What is Video on Demand?

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  • Written By: Garry Crystal
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2019
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Video on demand is a great way of viewing films and television programs. It eliminates the need to go to your video store to buy films and provides access to a wide collection of material. The technology has become so sophisticated that viewers can watch a film they have chosen, rewind and then watch it again.

A type of pay per view system, video on demand was originally introduced in Hong Kong in 1990. It did not take off immediately, as it was cheaper to buy video CDs than to pay for this type of viewing. In the years since, it has become part and parcel of most cable and network systems.

There are both streaming systems and downloadable video on demand. The streaming system allows the viewer to watch the film as it is being downloaded to a system. Downloadable means that the film is fully downloaded to a set top box before someone can start viewing.

The video on demand system has all the functionality of a DVD. Viewers can rewind, pause and fast forward the film, just as they can a DVD. A lot of cable companies permit the viewing of the film for a set amount of time, so customers can download the film and then watch it whenever they choose.


These services seems to be bad news for video rental stores. Most have hundreds of films, ranging from new titles to old favorites. They also have a wide range of television programs that people can download and view. Some providers even have entire seasons of a program that can be watched over a certain period of time.

Also a lot of video on demand providers offer free access to already shown television programs as part of their package. Customers may only have to pay for the most recent film titles, not older television programs. The list of programs and films seem to be endless with some providers. Viewers can watch not only film and television programs, but also sporting events, music and reality television shows. If it can be viewed on a screen, it is most likely offered.


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Discuss this Article

Post 6

Dear Deepa, IPTV and ITV both are same. IPTV means TV service using Internet Protocol. Thank you.

Post 5

What is the difference between iptv and internet tv?

Post 4

Are these avi files? Will I be able to download, burn and watch a clear, great quality movie?

Post 3

You'd have to check with your cable provider, but I don't think that on demand services are free--most come with a small fee of a few dollars.

Though I don't know for certain, I would expect that they'd show up on your statement. Certainly if you're being billed for them, they will.

Post 2

Will all the free On Demand purchases show up on my billing statement?

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