Is this the TV of the future? Here is the test of IPTV of Cyfrowy Polsat

Some time ago we informed you that Cyfrowy Polsat is launching an interesting new service, namely cable TV in IPTV technology, thanks to which reception of TV channels will be possible via the Internet.

The solution came to our editorial office so we could test it, and now we will share our observations with you. Let’s start with what IPTV is in general. In a nutshell, it’s a technology that allows TV signals to be transmitted over IP-based broadband networks. What is more, IPTV allows providers to extend their offer with additional functionalities, thanks to which the viewers can freely watch available content, bringing the classic TV model much closer to video-on-demand services. Is it bad? On the contrary, because as we well know VOD is the future of consuming content, which is well demonstrated by the huge popularity of streaming services.

What does it look like in Cyfrowy Polsat? In order to receive TV in the new form one needs an EVOBOX IP decoder, and the operator makes it available when purchasing a selected TV package, even from the proverbial zloty. The EVOBOX IP decoder is small in size (12.2 x 11.5 x 2.8 cm), features a fairly modern design and its performance does not raise any objections, it easily fits into any interior (and takes up very little space). On the back of the decoder you will find 5 sockets, i.e. optical for digital audio, ETHERNET, HDMI, USB and power supply, and its installation is trivial and comes down to connecting the power supply and a network cable or wireless connection to our Wi-Fi network. First of all, we do not need any satellite dish, which of course has its advantages, but sometimes its installation is troublesome or even impossible due to home infrastructure or location, so IPTV is the perfect solution.

To use it, we need a landline Internet connection from Plus, Netia or Orange with a minimum download speed of 8 Mbps for one decoder. There should be no problem with the speed, especially that Plus has just extended its internet offer by . Speeds and prices of the fixed line start from 150 MB/s and 60 PLN/month, and users get not only a Wi-Fi router (which is of course standard), but also an additional SIM card to use for mobile Internet transfer with a 5 GB packet every month (the packet can be increased if needed). The choice of operators is slightly worse, but we hope that it will expand over time.

The decoder is operated traditionally with a remote control – it is a little bit unfortunate that this one is not more modern, but the most important thing is that it provides access to all major options. For the operation of the system is responsible closed-source software supplied by ADB, with which we had no problems during testing. The whole system worked smoothly, allowing, inter alia, for quick channel switching, use of menus or additional functionality, and is very intuitive in use, so really every user can cope with it. As we have already written, we are dealing with television in IPTV format, so it offers additional options in addition to the same program offer. We are talking, for example, about the possibility of creating lists of favorite channels, advanced search and programming or playback of multimedia files from USB drives and DLNA servers in the local network (LAN). I was personally most interested in them, because I really appreciate the comfort of using streaming services that allow me to watch whatever I want, whenever I want.

The first of them is reStart, which allows you to watch selected programs from linear channels from the beginning, so while standing in line at the store or in traffic you don’t have to worry that you will be late for your favorite program, movie or match, because all it takes is a few clicks and it starts again for you. The second option is TimeShift which allows you to pause and rewind selected programs for up to 3 hours in case you want to watch some fragments of a show again because, for example, someone interrupted you with a phone call or a knock at the door. There is still a third option left, i.e. CatchUP, which enables us to watch selected programs up to 7 days back from their emission – simply speaking, it is a time-limited VoD service without additional fees and the necessity of recording, which additionally enables us to select programs also from linear channels and not only from a specific base of films and series.

Anyway, if we choose the right package, we will also get access to the classic streaming service HBO GO, which makes the offer of Cyfrowy Polsat even more attractive. Each package also includes access to Cyfrowy Polsat GO. To be honest, before the tests I was sceptical about this solution but it soon turned out that I was wrong – IPTV is a great option for all those who appreciate the independence of streaming services on the one hand and have their favourite programmes on the other hand and do not want to give up traditional TV. Here we have a two-in-one access to linear channels and selected programs can be watched at any time – and what is more, also on mobile devices.

In addition, you can not say a bad word about the image quality – especially in the case of channels broadcast in HD. However, we must take into account that the bitrate of the channels had to be limited due to the low requirements of the Internet connection, so the provider can reach a much larger audience. But it does not interfere with providing adequate signal quality also in the case of more dynamic transmissions, especially live ones, see sports. However, we cannot forget about the dependence of IPTV on the Internet – it is enough to interrupt the network and the TV cannot be watched. It should also be noted that in terms of sound we can choose between stereo and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound.

for SD channels:

-720×[email protected] bitrate 780 kbps

-960×[email protected] bitrate 1.618Mbps

for HD channels:

-960×[email protected] bitrate 1.618Mbps

-1280×[email protected] bitrate 2.8 Mbps

-1920×[email protected] bitrate 5.0 Mbps

for Super HD channels:

-960×[email protected] bitrate 1.618 Mbps

-1280×[email protected] bitrate 2.8 Mbps

-1920×[email protected] bitrate 8.0 Mbps

IPTV cable TV is a very good solution for many households, especially that Cyfrowy Polsat offers it in almost the same packages as its satellite services, so everybody will find an option suitable for them. The offer with 70 channels, including Cinemax, costs PLN 20 per month, but we may also choose a package with additionally 3 Eleven Sports channels for PLN 30 per month or a richer one with 138 channels for PLN 60 per month. The most advanced option with a full offer and premium channels, i.e. 152 channels (including over 90 in HD quality) with HBO, Eleven Sports and Polsat Sport Premium, costs PLN 120/month. It is worth mentioning that Cyfrowy Polsat offers a possibility of combining IPTV with other services of the company and Plus network (including fibre-optic internet) under the smartDOM program. What is more, we can test the new service for free for 14 days within the “Trial TV” promotion in landline outlets, which is important because later we have to decide to sign a 2-year contract.

To sum up, IPTV cable TV is an innovative and very interesting solution. It will certainly be appreciated by people who, for various reasons, such as home infrastructure or location constraints, could not decide to use satellite TV – what’s more, they can forget about the need to install a dish and the connection of the IPTV decoder is trivial. The whole system works very smoothly, the channels switch instantly, the HD image quality is satisfactory and additional features such as reStart, TimeShift or CatchUP make it possible to watch TV on your own terms, with a lot of freedom to choose the time and programs you are interested in. And 14 days for a free trial of the service is enough time for everyone to find out whether it is a solution for them.

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