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What is an IPTV Box? What You Need to Know Before Switching to an IPTV Service


Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:17 am

An IPTV box, also known as an IPTV set-top box, is an Internet-enabled device used to receive streaming video (live TV and video-on-demand content) and send it to a display device like a TV.

The video data transmitted through a broadband network is converted into a format that a TV can understand and read.

In other words, an IPTV box decodes the IP packets delivered by the IPTV provider to display the video content on your television

What You Need to Use an IPTV Box

Broadband Internet Connection

To use an IPTV box you would need a broadband Internet connection. You would need at least a speed of 30Mbps to ensure smooth video streaming.


Next, you would need an HDTV to easily connect your IPTV box to it through an HDMI connection.

If you don’t have an HDTV, then you may use an analog connection to connect your IPTV box to your TV.

An analog TV, however, wouldn’t deliver optimum video quality.

Electronic Program Guide

An IPTV box comes with a pre-installed electronic program guide or EPG. This feature will allow you to browse and watch the available channels.

Built-In Media Player

When you aren’t watching streaming video, you may use your IPTV box as a media player.

IPTV boxes come with USB ports. Just plug in your flash drive containing video or audio files.

Personal Video Recorder Feature

Some IPTV boxes may come with a personal video recorder (PVR) feature. You may use it to record TV shows to view at a later time.

You may also install media player apps like VLC and MX Player and Kodi to play back your AV files.

It is important to note that an IPTV box does not provide television channels or content on its own, it only allows you to access the content provided by an IPTV provider to which you have subscribed.

Types of IPTV Boxes

Internet Subscription-Based

The first type of TV box comes with an Internet subscription offered by an Internet service provider.

These boxes are usually bundled together in a package that includes an Internet, telephone, and IPTV service.

The boxes also bear the brand logos of Internet service providers.

The IPTV boxes are usually offered free in exchange for a contract you sign to use the service.

If you decide to end your subscription at the end of the contract, you must give the IPTV box back to the Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Every country has a major Internet service provider that offers an IPTV service. Some are state-controlled or semi-government setups.

What Can You View from Subscription-Based IPTV Boxes

Exclusive Programs

The Internet service provider controls the video content you can view through the IPTV box.

The Internet TV box is configured with a proprietary app that offers various packages.

You can’t install any third-party apps on the IPTV box. These IPTV boxes come with apps pre-installed.

So, if you want to watch other independent streaming services, you would have to buy a non-subscription-based IPTV box.

Video On Demand (VOD)

You can also view the video on demand (VOD) for additional charges.

Some services even offer third-party streaming services like Netflix or Prime Video as add-on packages.

In order to maintain the service’s subscriber base, this is occasionally provided at a discount.

Non-Subscription-Based IPTV Boxes

If you don’t wish to be tied down to an IPTV service contract, then you may buy an IPTV box on the open market.

But then you may not be able to watch certain programs that come with a subscription-based IPTV service.

Some IPTV services even produce their own shows, too. If you want to watch them you’ve got to subscribe to their services.

Generic IPTV Box

However, if you’re not interested in live TV shows and instead just wish to watch movies, you can buy a generic IPTV box and install the necessary apps.

The most popular type of generic IPTV box is called the Android TV box. It supports the installation of any video streaming app.

With a generic IPTV box, you don’t have to sign up for a subscription to watch shows.

You can watch free streaming videos through apps like Bee TV and Moviebox.

You’re also free to choose other services which offer hundreds if not thousands of live TV shows.

Generally, these IPTV boxes come with some preinstalled apps like YouTube, Netflix, and Prime Video.

Check out some generic IPTV boxes.

How Does a TV Box Work?

Generally, there are two types of connections needed for an IPTV box to work.

First, the box needed to be connected to the Internet. You can do this either through a LAN (Ethernet) cable connected to your modem or you may use WiFi.

Next, you’ll need an HDMI cable to connect the IPTV box to your TV. If your TV doesn’t have an HDMI port, then you may use an AV (composite or S-Video) connection.

The video below will give you a quick idea of how to set up your IPTV box should you buy one on the open market.

IPTV Box Alternatives

TV boxes aren’t the only way to watch streaming videos.

Let’s check out some alternatives.

Smart TVs

Smart TVs have IPTV functionality enabled. As such you can dispense with the need for an IPTV box.

They come pre-installed with popular apps like YouTube, Netflix,, Google Play Movies & TV and Amazon Prime, among others.

Streaming Devices

These streaming devices don’t come in the shape of a box. Still, they’re classified as IPTV boxes, generally.

Examples include Google Chromecast with Google TV, Xiaomi Mi TV Stick and TiVo Stream 4K, among others.

They’re handy and can easily be plugged into an HDMI slot on your TV set.

Computer Software

Another attractive IPTV box alternative is IPTV computer software. You would install it like any other software program into your computer.

Then by using your mouse, you can select from a menu of shows.

IPTV Live TV listing menu

Examples of IPTV software programs include MyIpTV, Simple TV and ProgTV.

Mobile Apps

Most folks spend more time on their mobile devices rather than on their TVs or computers.

Mobile apps ensure that they don’t miss out on TV shows when they’re traveling or outdoors.

If you’re using an Android mobile device, you can install most of these apps from the Google Play Store.

Some are free and others would need paid subscriptions for you to watch shows.

Examples of IPTV apps include TiviMate IPTV Player, Perfect Player IPTV, and IPTV Extreme.

If you’re new to the game. you may want to grab Prime Video channels for a 30-day free trial to get a feel of things.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are IPTV boxes illegal?

IPTV boxes are not illegal. They’re just video devices like DVD players. However, you must be careful about what apps you install on your IPTV box.

Some apps stream content without authorization from copyright holders.

When an IPTV box is used with such illegal apps, then it would be deemed illegal.

How do You Install Netflix on an IPTV Box?

Most IPTV boxes come with pre-installed popular streaming apps. Examples are YouTube, Prime Video, and Netflix.

If yours doesn’t come with Netflix installed, you may install the app through the Google Play Store app.

But then you must have subscribed to Netflix first before you can view any of the shows.

Where Can You Buy an IPTV Box?

To get a wide range of IPTV box options and get the best prices you may want to shop online for one.

Amazon is a reliable place to buy quality IPTV boxes at attractive prices.

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