Most VOD services use Internet Protocol Television technology to stream and host on-demand videos on a device such as smartphone, television and personal computer. The protocol converts packets of Internet data into a television signal, and therefore makes it possible for a standard television set to recognize the signal and play its contents. Telecommunications service providers also use IPTV technology to offer television programming on mobile phones. A VOD service requires a user to subscribe for a high-speed or broadband Internet connection.
Video on Demand refers to multimedia technology that allows viewers to select and watch video content on demand. A VOD device is similar to a virtual video library. It allows the viewer to select a preferred television or a movie video from a broad menu and also offers the viewer ability to control, pause, play-back, record and download video files. Televisions, smartphones, computers, digital video recorders and Xbox consoles all can possibly be used as VOD devices.
Internet Protocol Television
Streaming Versus Hosting
There are two ways in which service providers can offer on-demand videos to end-users. VOD files can be streamed or downloaded onto the device for viewing at a later time. A video downloaded on iTunes and then transferred to an iPhone is an example of how a VOD service can host content on an end-user device. A more advanced-level VOD service involves streaming content in real-time. The content is not hosted on the end-user device, but is streamed converting the Internet connection into a device-compatible broadcast signal.
Content Delivery Devices
Apple TV, VUDU and Xbox are examples of devices that deliver on-demand Internet, television and gaming content to the end-user. They're set-top boxes that viewers typically attach to their television sets. These devices are capable of delivering HD content and use broadband and wireless Internet technology to download content. The devices primarily act as large video libraries. User demanded movies, television programs and games are downloaded and stored in these boxes. The user can then look through the library, select and play the desired content. A subscription from the respective service provider is required for content to be delivered on these devices.
Several telecom, television and Internet media providers now offer VOD services for end-users. ITunes, for instance, now offers a massive library of digital videos, movies and television programs. Apple's video library also offers a VOD interface. Netflix, which was once a mail-order video store, now offers VOD streaming and hosting services via its website. Even major television networks such as ABC, NBC and CBS now offer VOD services, either through their own websites or via third-party providers such as Hulu. Telecom providers such as Verizon also offer television and movie databases for subscribers who use their mobile devices. While some VOD content can be free, premium content is usually sold for a monthly subscription fee.