Practical Guide to IPTV / Cut The Cord / What to buy / How to Start (Updated)
What is IPtv (layman terms)? IPTV is a the new way to deliver digital media content to end-users. Anyone can setup an IPTV server and then broadcast your media (or channel) to multiple users. IPTV uses Stalker.
What is Stalker? Stalker is a middleware protocol that is used to deliver the content to you. To put it as an analogy, the website is like an IPTV channel - and just like website uses HTTP protocol, IPTV uses middlware protocol to transfer data/media to you.
Is IPTV available for me? Short answer maybe. IPTV require as stable internet connection AND good latency timing with the server. If your router or internet is overloaded your channels will freeze / skip often. If the server sending the IPTV signal to you is over-loaded then that will cause freeze / blank screen etc. as well. What I have gathered a normal channel uses about 0.5MB stream. What everyone recommends is that you should have 20mbps download connection (I have unlimited internet, so I didn't bother checking how many MB it takes with 1 hour of watching TV)
Is IPTV legal? IPTV is just a protocol, you can setup your own server and host whatever content you wish.
Is Dish Service through IPTV legal in Canada? I have no idea. Better call saul, he probably knows more :p
How do I get IPTV? you will need a "box" to handle the IPTV service. You will need to know what server URL is providing you the content (Servers usually authenticate through MAC address of the box).
What is MAC address? Any device that gets on to the internet has a name that is burnt onto it (that can't be changed) - Although KODI allows you to spoof it. It is called MAC address, sometime it has different name (Lexmark calls it UAA, apple something else). It’s in format xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
How do I get on to a server? Go on kijiji and look for IPTV providers. Most of them are resellers. You can expect to pay anywhere from $7 to $20 / month. The cheapest solutions aren't the best. Their prime channels freeze on prime hours (when everyone is watching). Different providers provide different channel line up. Some providers are better for certain ethnic channels. Some are better for other content. There are new ones popping everyday - you can ask you reseller, sometime they can give you couple of hour preview to a provider before you pay.
What is this "box"? A box can be virtually any media box (hardware). Linux based. Android Based. PC. There are tons and more coming as time progresses. Let me categorize them for you:
- Android TV: Cost:$100 to $300. E.g. NVidia Shield. Xiaomi MiBox. Android TV is different than regular Android. Its more suited for remote use. You have most apps available from playstore.
- Android OS (generic Chinese):Cost:$25 to $100. E.g. BeeLink, S95, Anything with S905/s905x/Realtek chipsets.
- Android OS (Brand Names):Cost: $50 to $300. E.g.
- Linux: MAG254 / MAG256. Cost: $100 to $150.
- Anything that runs newer KODI (15.2 and above) - that includes HTPC / PC / shield / nexus box / roku / fire stick/ etc.
- Download STB Emulator app from googleplay (or pay $7 for ad-free version). Android ONLY.
- Dedicated app on certain boxes (that cannot be ported to other box / system). This also includes MAG254 box or AVOV TvOnline boxes or Android box.
- *Some IPTV service have their own app, so doesn't matter what box do you have - as soon you enable it - Service Provider GUI will show up. Hence, you are using MAG254 box and you subscribe to them their interface will show up.
- Xiaomi Mi Box (international version) = SMART IPTV APP =
- AVOV / IPTV Service Provider GUI:
- BUZZ XPL 3000:
BEST of the BEST:
Edit: Its not as simple to pick THE BEST. It comes down to your needs.
- If you are looking for best IPTV experience *ONLY* - you should get Mag256 by Infomir. (Apparently there are lot of fake ones out there so careful you are getting it from someone who is not shady). Problem with Mag256 is that it can only do YouTube and IPTV channels. The "dish" experience on it is as good as actual satellite receiver. Changing multiple channels will be in real-time with no lag. The box doesn't crash / freeze. The firmware upgrades is just one click away. If you are getting something for older parents - this is the one to get. The infra-red remote is better than most android boxes I have tried so far.
(I have not tried Mag256 myself, only played a little bit with it and it seems as fast as Mag254. There used to be issues with MAg256 but they seem to be sorted out.)
MAg254 box runs Linux and only have youtube and vimeo on it. If you want Netflix etc, you have to look at other solutions.
- If simplicity is not a huge concern - I will say suggest:
1. Amazon FireTV 2nd / 3rd Gen: It supports Netflix in HD/4k resolution (only authorized devices can have HD / 4k mode). For IPTV, use the provider that provides APK or use stbEmu or PRO
2. Buzz 3000 XPL : This is Android 6.0 with powerful CPU allows most apps (netflix is still in "tablet" mode. Meaning no 4K). Dedicated IPTV App - can also use APK from appstore
Quality of Channels: Most of the ethnic channels are 380 / 480 range. If you have local Canadian channels (usually in HD) HD means 720p. Its extremely rare that you will run into 1080p "channel" on IPTV. All this is dependent on the server. E.g., you could have TBS as HD on one server but if you subscribe to another service they may have it on Low quality. I personally find that even low quality is generally very good (similar to free to air non-HD channels). Some services are starting to use H265 codec (half the bandwidth for same quality). If your box doesn't support H265 codec (e.g. FireStick Gen1, MAg254) Software decoding maybe an option that will still be workable.
Video-on-Demand: Virtually all servers provide "Video Club" option. They load latest torrent movies in there (not all but generally big titles). That you can watch with just a click. You can fwd / reverse as well. (There are no TV shows or PPV events etc - generally speaking). They are *NOT* streaming through torrents.
What box do I recommend?
- If you do need liveTV IPTV streams ONLY - MAg254 >> Mag256 is the best
- If you need LiveTV and other options (NetFlix etc) - Xiamo Mi Box (international version?) , Buzz XPL3000 should be your top choices. You compromise the least. You have newer OS so you can keep up with things.
- Dreamlink came out with 1-2 new boxes as well in comptetion to XPL3000 , they will probably good choice too.
What are these "other content" that I mentioned above? I think RFD policy doesn't allow me to say much about it - so you will just have to google it.
As mentioned above - I don't know it all. Feel free to ask and I can try to answer any Qs.
If you do want to fund me - feel free to send me money or press like below
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