It differs from IPTV in that IPTV offerings are typically offered on discrete service provider networks,requiring a special IPTV set-top-box.
Internet TV is a quick-to-market and relatively low investment service. Internet TV rides on existing infrastructure including broadband, ADSL, Wi-Fi, cable and satellite which makes it a valuable tool for a wide variety of service providers and content owners looking for new revenue streams.
Many internet television "portals" are available which include links to live feeds as well as built-in viewers. Although the live television streams are free, most portals are supported by advertising revenue as well.
Those that create valued and interesting video products now have the opportunity to distribute them directly to a large audience - something impossible with the previous television distributing models (closed software, closed hardware, closed network). The free model has been used around the globe by local and independent television channels aiming for niche target audiences, or to build a collaborative environment for media production, a platform for citizens' media. It isn't strictly a citizen's format either as the broadcast model used in television for decades will begin to find competition in Internet television supported by advertising.
The recent rapid growth of fast broadband access, accelerated computer power and larger storage capacity has turned Internet TV into a real opportunity for service providers who want to open new revenue streams and increase ARPU.
A major advantage of Internet TV is that it allows content delivery to a huge population with virtually no geographical limitations. But while Internet TV is a much easier and cheaper way of publishing content, operators who are pondering whether to launch an Internet TV service nevertheless have to carefully assess the factors affecting their business cases.
High-quality Internet TV services require subscribers to have continuous access to high bandwidth, so pricing, bandwidth, and network neutrality (at least in the US) are all interdependent factors affecting the business case for Internet TV. For example, while subscribers are generally required to pay more for higher internet bandwidth, it doesn't automatically guarantee good enough bandwidth quality for receiving Internet TV services. So to receive Internet TV, a subscriber will be required to subscribe to an even higher premium service which may present a barrier to scaling up subscribers quickly.
There are many ways to deliver video over an IP network and many buzzwords have been applied to these various ways and are sometimes used interchangeably.
IPTV is commonly referred to those services operated and controlled by the same company that operates and controls the "Last Mile" to the consumers' premises. An IPTV service is usually delivered over a complex and investment heavy walled garden network, which is carefully engineered to ensure bandwidth efficient delivery of vast amounts of multicast video traffic. The higher network quality also enables easy delivery of high quality SD or HD TV content to subscribers’ homes.
Internet TV, by definition, is created, managed and distributed via the open Internet. It rides on existing infrastructure and normally refers to those services sourced over the Internet by service providers that cannot control the final delivery. Again, transport streams in IP packets are used with one or more services per transport stream.
Other TV-like services are available on the Internet but these send the video and the audio in separate streams over the IP network and do not use transport streams.
Whilst the differences may seem irrelevant to the consumer, the underlying technology employed is quite different and directly affect the range and quality of service that can be achieved. IPTV users are limited to a relatively small range of programs but at high quality, whereas an Internet TV user may have access to many thousands of channels from literally all over the world but without any guarantee of being able to watch them. Streaming services such as YouTube generally offer User Generated Content UGC as individual short clips rather than professionally produced programs or films grouped as a channel.