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How IPTV Encoders and Decoders Work

Published on May 25, 2017 | Enterprise & In-house IPTV

IPTV encoders and decoders play an important role in the process of distributing video content to viewers. If your business depends on IPTV, high quality encoders and set top decoders are a valuable investment that will help you stream and view content online.

In this guide, we’ll explain how IPTV encoders and decoders work. We’ll also share information on how encoders and decoders fit into the process of streaming video content. In addition, we’ll explain why it’s important to invest in high quality encoders and decoders for your business.


How IPTV Works

IPTV, or Internet Protocol Television, uses Internet technology to add an additional dimension to traditional broadcast television: choice.

Instead of being limited by a predetermined schedule, IPTV allows viewers to decide what they want to watch, when they want to watch it. Television “on demand,” which most consumers are now familiar with, is an aspect of what’s possible using IPTV technology.

Behind the scenes, IPTV depends on both software and hardware devices. From the equipment used to film live streaming content to encoding equipment, communications equipment, set top decoding equipment and more, a surprising number of devices are involved in any IPTV stream.

The IPTV Process

Distributing IPTV content requires several devices. First, there’s the video source. For content that’s already been recorded, the video source could be a video file, a DVD or Blu-Ray disc, a reel of film or any other medium that can record and store video.

For live content, the video source is typically a camera. Since so many devices contain cameras today, the camera itself could be integrated into a smartphone or tablet, or it could be a high-end or professional video camera, DSLR or mirrorless still/video camera, or even a tiny action cam.

Video recorded by a camera is typically uncompressed and unprocessed, resulting in a gigantic file size that makes distributing the video over the Internet unfeasible.

This is where an IPTV encoder enters the picture. An IPTV encoder takes the content from the video source, whether it’s a live recording from a camera or an uncompressed video file from a digital storage device, and encodes it for distribution over the Internet.

Video encoding involves converting the video file into a format that web browsers, smartphones and other devices support. It also often involves compressing the video to a more manageable file size and quality level, which lowers strain on the hardware and improves transfer speed.

Once a video is encoded, it’s usually stored on a web server, from which viewers can tune in and access the video.

Finally, the IPTV decoder’s role is to receive the content and decode it into a format that your television or other digital device can play.

IPTV decoders prevent piracy and unauthorized viewing of content. Since the video content is encoded, viewers need to have a compatible decoder in order to decode the content and watch it using their computer or television.

For IPTV on a television, the most common type of decoder is a “set top box” — a small device that connects to your display and decodes the video content. Like most IPTV devices, set top boxes can range from inexpensive consumer units to high-end decoders for enterprises.

What IPTV equipment do you need?

As a business, your IPTV equipment needs will ultimately depend on how you plan to use IPTV to distribute content. Enterprises with multiple offices and locations, for example, have different needs from hotels that need to distribute content to hundreds of rooms, suites and displays.

The key to effective IPTV is to understand your needs and work with an expert to determine the best encoding and decoding hardware to help you achieve your objectives.

Speak to the IPTV experts

We specialize in helping businesses of all sizes transmit and distribute video using IPTV. From small, growing businesses to industry-leading enterprises, our experienced team can help your business effective use IPTV to distribute and receive digital content.

Would you like to learn more about using IPTV for your business? Contact us now to learn more about the benefits of IPTV, how your business can use IPTV and the most effective equipment for your needs.

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