional terrestrial, satellite signal, and cable television formats.

It could consist of anything ranging from switched digital video (SDV), video recording (DVR/PVR/nDVR), and video-on-demand (VOD), interactive TV applications, or targeted (advanced) advertising.

IPTV Getting Deployed in the World Market

Subscribers want more choice and control. The new generation grew up computer/Internet savvy and they want everything to be connected to their computer, tablets, and not just to their television sets. Also it is customized for the customer – one bill, one provider, integrated services with voice data and video.

Codec, access, server, and CPE technologies are improving. Customer is getting better quality by the introduction of various codecs like HEVC, MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) improvements, new xDSL, FTTx, DOCSIS 3.0 access technologies. Moore’s law of advancement for the processing and memory is also implemented.

Competition is increasing among service providers. Gone are those days when we did not have internet access. Now we are no longer limited by access. The service providers are providing great Internet broadband to the customers. The traditional markets are disappearing, for example, VoIP is becoming free and internet costs are getting reduced significantly.

Without going deep into the headend as it is now well-known, I will focus on the transport packets and routing protocols.

Various Transports

Native. IP multicast, MPLS, L2, optical

SSM: source-specific multicast (RFC 4604 and 4607). Receivers subscribe (S, G) channels to receive traffic only from source S sent to group G primarily introduced (by IETF) for IPTV-like services

IP multicast endpoints. Sources: Encoder, transcoder, groomer, ad-splicer. Receivers: Transcoder, groomer, ad-splicer, EQAM, IP STB.

IETF standardized. Receiver-to-Router Protocols: IGMPv3 (IPv4) and MLDv2 (IPv6) with (S,G) signaling. Router-to-Router Protocols: PIM-SSM, IGMPv3 Proxy Routing, Snooping on HAG and L2 devices.

Transport challenges. Packet loss, out-of-order delivery, packet duplication (we cannot use TCP for IP multicast).

Efficiency Gains from IPTV in Cable Delivery

So how has the user experience changed? What all features have been added which were previously missing in the traditional cable delivery system? Let us find out.

Variable Bitrate

The variable bitrate is a concept for saving the bandwidth consumption. Statmuxing provides the least bandwidth to the least popular channel and providing maximum bandwidth to the most popular service. VBR provides a bandwidth savings of 40–60 percent. IPTV is the best choice for narrowcast statmuxing and AVC statmuxing

Switched Video. Switching is the way to offer unlimited channels; IPTV provides built-in switching functionality.

Advanced Coding. AVC provides a bandwidth savings of 50 percent over MPEG2; IPTV solves the problem of slow channel change.

QAM Sharing. Convergence provides further bandwidth savings; We can share QAMs for VoD and SDV as well as for video and DOCSIS.

So these are the seamless experiences that an end user will get through the IPTV. With every technology, come its own drawbacks as well. The IPTV needs a good and uninterrupted Internet speed.

The Indian market is not yet ready for IPTV but customers are now looking for traditional TV alternatives owing to their convenience. So a much advanced and higher efficiency service which is known as OTT is the market trend.

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