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TV in Canada

IPTV or Internet Protocol Television refers to the delivery of digital television service to subscribers via the Internet Protocol network.

Traditionally, the delivery of television broadcasts to viewers was only done via one-way networks such as satellite and cable. It wasn’t possible for telephone companies to send video signals through their copper wires. However, with the development of two-way Internet broadband access networks, operators can now layer on additional services such as voice and now video.

That explains why telecom providers started delivering television service over digital subscriber line connections about ten years ago. The service also allowed telecom providers to deliver high-speed internet over network lines.

Which Canadian Companies sell IPTV?

Well, IPTV service is available in most parts of the country. Canadian companies offering IPTV include Sask Tel (MaxTV), Telus Corp (Optik TV), and MTS TV in Western Canada and Bell Aliant and Bell Canada (Bell Fibe TV) in Eastern Canada. Bell Canada also offers IPTV service in Quebec, Ontario and Atlantic Canada. There are several smaller IPTV providers such as Zazeen (Distributel), Beanfield (Toronto only) and VMedia to name a few.

Cable Companies vs. IPTV

Canadian cable companies can’t just offer IPTV because of how complex it is to make it work. We’ve already pointed out that television broadcasts were traditionally delivered to viewers through one-way networks such as cable (Comcast, Rogers TV) and satellite (Bell Xpress Vu). You realize that most developments and innovations in the industry today are being built over IP environments. After telephone companies adopting Internet protocol as the primary transport mechanism, the transportation of TV is being done over Internet connections.

On the contrary, cable companies focused on delivering or broadcasting content through a wired connection using broadcast signals. Note the broadcasting was usually done from a central point. The next move by these companies was to engineer their broadcast networks so as to bring internet connectivity on board alongside TV. Now, the problem lies in the fact that the television side can’t allow for IP delivery. That explain the constraints and challenges cable companies are facing in their efforts to offer IPTV. 

What is next for Cable Companies?

The available option for cable companies is to make a move that will allow for the delivery of TV over Internet connections and provide Internet Service to their subscribers. That means they will have to move to all internet protocol networks so that they can repurpose their cable capacity. Understandably any move aimed at bringing change requires time and can be challenging. In this case, the companies have to move their long-standing subscribers from non-IP technology to IP networks.

Well, these companies can opt to continue sending linear TV signals as they use the side with internet connectivity to develop a more interactive and responsive technology. They may also add cloud-based personal video recorder (PVR) features and come up with software upgrades to allow for improved and higher-definition services.

Several cable companies have already shown their commitment to improving their TV products. For instance, Rogers has plans to launch a television service using Comcast Corp.’s X1 Technology. In fact, Shaw has already launched a similar TV service known as Blue Sky TV using the same platform. In 2016, Cisco and Eastlink entered into a partnership before launching an on-demand TV application known as Eastlink Stream. These are some of the efforts by cable companies to improve their television products.


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