In the current day and age, the ability to stream TV, news, movies, and any other form of media is incredibly important. The demand for this has quickly led to the creation of Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) becoming the way for television networks to keep you up-to-date with your favorite shows and broadcasts.
While Netflix took the world by storm with their streaming service and now even their own series and movies, it became time for other services to catch up and utilize a similar format in order to compete for the viewers who started switching to more convenient online streaming services.
So what exactly is IPTV and how does it work?
We’re here to break it down for you. We’ll give you a basic overview of just what IPTV is and how it works. We’ll also share of our personal favorites from the major channels available so you can decide which service best fits your needs.
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IPTV stands for Internet Protocol Television. This means that television content is made available via Internet Protocol (or IP) networks. Most who pay for TV subscriptions receive the service directly through their subscription provider. IPTV allows you to stream continuously via the internet without requiring you to download the content you want to watch.
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The interesting thing about IPTV is that it is not limited to just internet streaming. Some services actually provide set-top boxes or specific equipment that provides high-speed access and streaming of the subscribed channels and services.
With IPTV, you can typically watch live TV allowing you to view the season premieres of your favorite shows at its actual airing time instead of having to wait 24+ hours to view it. You can also catch-up and watch replays, start a show over, or watch movies. You can even get access to TV Guide so you know the schedule and availability for new releases!
At this point it would understandable for you to question if this is legal or not. The answer is yes! IPTV is completely legal. Most people subscribe to an IPTV service so they can legally stream various forms of media without having to worry about running into any sticky legal issues.
There are quite a few services out there for you to choose from and most of them are far more affordable than cable. As an added upside, you can stream from pretty much anywhere – your TV, your mobile device, your computer or tablet, you name it!
Getting the Most From IPTV
Even though most (not all) VPNs are legal, we strongly recommend using a VPN, both to protect yourself and to get as much as you can from the IPTV service you use. Most IPTVs will keep some of their content off limits, depending on where you live in the world. A VPN will hide your location, unlocking content you never had access to before (this also works with Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube).
A VPN will also help protect your personal information from hackers, as well as allow you to test out some of the *ahem* more legally questionable IPTV services without needing to worry about having your data tracked. If you need some help getting started, we can show you how to install a VPN on any device!
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Brief History of IPTV
IPTV is really not all that new. The idea actually started back in the early 1990s. Of course, at that time, it was a challenge to access it because the bandwidth of internet simply was not able to produce the download speeds that were needed in order to stream video on demand.
It was 1995 when IPTV first became a thing through Precept Software and really started to take off. At that time, it was still not great, but it was progress towards what we have available today.
Now, there are numerous internet protocol television providers available that allow you to choose the channels that best fite your needs. It provides people with a way to enjoy their favorite shows at the time they air without the hefty costs of cable or satellite services. IPTV is the budget-friendly way to stream shows, just as if you were watching TV.
How IPTV Works
Internet protocol TV does require a subscription. Now, you can get IPTV-like services through specific channels by paying for their subscription and accessing that specific channel through an app or the web. However, there are some differences in functionality between the different IPTV providers.
Remember that IPTV is primarily used as a replacement for live analog TV, which means media plays on a designated schedule. However, many of them IPTV providers have also started to offer video on demand services, as well as the ability to replay or restart an episode, which means it doesn’t necessarily have to be live after all. Again, this is something that could vary between different channels or providers.
Now, the thing you need to know is that while IPTV can be (and usually is) a legal subscription service, there are options out there that are in violation of piracy laws and come with a different set of risks than the “official” paid channels.
If you opt to use one of those services, be sure to invest in a VPN service to protect your identity and to avoid getting wrapped up in legal issues. Nobody wants that, and this one easy layer of protection will give you all the peace of mind you need.
Now, let’s cover some of the top IPTV options out there so you know where to look! Here are a few of the big ones to look out for:
1. Sling TV
Sling TV is one of the (relatively) newer IPTV options. This is a subscription service that includes news, sports, and entertainment channels alike. Many of the available channels are common TV channels that you might already be familiar with from classic cable or satellite services.
Sling TV became available in 2015 and is now one of the best legal IPTV services available. There is more than one package to choose from and they are all quite affordable. Check this one out!
2. Sapphire Secure
This is one of the more popular options, with subscriptions starting at just $5 per month. You can use your Amazon Firestick and Android devices (including smart TVs) to stream your favorite channels from cable providers.
Sapphire Secure offers 1500+ channels from the US and the UK. It also has an EPG (TV Guide) service that is part of the package so you can schedule and plan your shows. You can even stream 4 different channels on a single screen, a great feature for tournament season!
3. Pluto TV
You can get Pluto TV through the Amazon App Store, so no 3rd party downloads necessary here. It has become increasingly popular and is one of the most influential streaming services. You can access quite a few cable channels for free and it’s totally legally on this app.
Pluto TV can be used on Android and Apple devices as well as an Amazon Firestick. It’s easy to use but in some localities, it is restricted so you may need a VPN to access certain content in those areas
4. Fubo TV
Fubo TV is a bit more expensive than some of our other options, starting at $50 a month, which makes it almost as expensive as cable. It has the EPG guide available and offers 100+ channels to subscribers. There are no premium sports channels, no Pay Per View, nor the ability to catch up.
This one is popular so we included it in the list, but we feel as though it is fairly expensive considering its limited access. Follow your instincts, but we think you can find better options for the money.
Ok, so you couldn’t really expect us to limit our choices to just four could you? That’s just not our style. Here are a few more options that you may want to research to see if they work for you.
- Bad Boy Media
- Hot Shot Streams
- Eternal TV
- Beast TV
- Streams for Us
- Sportz TV
- Top Dog