What do I need to setup an Internet TV network?

What do I need to setup an Internet TV network?

I have had quite a few requests to write this tutorial/overview.   While it may seem overwhelming with the vast amount of options available, it can be broken down to a few simple items.

#1 – A Server

The base of any good network is the server and this is also where most people fail when setting up an IPTV network.

At this point, you should be familiar with the differences between Shared, VPS and Dedicated hosting solutions.   For an IPTV network, all 3 will work but I recommend at least a low-level VPS (Virtual Private Server).   My company’s networks are all setup via VPS servers from KnownHost (a company I can not recommend enough…. best service I’ve ever dealt with!) and rarely have a problem even when 10’s of thousands of viewers are concurrently watching.

#2 – A Video Distribution Platform

One misconception that I hear a lot is that hosting your own video files is a good way to go.  This is very far from the truth.

Video files are extremely large, so if you are serving them from a shared or VPS server you will only be able to serve a few streams at any given time. To test this I moved our 3 top programs to our VPS server for distribution.  That paticular server is quite powerful, providing 8 CPU cores and 4gig of RAM  (this would be about a 100 times more powerful than the typical “Shared” hosting plan). Within a few minutes our server was basically unresponsive.

The best option is to use a content delivery network that has great features for Video.   The top 2 would be Vimeo Pro and Amazon’s S3/Cloudfront setup.

Vimeo Pro is by far the easiest to setup, offers amazing video encoding and intergrates with Dropbox quite nicely.  For only $199/year it’s an amazing deal.

Amazon S3/Cloudfront is the other option.   It is quite a bit faster at delivering files than Vimeo Pro, but is a lot more complicated to setup and get working properly.

Other options include Wistia, Brightcove and MetaCDN.

#3 – A Content Management System

After you have places to store your website and content, you will need a content management system to handle databasing all of your content and feeding it to the various devices (Roku, Chromecast, etc).

Of course, our RoVidX Pro plugin is built specifically for this purpose.  Other options include Instant Roku Channel TV or one of the video providers that includes Roku distribution.   These other options can be quite pricey and may not offer access to multiple platforms.

RoVidX Pro is easily installed on a WordPress installation on your server and supports all the major players in the Internet TV market.

#4 – Platform Applications

This point seems to be the hardest for people new to IPTV networks to understand.    Every device you want to target will require you to build a specific application to run on that device.  This can be quite the task if you have no programming experience.

For example, Roku is programmed in a custom language known as “Brightscript” (very similar to Visual Basic) and requires you to use the Eclipse development tool in order to compile your application for distribution in their app store.

Amazon’s Fire TV on the other hand, is based on Android which requires you to be quite proficent in Java programming.   They also offer a “Web App” feature that allows you to build a application that resides on your web server, allowing you to use HTML5, CSS and Javascript to build your application.

(Another shameless plug:  RoVidX Pro comes with templates for both the Roku & FireTV devices.  More will be added as we target specific devices.)


These projects are not meant for the novice web master.  They require a lot of reading and understanding of the technology.

That being said, you can learn it and be up and running in a weekend as long as you have the proper tools at your disposal.

Thankfully, I will be doing a lot more tutorials breaking down the information into more bite size chuncks and try to help even the most basic user understand how to build the IPTV network of their dreams.



Rob Davenport is the owner of RoVIDX Media Solutions which is a small company specializing in video production tools for Internet-based broadcasters. He has been recording Internet based audio programs since 2001 (before there was podcasting) and started a video podcast in late 2009.

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