Internet Protocol television (IPTV) is the delivery of television content over Internet Protocol (IP) networks. This is in contrast to delivery through traditional terrestrial, satellite, and cable television formats. Unlike downloaded media, IPTV offers the ability to stream the source media continuously. As a result, a client media player can begin playing the content (such as a TV channel) almost immediately. This is known as streaming media.
Although IPTV uses the Internet protocol it is not limited to television streamed from the Internet (Internet television). IPTV is widely deployed in subscriber-based telecommunications networks with high-speed access channels into end-user premises via set-top boxes or other customer-premises equipment. IPTV is also used for media delivery around corporate and private networks. IPTV in the telecommunications arena is notable for its ongoing standardisation process (e.g., European Telecommunications Standards Institute).
IPTV services may be classified into live television and live media, with or without related interactivity; time shifting of media, e.g., catch-up TV (replays a TV show that was broadcast hours or days ago), start-over TV (replays the current TV show from its beginning); and video on demand (VOD) which involves browsing and viewing items of a media catalogue.