As the title of this book implies, IPTV's foundation is the Internet Protocol (IP) upon which the Internet is based. IP forms a common international language that allows a range of devices, from refrigerators to supercomputers, to communicate anywhere in the world, over a range of physical media, including telephone wires, two-way radios, and optical fiber. A layered approach to IP allows this universality by making different components of a digital network independent, and therefore interchangeable.
In its simplest form, IPTV services use IP to deliver digital audio and video bitstreams to consumer devices, ultimately to the television. However, IPTV is much more than a method of delivering digital bitstreams. It also forms the basis for command and control messages that allow consumers to select content and interact in a bidirectional manner with the service delivery system. While broadcast television is passive, IPTV has the ability to be interactive. This allows many new business models to be developed with a television service. We will examine some of these in later chapters.
The chapter begins with an overview of the basics of the IP suite and how it delivers packets of data among devices. It then investigates some of the pertinent and more advanced protocols that IPTV utilizes in creating a television service as well as how the MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 bitstreams are transported using Internet protocols.
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Copyright McGraw-Hill, 2007. Excerpted with permission from McGraw-Hill.