First it was Doordarshan, then came cable television which drastically changed our idea of TV viewing. With the DTH service, television viewing had been completely revolutionized, or so we thought. Competing head-on with these methods traditional TV transmission comes IPTV. Now, this one is here to revolutionize the living room experience of the Indian television audience.

IPTV or Internet Protocol Television is the newest television transmission technology which uses the infrastructure of a computer network to bring channels to your television. This technology makes use of your internet broadband connection to deliver channels to your idiot box. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), India’s biggest telecom company, launched its IPTV last year.

Instead of the regular set top box used by the DTH services, BSNL’s IPTV uses a device called the Smart Electronic Device. The TV signals are encoded in an IP-friendly format which is then transmitted over the network. The Smart Electronic Device converts the encoded signal into regular TV signals and transmits them to the television.

If you want to avail the IPTV service from BSNL, you should have the BSNL landline telephone connection. This prerequisite may cause a problem in people opting for the service. It adds an extra burden of either disconnecting a current telephone connection provided by a different company or getting the BSNL connection as an extra one.

IPTV is touted to be the next best thing and considered to score brownie points over the conventional mediums of TV transmission like cable and the DTH service. Let’s understand why.

* IPTV is said to provide another dimension to TV viewing – the flexibility of watching a programme at your own time. One can record multiple TV programmes to be seen later. Thus, viewers will not miss their favourite shows and programmes if they are busy or away at the telecast time.

* IPTV makes TV watching flexible by letting you rewind and pause programmes. Now, viewers will not miss a crucial moment in a cricket match or a movie if they need to answer the door.

* IPTV brings with it the largest bouquet of channels, much larger than the ones provided by the cable service or the DTH service.

* IPTV comes with special features like Video-on-Demand.

* IPTV provides the features of interactive TV making video conferencing possible through it.

The biggest edge of IPTV over its competitors is that it gives viewers a lot of control.

With BSNL’s IPTV, you can avail three services together – a telephone connection, broadband services, and television service. In the West, this convergence of services is popularly referred to as the triple-play service.

With the largest base of telephone landline connections, BSNL is hopeful of making a big splash with its IPTV service. BSNL also says its tariff is affordable.

With the Indian audience becoming more technologically savvy with time, it is likely that IPTV will become popular in due course. BSNL, with its high-speed connectivity, is most likely to be the first choice for potential IPTV consumers.