If you’re a cord cutter like me, then it’s likely you’ve heard of IPTV. In this article I discuss exactly what is IPTV, and what you should be aware before you give one of these services a try.
What Is IPTV – The Basics
So what is IPTV you’re asking? Well IPTV stands for Internet Protocol TeleVision or IPTV for short. As the name implies, IPTV leverages existing internet protocols to deliver television content to your SmartTV or other smart device in your home.
Now I don’t want to bore you with all the nitty-gritty details of how it works, there are plenty of sites out there that can do that! What I do want to do, and likely the reason you’re here, is to learn how to leverage this technology to stream great entertainment at a fraction of the cost of traditional satellite or cable subscriptions.
While AntennaJunkies.com nor any of it’s affiliates endorse or promote the use of illegitimate services or sources of television broadcasts, the reality is there are a plethora of IPTV options, both legal and illegal, available that we will discuss.
A recent study published by Sandvine Intelligent Broadband Networks suggests that,
6.5% of North American households have accessed a pirated live TV subscription…it is estimated that the pirated IPTV business is worth $840-million per year…costing traditional content providers approximately $4.2 billion dollars per annum.
The lure of these illegitimate or illegal IPTV services is very tempting. They offer hugely discounted prices over their cable or satellite counterparts. As cord cutters, we’re always looking to cut costs for our television entertainment, however, be advised that most of these services are not legal and can get you into some trouble if certain steps are not taken.
If you want more information on some of the “legalities” surrounding IPTV, then I encourage you to check out my article, Are IPTV Subscriptions Legal?
What Is IPTV – Live Sports Anyone!
Without question, the number one reason people opt for IPTV streaming services is because of the seemingly limitless availability of local and premium sports channels. I’m talking everything from ESPN, to NFL Redzone, Sunday Ticket, NHL Network, Sky Sports, Bein Sports, to pay-per-view Boxing and MMA fights, and the list goes on and on and on.
Live sports is one of the major reasons people are reluctant to cut the cable and satellite cord. With these IPTV subscription service, there is never a need to do without. In fact, to get the same offering of live sports through your cable and satellite provider could cost you upward of $100/month.
What Is IPTV – Why You Need a VPN
Despite what was just discussed, if you’re considering using or subscribing to one of these IPTV services, then a VPN will be your greatest tool to ensure your anonymity while streaming content online.
What is a VPN you ask? A VPN stands for a Virtual Private Network, where a VPN service provider such as IPVanish, PureVPN, or ExpressVPN will provide a way to encrypt your Internet connection, essentially hiding you and the content you’re streaming from “prying eyes”.
This means your ISP (Internet Service Provider) nor the IPTV service you are connecting to will have any idea what you’re streaming or where you are streaming from. I did a fairly indepth article on VPNs and how they work over here at, Are VPNs Safe? Give it a read if you’d like more information on what VPNs are and how they work.
Suffice it to say, I would not even attempt to subscribe and use one of these types of IPTV services without the use of a VPN.
Recommended VPN Providers
|Ease of Use
You would be well-advised to use one of these three services as not all VPNs are created equal. The ones I’ve listed here offer superb connection speeds, unlimited bandwidth all at an affordable monthly price with absolutely NO TRAFFIC LOGGING.
What Is IPTV – Provider Choices
I’m reluctant to name any particular “black-market” type IPTV service, well to be quite frank, because I don’t necessarily endorse their use. However, I realize that there are many people out there who are either using them or giving them a try. For this reason, I want to provide some useful information.
A simple Google Search will yield a plethora of these types of IPTV services all promising 500+ channels in High-Definition (HD) quality. All of this for around $10/month. This is without doubt extremely tempting and the channel lineups they are providing are very good. All of them were offering all of the major television networks, specialty channels, pay-per-view channels, and sports channels.
Below is an example of the offerings and packages from one said provider:
Packages such as these on traditional cable and satellite subscriptions could easily run you upward of $100/month depending on who your provider is.
What Is IPTV – Devices and Software
There are several ways you can access IPTV content, using different devices and software. Here I listed some of the most common ways.
Purpose-Built Set-Top Box
Purpose-built set-top boxes are hardware boxes with embedded software specifically designed to stream television via Internet Protocols (IP). One of the most popular boxes designed to do this is the Dreamlink T2W Hybdrid Quadcore Android 7 T2 WBuilt-in WiFi.
This box is designed from the ground up to provide IPTV streams to your television. If you’re in the market for a set-top box, be sure to check it out! Interesting fact, almost 95% of IPTV traffic is driven by purpose-built set-top boxes (STBs) that are designed to recreate the experience of traditional cable and satellite set-top boxes.
Kodi is media center type software that can run on PCs, smartphones, and other devices that was originally designed to playback personal media files. Unofficial add-ons have enabled the ability to access both legitimate and pirated IPTV video services.
I’ve been a big fan of Kodi for many years, and it’s really gotten a bad wrap because of the “openness” and ability to stream pirated content. It’s an elegant and beautiful piece of open-source software that is worth installing on all of your central media hubs. While I don’t use it as often these days, I highly recommend taking it for a spin.
Roku is a leading line of set-top boxes designed to access legitimate streaming services. Like Kodi and any Android system, it has the ability to be side-loaded with applications via unofficial sources that enable you to access IPTV video services.
While Roku does make full-on SmartTV’s that run their interface and operating system, their claim to fame is their set-top boxes. I’ve been a big of Roku too for many years. If you want to give Roku a try, then I would suggest you look at one of the following. The Roku 4 Streaming Media Player or the Roku Streaming Stick+. I own both of these devices and they are both very good for streaming IPTV.
Smartphones and Tablets
Both Android and iOS app stores contain apps that can emulate the embedded software
found in purpose-built set-top boxes. Video player apps and emulators can stream M3U8 files used by IPTV services and is often a preferred method of streaming IPTV video.
This is particularly true if you already own an Android Media Streaming device and don’t want to by a dedicated set-top box. A popular emulator I’ve used is the StbEmu (Pro) on the Google Playstore. This app can be directly loaded an an “open-Android” type media device and can be side-loaded just as easily on devices the run the Android TV operating system such as the NVIDIA SHIELD TV.
Personal Computer and Laptops
The final way you can go about streaming IPTV services is by the use of a PC or laptop. IPTV services can be accessed via a web browser or any video apps that can play M3U8 files directly.
What Is IPTV – Final Words and Additional Reading
I hope you’ve found this article useful and I’ve answered the question, What is IPTV?
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out some of our other articles today:
- Best Android Box for IPTV
- Why You Need a VPN for IPTV
- How To Watch Live Sports Without Cable
- Next Gen TV – The Future Is Now!
- Sling TV vs Fubo TV – Which One Is Better?
- Best Coaxial Cable For HDTV
- What Is IPTV? Everything Cord Cutters Need To Know
- How To Watch IPTV On PC
- FREE TV – The Ultimate Cord Cutters Guide
- Are VPNs Safe? Find Out Here!
- HDHomeRun Premium TV Available Now!
- How To Watch Live TV On Your Computer
- MECOOL KM8 TV Box – Sorry Nvidia Shield TV
- Best Long Range Outdoor HDTV Antenna
- 7 Ways To Boost Your HDTV Antenna Signal!
- What Is The Best TV Antenna Signal Booster
- How To Properly Ground A TV Antenna
- Are 4K OTA Broadcasts Available Right Now?
- The Best HDTV Antenna Setup Right Now!
- The Best External HDTV Network Tuners
- Everything You Need To Know About ATSC 3.0
- Are IPTV Subscriptions Legal?
- How To Get A 4K Signal
- How To Watch TV While Camping
And if you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out my Top 10 Antenna Picks for this year and leave me a comment!