Ars Technica has posted an excellent introduction to IPTV. If you’ve been looking for a big-picture overview of this technology, this is a good place to start.
IPTV describes a system capable of receiving and displaying a video stream encoded as a series of Internet Protocol packets. If you’ve ever watched a video clip on your computer, you’ve used an IPTV system in its broadest sense. When most people discuss IPTV, though, they’re talking about watching traditional channels on your television, where people demand a smooth, high-resolution, lag-free picture, and it’s the telcos that are jumping headfirst into this market.