IPTV for TV distribution
Author: Jonathan Rackowe, Netvue
This Update Published: 2009
IPTV streaming provides the solution to the
demise of analogue TV distribution systems.
Introduction rather worse than reasonable! ) it simply may not be
As UK digital switch-over progresses and the last good enough for digital TV.
days of analogue television hasten to a close,
Add to this the complication of distributing other video
many people are wondering which way to turn
signals, such as satellite channels, camera feeds or
when it comes to replacing analogue television
DVD player feeds, across the same old co-ax cabling
distribution around their business premises.
and something rather better than this old world
analogue RF distribution system is called for.
For those businesses with multiple display screens Perhaps the answer lies with Internet TV then? After
scattered around their building it very soon becomes all, there are rumours of countless free channels out
apparent that simply plugging Freeview receivers into there on the Web just waiting to be pulled down.
each point where Television is wanted doesn't provide Unfortunately, the truth of this is rather less rosy. TV
a very satisfactory solution. In many cases the original from the Internet has potential strength for its variety
RF co-ax cabled distribution system that used to of channels, but real weaknesses when it comes to
deliver analogue TV signals throughout the building is resolution and quality.
simply not good enough to deliver the digital Freeview
The potential immediacy of live news and unlimited
content direct from the Internet is very attractive. But
in reality, live Internet TV is dogged by the irritation of
This is because the digital TV signal either works or it
small, poor quality images due to the inherent low
doesn’t: An analogue signal can be quite poor and still
quality of service. The Internet’s underlying
give a watchable picture (albeit a grainy one), but a
technology simply cannot support the delivery of
digital TV signal will not degrade slowly in the same
multicast TV to millions of viewers.
way. With a good signal the digital TV picture will be
pretty much perfect, but if the signal strength is poor
there will be blockiness and occasional freezing, and
at worst no picture at all. The good news is that there is a new and much better
alternative to all of this: IPTV distributed over
So even if the old co-ax system does give reasonable standard local area network (LAN) cabling.
quality analogue pictures ( and plenty we’ve seen are
IPTV systems take digital Terrestrial and Satellite The benefits of IPTV
DVB television signals received at broadcast quality, Using IPTV for distribution of TV and video in this way
de-multiplex them into individual channels and IP offers many significant benefits over conventional
wrap them within ‘head-end’ equipment, to provide analogue distribution:
live IPTV streams on a CAT 5 or CAT 6 LAN.
IPTV is digital - so it is immune from the
The IP wrapping involves parcelling up the broadcast problems of noise, distortion, ghosting and signal
digital TV data streams (which are already MPEG degradation that affect analogue signals. The result is
encoded) into streams of IP packets so that they can that IPTV gives you high quality pictures and sound.
travel over the computer network.
IPTV channels can be watched on PC and Mac
These IPTV packets are transmitted across the desktops – at the same time as distributing channels
computer network just like any other IP packets (data to IPTV receivers for viewing on conventional TV
or VOIP packets for example), but network switches display screens, TV projectors, plasma screens and
recognise the time-sensitive nature of IPTV multicast LCD displays.
packets and give them a higher priority than other
network traffic. This ensures that the TV pictures are IPTV can use the existing computer network -
displayed as they should be. no new cables, no hassle! For new installations this is
where IPTV really comes into its own.
This IP based approach to TV distribution can be
IPTV distributes an unlimited number of
extended to include video on demand (VOD)
channels - a typical IPTV system shows any desired
channels from VOD servers, and video sources, such
mixture of Freeview TV and radio channels, plus any
as DVD players. For these video sources, the signal
number of additional channels from other sources.
is MPEG encoded as necessary before being IP
packetised and streamed onto the network.
IPTV supports widescreen and 4:3 picture
formats - the widescreen digital picture flag is carried
by the IPTV channels so that the IPTV receiver
automatically shows the correct aspect ratio picture
on the display screen.
IPTV allows distribution of HD (high definition)
signals - HD is becoming more and more widely
used; IPTV allows you to upgrade your channels to
HD at any time in the future, though some hardware
changes may be necessary to achieve this.
IPTV allows new enhanced services to be
Video on Demand
Scheduled Recording of TV
Rolling record of TV channels
Scheduled Playout channels
Site to site video links
IPTV Streaming provides an ideal solution for
distribution of television and video channels around
businesses, retail environments and public spaces. It
provides better quality than conventional analogue
distribution and also offers the advantages of new
services, such as Video on Demand and Digital
Signage, whilst utilising standard computer network
Netvue was formed in 2005 specifically to provide
new technology IPTV solutions to companies across a
range of business sectors. With key personnel drawn
from a broadcast TV systems integration background,
Netvue offers a professional systems design and
installation service to its clients.
Netvue is a business division of Projects UK Ltd,
based in London, UK. Reg. No 5370455.
Jonathan Rackowe, Managing Director
+44 (0)20 8567 2201