Glossary of IPTV Terms

If you are planning on offering IPTV services and you are new to the industry, then there is a good chance that you are going to hear a lot of words that are new to you. That's because IPTV just happens to be one of those industries where there are a lot of complex names, acronyms, and more. These terms tend to get tossed around a lot by people who are "in the know" just because they are so used to using them. To people new to the industry, however, all the terminology can be confusing and frustrating.

If you find that you often feel clueless about the terms that are being tossed around, don't panic and don't beat yourself up. You can always ask someone if you don't know something. No one is going to think you're stupid but simply that you are new to the industry. You can also start educating yourself a little bit at a time on commonly used terms and phrases and their definitions, and here, with our glossary, is a great place to start.

Internet TV

As the name implies, internet television is professional television that is transmitted over the internet. While some IPTV services do offer internet television services as an "extra feature," it is typically not their main or only type of offered television. Furthermore, most IPTV services are delivered on discrete service provider networks, not over peer to peer networks, as is often the case with internet television.

Internet Video

People often confuse internet TV and internet video or use the terms interchangeably, but they are actually quite different from one another. Internet video is un-managed and simply offers user-generated streaming videos. Youtube is the main and most popular example of an internet video site. While you may offer videos or content online through your IPTV services, this isn't really the same as unregulated internet video that anybody can share.

Mobile TV

Everyone expects their IPTV services to be able to offer them mobile viewing opportunities . What this means, at its simplest, is that video and voice content, including television content and typically other video content as well, can be wirelessly transmitted to any device that can move, like a cell phone or a tablet. The more you can offer your customers in the way of mobile television and just general mobile viewing opportunities, the better, since this form of viewing is becoming more and more popular and is very much in high demand by today's consumers.


One word you may hear a lot is "broadcast," and, while you are probably no stranger to this word, it doesn't typically mean the same thing as it usually does when it's being talked about it in the IPTV context. Broadcast, in the IPTV world, basically means a transmission, typically one that goes from one sender to all connected devices. So, for example, the content that you might offer to your viewers would be considered a broadcast.

Digital Rights Management

While people tend to think that all the content and information out there is basically "free for all," that's certainly not true. Every piece of content has an owner and a creator who owns the rights to it. Digital rights management, then, is a system of access control, copy protection, and more that is used to keep digital media safe and free from copyright violations or theft. Through DRM processes, only the right people can access various forms of media through identity authentication, and media protection and service authorization are also put into place.

Ad Personalization

A commonly heard-phrase in the IPTV world is "ad personalization." This one should be relatively self-explanatory, but, just in case you need some clarification, it is the term used when internet or television ads or commercials are or can be altered based on the preferences of the viewer. This is a great way to make advertising more meaningful and more likely to actually work, which is why ad personalization is such a commonly used strategy in the IPTV world. Furthermore, ad personalization also increases customer satisfaction by making customers less annoyed with the ads they have to watch or click on because they have played a role in choosing them themselves.


This term refers to any equipment that is responsible for receiving, storing, and/or processing television signals. The headend unit is typically responsible for delivering basic television, as well as "extras" like interactive features, advertisements, video on demand, and more. Without the use of the headend, IPTV services and IPTV itself would not be available for use by consumers.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a very popular term used in the IPTV world. It basically refers to the allocation of a computer's tasks or functions to multiple other computers, all of which are connected to a network. Through cloud computing, data can be stored, shared, and more without it having to take up space on each individual computer; instead, items and files just exist "in the cloud."

Data Multicasting

Data multicasting is said to be in use when transmitted media channels are offered to many different users via multiple distributed channels. This is a very popular technology offered among IPTV services, so you may want to consider offering data multicasting if you are not already. Otherwise, you could find yourself left in your competition's dust!


These days, it is not at all uncommon for people to watch television and more from their cell phones or mobile devices. In fact, it's very common among millennials who often prefer to watch television and other content this way. That's where MBMS, which stands for multimedia broadcast multicast service, comes in. This is a broadcasting service that is designed to provide mobile television and other content over 3G cellular networks.


This little acronym has been around for a long time, which means you've probably seen it a lot, even if you didn't know exactly what it meant. It stands for "moving pictures experts group," which, in turn, stands for a group that has created a series of standards to be used when compressing digital video for use with digital TV, PVRs, DVDs, and more. You will most commonly see this little file name at the end of video files that you offer, transmit, or even just open.

As you can see, there are a lot of words and terms that get tossed around in the IPTV world, maybe even more than you thought or had heard of. In fact, the words presented here in our glossary are just a small sampling. This means that knowing all of the IPTV words and terms in existence is pretty much impossible. No matter how much you "study up" or educate yourself on the IPTV world, the fact remains that there will probably still be some things that you don't know. Fortunately, most people are more than glad to share their information with you if you just ask.

Use this guide, ask lots of questions, and just be around IPTV as much as you possibly can. Eventually, you will find that your knowledge increases and that everything starts to come together. Hopefully, this guide has been a great help to you in terms of many of the more commonly used terms and phrases, but remember, you never have to stop learning, nor should you.

Plus, when you consider the fact that IPTV technology is constantly growing, changing, and expanding, you'll realize that you HAVE to keep learning because new technologies with new names pop up all the time. If you stop learning, you will quickly fall behind, so just realize that committing yourself to being involved in the IPTV industry is the same thing as committing yourself to being a lifelong learner, and, really, when you think about it, that's a pretty wonderful thing to be, and IPTV is a pretty wonderful industry to be involved in!