Chances are if you have watched television lately, you’ve used Internet Protocol Television or IPTV. But what exactly is IPTV? More importantly, is it safe to use? With new options for viewing content coming to market with such frequency, it can be tough to stay up to date on which lesser-known platforms and sites are safe. We’ll share everything you need to know about the risks you might face with IPTV.
What is IPTV?
There are countless ways to watch video content online nowadays, but if you are watching real-time television over the internet, that’s what is referred to as IPTV. IPTV allows viewers to watch TV through their internet connections. It does so by using the Internet Protocol – or the way data is sent from one computer to another – for transmission, while traditional TV utilizes satellite or cable to transmit.
IPTV content continues to grow in popularity because accessing on-demand TV is incredibly convenient. Gone are the days when people had to settle for whatever is on the air or wait for their favorite TV shows to come on. Consumers are increasingly accustomed to convenience, and viewers want to enjoy their favorite television shows whenever they want. All you need to watch IPTV is a smart TV, which is built for streaming TV channels and programs via internet protocol. You can also use IPTV on regular televisions as long as you have an internet connection, a router, and a set-top box such as Apple TV, fire stick, Roku, or Amazon Fire TV. There are a couple of IPTV formats you can use:
- Video on Demand (VOD) – If you use Netflix, Hulu, Youtube TV, Amazon Prime Video, or any of the other countless streaming services, you’ve used video on demand. VOD is exactly what it sounds like. You “demand” what you want to watch, and your streaming service sends it to you over the internet for instant viewing.
- Live IPTV – This allows viewers to view live programs in real-time, just like traditional TV. Live IPTV is popular amongst sports fans, who use platforms like FOX Sports Go, Hulu Live TV, Sling TV, and more to watch their favorite sporting events live.
While using legitimate IPTV streaming services is safe and legal, there are many illegal movie sites and illegal show services that are not safe for consumers to use. Read more below to learn about the dangers of illegal IPTV.
Is IPTV Legal and Safe to Use?
Since IPTV is so convenient and popular amongst consumers, you might be wondering if it’s safe to stream content. That depends on your IPTV service provider. As long as your provider holds the necessary licenses to stream its content, it’s legal and safe to use. However, many services do not hold licenses and thus illegally stream copyrighted content of all kinds. So how do you know if your provider is legitimate?
You can usually tell something is pirated by relying on your gut instinct. Illegal streaming sites are often filled with pop-up ads, poor-quality streams, and claims about free TV content. If a service is offering free IPTV or something that seems too good to be true, like thousands of channels for very cheap, it is probably not legitimate. Additionally, a service is probably breaking laws if it asks consumers to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to hide their IP address before streaming. VPNs hide the location and activity of users, which is appealing if you’re breaking copyright laws.
Luckily, there are many legitimate IPTV services out there. Popular streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are safe for viewing all your favorite content. It is important that, as a consumer, you do the proper due diligence when streaming online. IPTV providers who stream shows, movies, and sporting events without the proper licenses are breaking the law, and if you use those services, you’re breaking the law too.
What are the Dangers of IPTV?
There are several serious risks of streaming illegal IPTV:
Illegal streaming sites may ask for your credit card information to stream content for cheap. Once you enter your financial information into these illegitimate sites, you have no control over where it goes next. You might not get what was promised, but, even worse, your information may be stolen and sold. Remember, these sites are illegal, which means they are not regulated. You might spend a great deal of money on streaming content, only to have the site disappear without any recourse.
Malware and Viruses
If you’ve ever stumbled upon an illegitimate streaming site, you are probably familiar with the barrage of ads and windows that open up. These aggressive ads are not only obnoxious, but they are also designed to trick viewers into downloading malware and viruses. One false click and you could be inviting hackers and viruses onto your device, seriously threatening your security.
This should go without saying but is worth repeating. Streaming illegitimate, pirated content is illegal and when you do so you risk prosecution. In the United States, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) covers copyright infringement and lays out the penalties. A bill passed in 2020 also made providing illegal streaming a felony.
As some consumers cut the cord on their cable TV or the other traditional ways of watching TV in favor of streaming, safety becomes even more important. Fortunately, there are ways to remain vigilant and protect yourself when watching IPTV. The best way to stream safely is to use common sense. You can also learn more about digital piracy on our FAQ page as well as find safe options for viewing your favorite content on our Where to Watch page. StreamSafely is here to help you protect yourself, your data, and your devices and ensure you can enjoy your shows with peace of mind!