Welcome to the world of Internet Television.

Internet television is a television service distributed via the internet. Internet TV, or Online TV, is different from Web television and Internet protocol television (IPTV). Internet TV has become very popular in recent years.
Internet television allows the users to choose what they want to watch from an archive of programs or from a channel directory. The two forms of viewing Internet television are streaming the content directly to a media player or simply downloading the program to the user's computer. With the "TV on Demand" market growing, these on-demand websites or applications are a must have for major television broadcasting stations. For example, the BBC iPlayer brings in users which stream more than one million videos per week, with one of the BBC's headline shows The Apprentice taking over three percent to five percent of the UK's internet traffic due to people watching the first episode on the BBC iPlayer.
Every night the use of on-demand television peaks at around 10 pm. Most providers of the service provide several different formats and quality controls so that the service can be viewed on many different devices. Some services now offer a HD service along side their SD, streaming is the same but offers the quality of HD to the device being used, as long as it is using a HD screen. During Peak times the BBC iPlayer transmits 12 GB (gigabytes) of information per second. Over the course of a month the iPlayer sends 7 PB (petabytes) of information.
Before 2006, most catch-up services used peer-to-peer (P2P) networking, in which users download an application and data is shared between the users rather than the service provider. Now most service providers have moved away from the P2P systems and are using only streaming media. The old P2P service was selected because the existing infrastructure could not handle the bandwidth necessary for centralized streaming distribution. Some consumers didn't like their upload bandwidth being consumed by their video player, which partially motivated the rollout of centralized streaming distribution.

Stream Quality

Stream quality refers to the quality of the image and audio transferred from the servers of the distributor to the user.
Higher-quality video such as video in high definition (720p+) requires higher bandwidth and faster connection speeds. The general accepted kbps download rate needed to stream high-definition video that has been encoded with H.264 is 3500, where as standard-definition television can range from 500 to 1500 kbps depending on the resolution on screen.

In the UK, the BBC iPlayer deals with the largest amount of traffic yet it offers HD content along with SD content. As more people get internet connections which can deal with streaming HD video over the internet, the BBC iPlayer has tried to keep up with demand and pace. However, as streaming HD video takes around 1.5 gb of data per hour of video it took a lot of investment by the BBC to implement this on such a large scale. For users which do not have the bandwidth to stream HD video or even high-SD video which requires 1500kbps, the BBC iPlayer offers lower bitrate streams which in turn leads to lower video quality. This makes use of an adaptive bitrate stream so that if the users bandwidth sutvtoolbar.gifddenly drops, iPlayer will lower its streaming rate to compensate for this.

Broadcasting rights

Broadcasting rights vary from country to country and even within provinces of countries. These rights govern the distribution of copyrighted content and media and allow the sole distribution of that content at any one time.
An example of programmes only being aired in certain countries is BBC iPlayer. Users can only stream content from the BBC iPlayer from Britain because the BBC only allows free use of their product for users within the UK because those users pay a television license to fund part of the BBC.
Broadcasting rights can also be restricted to allowing a broadcaster rights to distribute that content for a limited time. Channel 4's online service 4oD can only stream shows created in the US by companies such as HBO for thirty days after they are aired on one of the Channel 4 group channels. This is to boost DVD sales for the companies who produce that media.
Some companies pay very large amounts for broadcasting rights with sports and US sitcoms usually fetching the highest price from UK-based broadcasting stations.

Profit and Costs

With the exception of Internet-connectivity costs many online-television channels or sites are free. These sites maintain this free-television policy through the use of video advertising, short commercials and banner advertisements may show up before a video is played. An example of this is on the abc.com catch-up website; in place of the advertisement breaks on normal television, a short thirty-second advertisement is played. This short advertising time means that the user does not get fed up and money can be made on advertising, to allow web designers to offer quality content which would otherwise cost. This is how online television makes a profit.

Software for Internet TV:
Live TV
Video phone