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    View Programs

    Everyone who has a computer and a broadband Internet connection can watch IPTV, but most of us don’t want to watch television on a crude laptop screen. That’s why the future of IPTV is likely to involve viewers buying set-top boxes (sometimes called STBs) that receive input from your Internet connection (either via an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi), decode the signal, and display a picture on your high-definition, widescreen TV. STBs are effectively standalone computers programmed to do only one thing: receive packets of streamed video, decrypt them, convert them back to video files (MPEG2, MPEG4, or whatever format they were in originally), and then display them as high-quality TV pictures. Apple TV works…

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    Future of Television

    There’s no great clamor from ordinary TV viewers for IPTV, although that’s not unusual where new inventions and innovations are concerned; no-one can truly appreciate something they haven’t yet experienced. But the huge popularity of VOD websites such as BBC iPlayer and time-shifting personal video recorders (PVRs) such as TiVO (and Sky+ in the UK) strongly suggest TV will move increasingly away from broadly defined channels and rigid schedules to more narrowly focused, pay-per-view programming.   Even so, consumer demand won’t be the main driving force in the transition from 20th-century broadcast TV to 21st-century IPTV—at least, not to begin with. In the last decade or so, traditional telephone companies,…

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    Why should someone you’ve never met decide what you can watch on TV and when you can watch it? True, there’s always a choice of channels, but the selection is still quite limited and unless you record programs in advance, you can only watch them when they’re broadcast. Wouldn’t it be better if watching TV were more like browsing the Web so you could pick the program you wanted to watch whenever and wherever you felt like watching it? That’s one of the promises of IPTV (Internet Protocol Television), which uses Internet technology to deliver TV programs “on demand.” How does it work? What benefits will it bring us? What…