RTV Is this what future television looks like? This is the IPTV test

Some time ago, we informed that Cyfrowy Polsat is launching a new interesting service, namely cable television in IPTV technology, thanks to which the reception of TV channels will be possible via the Internet.

This solution went to our editorial office, thanks to which we could test it and now we will share our insights with you. Let’s start with what IPTV television is all about. In short, it is a technology that allows transmission of television signals in IP-based broadband networks. IPTV also allows suppliers to extend the offer with additional functionalities, thanks to which the recipients get very much freedom to watch available content, significantly approaching the classic television model to video on demand services. Is it wrong? Quite the opposite, because as we know well VOD is the future of consuming content, which is well demonstrated by the huge popularity of streaming services.

And how does it look at Cyfrowy Polsat? To receive television in a new form, an EVOBOX IP decoder is needed, and the operator makes it available when buying a selected TV package even from the proverbial zloty. This is a small size (12.2 x 11.5 x 2.8 cm), it is characterized by a quite modern design, and its implementation raises no objections, easily fit into any interior (and takes up very little space). On the back of the decoder we find 5 slots, i.e. optical to transmit digital audio, ETHERNET, HDMI, USB and power, and its installation is trivial and boils down to connecting power and a network cable or wireless connection to our Wi-Fi network. Above all, we do not need any satellite dish, which of course has its advantages, but sometimes its installation is cumbersome or impossible, due to the home infrastructure or location conditions, so IPTV is the perfect solution here.

To use it, we need a fixed internet connection from Plus, Netia or Orange with a minimum download speed of 8 Mb / s for one decoder. Speed ​​should not be a problem, the more so that Plus has just expanded its internet offer with optical fiber. Speeds and fixed line prices start from 150 MB / s and 60 PLN / month, and users get not only a Wi-Fi router (which is of course standard), but also an additional SIM card to use as part of the mobile internet transfer with a 5 GB package month (the package can be enlarged if necessary). The issue of selecting operators is a bit worse, but we hope that it will expand over time.

The decoder is traditionally served by the pilot – a little pity that this is not more modern, but most importantly, that provides access to all the most important options. The closed system software supplied by ADB, which we did not have any problems with during the tests, is responsible for the system’s operation. The whole worked well, allowing, among others for fast channel switching, the use of menus or additional functionalities, and it is very intuitive to use, so anyone can really handle it. As we have already mentioned, we are dealing with TV in IPTV format, so this one offers additional options besides the program offer itself. We are talking about the possibility of creating lists of favorite channels, advanced search and programming, or playing multimedia files from a USB drive and DLNA servers in a local area network (LAN). Noteworthy, however, are 3 functions, thanks to which watching TV starts to resemble video on demand service – I was personally interested in them, because every day I appreciate the comfort of using streaming services, thanks to which I watch what I want and when I want.

The first of these is reStart, which allows you to watch selected programs from linear channels from the beginning, that is, standing in the queue in the store or traffic jam we do not have to worry that we are late for a favorite program, movie or match, because just a few clicks and this it starts again for us. The second option is TimeShift, which allows you to stop and scroll through selected programs for up to 3 hours, in case you want to watch fragments of a show again, because someone has knocked us out with a phone call or knocking on the door. We have the third option, CatchUP, which allows you to watch selected programs up to 7 days back from their broadcast – to put it simply, it is a time-limited VoD service, no additional fees and the need to record, which allows you to additionally select programs from channels linear, not just a specific database of movies and series.

Anyway, if we choose the right package, we will also gain access to the classic HBO GO streaming service, which makes the offer of Cyfrowy Polsat seem even more attractive. In each package, however, there is access to Cyfrowy Polsat GO. I must admit that before the tests I was skeptical about this, but it soon turned out that wrongly – IPTV is a great proposition for all people who on the one hand value the independence of streaming services, on the other have their favorite programs and do not want to give up traditional television. Here we have two in one, i.e. access to linear channels, and selected programs can be viewed at any time – and moreover, also on mobile devices.

For this you can not say a bad word about image quality – especially for channels broadcast in HD. However, we must take into account that the bitrate of channels had to be limited due to the low internet connection requirements, thanks to which the provider can reach a much larger audience. However, this does not prevent the transmission of a signal of a suitable quality also in the case of more dynamic transmissions, especially live, see sport. However, one can not forget about the dependence of IPTV on the Internet – just a break in the operation of the network and television can not be watched. It should also be noted that in terms of sound we can choose between stereo and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound.

Bandwidth used:

for SD channels:

•720×[email protected] bitrate 780 kbps

•960×[email protected] bitrate 1,618Mbps

for HD channels:

•960×[email protected] bitrate 1,618 Mbps

•1280×[email protected] bitrate 2,8 Mbps

•1920×[email protected] bitrate 5,0 Mbps

for Super HD channels:

•960×[email protected] bitrate 1,618 Mbps

•1280×[email protected] bitrate 2,8 Mbps

•1920×[email protected] bitrate 8,0 Mbps

IPTV cable television is a very good solution for many households, especially that Cyfrowy Polsat makes it available in almost the same packages as its satellite services, so everyone will find the right option. The offer with 70 channels, including Cinemax cinemas, costs PLN 20 per month, but we can also choose a package with an additional 3 Eleven Sports channels for PLN 30 / month. or richer with 138 channels for PLN 60 / month. The most awesome option with the full offer and premium channels, i.e. 152 channels (of which over 90 in HD quality) from HBO, Eleven Sports and Polsat Sport Premium, costs PLN 120 / month. By the way, it is worth mentioning that Cyfrowy Polsat gives the possibility to combine IPTV with other services of its and the Plus network (also with fiber optic Internet) as part of the smartDOM program. What’s more, we can check the new service completely for free for 14 days as part of the “TV for a try” promotion in the stationary sales outlets, and it is important that later we have to decide to sign a 2-year contract.

In conclusion, IPTV cable TV is an innovative and very interesting solution. People who for various reasons, such as home infrastructure or location conditions, will certainly appreciate them – we can forget about the need to install a plate, and the connection of an IPTV decoder is very easy. The whole works very well, the channels switch quickly, the HD picture quality is satisfying, and additional decoder functions, such as reStart, TimeShift or CatchUP, make us watch TV on our own terms, with a great deal of freedom to choose the time and programs that interest us. 14 days for free testing of the service is a sufficient time for everyone to see if it’s the solution for him.