IPTV is the latest technology. Its success lies in its conquest of pay TV as the technology of choice for major carriers and platforms, but also in its conquest of the pirate market with millions of users watching pay channels through their M3U listings purchased or downloaded from the Internet. If you have questions, don’t understand any of the content, or just want to learn more about Internet TV, don’t miss the following guide, which contains everything you need to become an expert.
Throughout this article, I want to talk about this topic. Explaining the technology behind IPTV, how easy it is to access IPTV broadcasts, and clarifying the legality issues of that video delivery system. It has become one of the most talked about topics lately and there have been many hacks against this technology, even though it is not necessarily used for illegal acts. If you want to learn more about it and how to see it from your computer, phone, tablet or TV, read on.
What is IPTVIPTV stands for Internet Protocol Television. It is basically a technology used to distribute video signals over a broadband connection over IP protocol. Some ADSL, fiber optic and cable operators use this type of video transmission to distribute their TV services.
Usually, the decoder is responsible for receiving the packets and displaying them as video on the TV, but it could also be an application on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet, or a program on a computer. Therefore, there are several ways to access the content reached through IPTV broadcasting.
Content can be obtained from content providers or TV signal distributors via the Internet. It is encoded in different formats, most commonly MPEG-4 or H264, and then, using an IP server based on the operating system, allows different video streams to be sent simultaneously.
Therefore, a high-capacity connection is required to allow two-way flow of data, control of session data, client-side billing, etc. The software is responsible for providing services to users through a menu system on the smart TV or cell phone screen.
IPTV and OTT
It is important to distinguish IPTV from streaming services such as Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, etc. (OTT). To the subscriber, the two services may look the same, but there are indeed some points that make the difference, most notably in IPTV where there is a bandwidth reservation that guarantees the highest quality of the received transmission.
In contrast, in OTT, there is no such bandwidth reservation. The data traffic generated by these services is “propagated” along with other Internet traffic. over the top (OTT) works completely independently of the telephone operator, so they are services that can be accessed from any Internet connection, regardless of your Internet provider.
However, we must also take into account the various illegal IPTV services that exist today and are constantly being persecuted. Not only that, but it is also important to understand each of the advantages and disadvantages that they can offer us when using them.
Advantages and Disadvantages of IPTV
Is this a good idea? This is a very complete technology, but as with any other technology, we must consider the pros and cons associated with it, and we must consider whether or not to place a bet when deciding whether or not to compare it to other similar technologies. In any case, if we are considering using this type of service, we would be wise to consider both the positives and negatives.
What are the benefits of using IPTV? We’ll tell you so you can see why they are worth it and what they offer you over other services. For this reason, we provide you with the following key points to help you consider using this type of service.
Due to the fact that carriers reserve some bandwidth for IPTV services, you can be assured that you will always receive the highest quality signal. Therefore, even if you are using another service that consumes a lot of resources, the experience will not be affected.
In addition, in this service, data transmission is sent directly to the IP of the customer signing up for the service, so the operator can provide a more personalized service to each consumer from the heart of the broadcast. Personalized programming, segmented advertising, exclusive channel access, etc. ……
Playback options and additional features
If you use IPTV through a decoder, you can record several days of playback, stop, return and whatever you need. If you do it by list, it doesn’t have these advantages, but it does have other advantages, so you have to evaluate what is best for you. They offer greater comfort in terms of visualization of content.
In most cases, we don’t have to pay to use it, so if we want to enjoy free content anywhere, this will be a good choice. Payment options with higher benefits should also be evaluated.
The main cons of IPTV
Although, we must not forget the disadvantages, or rather inconveniences, that can be found with IPTV. For example, one of the main drawbacks of IPTV bandwidth reservation is that it directly affects the speed at which you can browse from any device connected to your connection. Bandwidth reservation limits the amount of traffic you can continue to browse with your device.
In addition, to provide all the security for IPTV, carriers need a critical infrastructure. From the server that plays the video content to the software that is responsible for video compression and of course the decoder that must be installed in the subscriber’s home. This makes it quite expensive compared to other options, which is why most phone carriers have now shut down their IPTV systems and are using other technologies to distribute their TV services.
If you are using pirated IPTV, the inconvenience is even greater. For example, the police can access your data: if the service is interfered with, the authorities will access the IP address you are accessing. Another major problem is that when one of the services is shut down, we usually do not receive a refund. We may even be subject to data theft, extortion, identity theft …… For example, hacking attacks on pirated IPTV services demand ransom in exchange for not providing data to the police. Other dangers associated with the service itself are that we will experience poorer quality, continued outages, or we may risk having malware installed on our equipment.
In addition, many of the services rely on in-package carriers, which are not expensive. In addition, since it depends on the decoder installed by your carrier, you will not be able to enjoy this service at home. Only in these cases will you be able to verify that other IPTV services allow this, and it is very easy to do so. In addition, this service is getting better with mobile applications. The pay list can also be more secure, but it also affects the price factor.
How it works
In traditional TV, the signal is sent to our antenna via radio waves and once it passes through the TV’s own decoder or an external decoder, the signal is decoded into a picture and corresponding sound. However, when we talk about IPTV, the transmission of the channel is done through the Internet. A priori, everything seems simple, but the truth is that there are different aspects or elements involved in its proper functioning.
On the one hand, there is the content itself, which can be obtained from content providers or TV signal distributors via the Internet. For this, if they use an encoder to compress the obtained analog video and digitize it. This process is very important because it will determine the quality of the final video, the bit rate or the data loss, etc. Among the formats used by IPTV, we find that
- H.261: It is the oldest and is used for video conferencing and video telephony.
- MPEG-1: It provides quality similar to VHS and is also compatible with all computers and almost all DVDs.
- MPEG-2: It is used for DVD content and allows good quality for full screen images.
- H.263: Allows for low rates of acceptable quality. Especially suitable for video conferencing and video telephony.
- MPEG-4 Part 2: Provides higher quality compared to MPEG-2.
- MPEG-4 Part 10: Also known as H264, it is the most commonly used for various applications today.
- WMV: It can be used for both low quality video with slow connection speed on the Internet, and high definition video. Although JVT supports MPEG-4, WMV format is a Microsoft proprietary video compression format.
In addition to the content and the format itself, servers are another important element in IPTV technology because they perform various operations such as storing and backing up content, managing video on demand, or high-speed streaming itself.
These are IP servers based on operating systems that allow sending different video streams at the same time and must be able to allow bidirectional flow of data, as well as control the data of the session, etc. Do not forget that they must provide high transmission capacity in order to deliver high quality content.
IPTV Smart TV
If we want to take full advantage of IPTV technology on our smart TVs, we will need certain applications that allow us to reproduce such content. With them, we will have ready access to IPTV channels, as well as to their extensive broadcast catalog.
We will also have the highest possible picture quality and we will be able to save our favorite programs. Depending on the operating system of our smart TV, we will need to use certain applications. tizen or webOS, instead of looking for restrictions, there are fewer options. On the other hand, if your device uses Android, there are multiple apps available for viewing content.
While we will break down some of these apps in more detail later, some of these apps can be TiviMate, VLC, Kodi, GSE Smart IPTV, Lazy IPTV, OttPlayer, Smart IPTV or SSIPTV. when we install any of these apps, we may encounter some incompatibility problems.
Also, please keep in mind that it depends a lot on the manufacturer and the model. Therefore, it is recommended to make sure that the TV and IPTV applications are fully compatible. Another aspect to consider is the bandwidth capacity. When using this type of connection, we may notice problems if we use other devices from the same network for navigation, especially if we are dealing with heavy programs and files that consume a lot of resources.
Is IPTV legal?
Yes, IPTV technology was perfectly legal until recently, when the major phone operators used it for pay TV broadcasting, as I mentioned above. The problem is that in some cases, the technology was also used fraudulently through so-called IPTV m3u listings. These listings can be found directly on the Internet, or can be purchased for unauthorized access to payment channels, i.e., without paying directly for access to the content.
In this case, it is common for a group of people to organize themselves to sign up for legitimate channel access and then illegally sell that access to third parties. To do so, they usually recode the legal video signal and broadcast it over IPTV so that their subscribers can access the content. Of course, there is no bandwidth reservation in this case because these are pirated broadcasts and are not controlled in any way by the phone operator. Although there are significant differences, the rest of the technology works on the same principle.
These types of operations are illegal and have been prosecuted in most countries around the world. As a result, it is common to see news from IPTV networks detected, shut down, and those responsible must respond to the authorities for the crimes committed. These suspicious IPTV channels and listings have other serious shortcomings.
For example, they are often filled with advertisements and experience constant failures and edits during broadcast. They can disappear overnight or simply stop working, even after you have paid for them. In addition, the sites hosting these listings sometimes contain viruses and malicious elements. For example, through annoying advertisements.
Crime, Raids and Arrests
Illegal use of IPTV has many negative consequences, and since 2020 and 2021, many countries are already fighting against these practices. Since 2020, one unit in Taiwan has been fighting piracy through a streaming series, managing to conduct nearly 20 raids on hundreds of seized players and servers in the first twelve months alone. This is true not only in Asia, but also in Europe. In the UK, the North West Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (NWPIPCU) has been in place since March 2021 and is made up of the North West Regional Intellectual Property Directorate and the Organised Crime Unit. It is the unit responsible for conducting raids and making arrests for IPTV piracy and everything related to it.
In Spain, measures related to the termination of IPTV have also become more stringent. In August, Spain dismantled a group that was offering paid content signals to 500 people, for example, and a channel with more than 3,000 subscribers was illegally subscribing to these services. Also in September 2021, more than 100 IPTV platforms were shut down simultaneously, along with the arrest of two men and a woman accused of copyright infringement, fraud and conspiracy to defraud.
The most recent case dates back to April 2022, in which LaLiga has included dozens of IPTV player applications in response to the European Commission’s public consultation request for a watch list on counterfeiting and piracy. You want them to be banned, when in fact they are perfectly legal because they are players and it is the users who include the content in them. They do not have any illegal content that you can find out for yourself. Among them we found Simple IPTV, IPTV Pro, TVCast, Flix iptv, OttPlayer, etc.
Recommended Legal IPTV Services
The best way to enjoy IPTV is through the many well-established, legal options. Some of the best IPTV streaming services include:
- Netflix: probably the most well-known online streaming service and among the first big streaming services to take IPTV mainstream. Netflix has a huge amount of licensed content, as well as its own original TV shows, movies, and documentaries.
- Amazon Prime Video: Amazon’s IPTV service offers a wide range of content to subscribers, and if you’re willing to pay extra, you can also access addons like additional TV channels, including Starz TV and Shudder. You can also buy or rent additional TV box sets and movies to add to your digital library.
- Disney+: Disney has recently brought its own IPTV service onto the market, pooling together thousands of TV shows, movies, and documentaries from across its media empire. Alongside Disney classics, you’ll find content from National Geographic, 21st Century Fox, Star Wars, Marvel, and much more.
- HBO Max: HBO’s IPTV platform lets you stream HBO originals as well as a variety of other TV series and movies. Notably, Warner Bros. used HBO Max to release its full slate of movies during COVID restrictions that limited cinematic releases.
- Apple TV+: Apple is also breaking into the streaming market, and similarly to other IPTV services, Apple TV+ offers a whole host of different TV shows, movies, and documentaries, including Apple originals that aren’t available elsewhere.
Other IPTV Options
Due to the large number of IPTV services, it is difficult to track all of them and verify which ones have the correct licenses for the content they provide. However, some of the best examples of unverified IPTV include.
- Xtream IPTV
- Family4K IPTV
- Iview HD
- Kemo IPTV
IPTV Listings – M3U
The concept of IPTV lists or m3u lists is also important. These lists contain the IP addresses and data needed to connect to IPTV broadcasts. They are usually lists containing hundreds or thousands of channels that any user can access, which is really one of the reasons why IPTV is so popular right now. The most common extension for these lists is m3u, but in some cases they are also used in conjunction with w3u or m3u8 extensions.
These lists typically do not provide access to broadcasts made by carriers over the protocol, but rather provide access to free-to-air channels broadcast directly over the Internet, which may or may not be legal. This is one method used for perfectly legal channels and one method used for accessing pirated broadcast channels, which brings us to the next point regarding IPTV legality.
One of its main advantages is that you can save money because you can find them for free and they have more channels and quality than other services. In addition, you don’t have to use other devices or install anything. You can access the content from almost any device. In addition, if you want, you can add them to the player to access their content more easily.
On the Internet, we find millions of IPTV listings with access to free and legal channels as well as paid channels. In the latter case, we can find them without paying anything, with poor performance and often lasting hours or days, or through illegal providers who sell access to thousands of paid channels in exchange for annual or quarterly fees.
The Dangers of IPTV Listings
Free IPTV listings can be dangerous due to their dubious origin. However, in some cases, they may be illegal copies of series or movies or channels that have been contracted by someone and redistributed illegally. Some viruses, malware, Trojan horses, spyware or online hazards may be present on some of the sites that make it available.
In other cases, the channels may be full of errors, censored and filled with advertisements to exploit them. Even if you have paid to access them, there is no guarantee that they will disappear from one day to the next and you will have no one to turn to for compensation.
While there are many sites that offer this service for free and for a fee, it is important to know how to access them safely, remembering that there is no complete guarantee. Therefore, it is important that you know how to choose them properly and understand what you are dealing with. As we have seen before, IPTV also has different drawbacks.
Viewing IPTV applications
As mentioned above, IPTV services can be accessed through the decoders that must be provided by the phone operator or by using different applications compatible with the technology. Some of these can be used on a variety of different devices, such as VLC compatible with computers, but also with specific models of operating systems on cell phones, tablets or TVs. In any case, we can access such services if we start using any of the following applications.
For obvious reasons, TiviMate IPTV tops our list of the best IPTV players, with a long list of features and a simplified pricing structure.
Users can add as many playlists as possible to TiviMate IPTV, which supports all relevant methods such as portal login, M3U, Xtreme Codes allowing the user to login using his/her favorite IPTV service.
Other compelling content includes scheduled recordings, EPG support, data backup, reminders, favorites management, catch-up, parental controls, and more.
IPTV Smarters Pro
IPTV Smarters Pro is one of the best IPTV options available today. It is an application designed to work with any smart TV and works well on Android devices as well. It supports Xtream Codes API, M3U playlists and uploading files via URL.
It has an interface designed to divide the content of live TV, movies and series. It also has parental control options and support for subtitles, as well as an integrated player and compatibility with external players. You can download it from this link in the Google Play store.
VLC Media Player is one of the programs that are compatible with IPTV and can be used on different operating systems. Yes, the player with the traffic cone icon is able to open the m3u list and display the broadcast content of the different channels contained in that list. It is not only a program designed to use IPTV, but it is also one of the must-haves if we are looking for a very complete player to open any video on the computer. It is free and it is recommended to use all possible options at any level to create lists, open files, etc.
It is one of the best and most well-known applications for watching IPTV content on Windows today. It is not only recommended for IPTV, but only if you want to have a content manager or multimedia center. It is free to download and is open source. In addition, it is compatible with cell phones, tablets or TVs. Although it’s not very intuitive, it allows access to such content with maximum assurance. It can be said that it is a very complete and customizable software, suitable for almost any type of use.
The player allows to play the local content available to you, but also allows to watch it in combination with other supplements, such as live TV or video on demand. Obviously, you will be able to reproduce programs on IPTV through links that you can insert in the application. This is easy to do. When you open Kodi, you must select the TV or Radio option. The next step is to paste the corresponding URL and you will be able to access the content from the Play button.
Perfect Player IPTV
This free IPTV player supports different playlist formats such as M3U, XFPF, JTV or XMTLV. Besides being able to have multiple playlists in the memory at the same time, it also supports UDPXY, so we can generate our own playlists, which is very useful if we want to share the content on our computer with our friends. Of course, it is fully compatible with Windows 10 and its interface is very easy to use.
Flix IPTV Player
Flix IPTV is recommended in our list of the best IPTV players. Here’s why.
First of all, there are no usability issues. Flix IPTV is available on every platform you can think of. Flix IPTV can be used and accessed on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, FireStick and Android TV.
The feature list includes parental controls, the ability to change themes, M3U link support, and a beautiful interface for viewing IPTV content.
This is where Flix IPTV really shines as a video player. You can enjoy all the benefits such as subtitles, sleep timer, video details, forward/backward video and more.
In terms of pricing, Flix IPTV offers a one-week free trial. After that, you can pay a one-time fee of €7.49 (about $9) for a premium version for each TV or device you use the app on.
GSE Smart IPTV
Last on our list is another IPTV player that is available for iOS and Android.GSE Smart IPTV supports Chromecast, VOD playlists, real-time streaming (automatic reconnection) and more.
In this application, you will be able to find various themes, add subtitles and choose from 31 available interface languages. To use it, the user must add a list of M3U (or other formats). Download via Google Play Store or App Store.