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IPTV showing at a computer near you

Airman 1st Class Allison La Praim, a general law paralegal of 1st Special Operations Wing Judge Advocate, watches internet protocol television on her computer at Hurlburt Field, Fla., April 5, 2012. IPTV enables users to watch television through the base network from their desktop computer. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Gustavo Castillo)(Released)

Airman 1st Class Allison La Praim, a general law paralegal of 1st Special Operations Wing Judge Advocate, watches internet protocol television on her computer at Hurlburt Field, Fla., April 5, 2012. IPTV enables users to watch television through the base network from their desktop computer. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Gustavo Castillo)(Released)

Airman 1st Class Bruce Williams, cyber systems operator of 1st Special Operations Communications Squadron, demonstrates how internet protocol television is broadcasted with the use of a set top box at his squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla.,  March 27, 2012. A set top box enables users to connect IPTV to their television. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Hayden Hyatt)(Released)

Airman 1st Class Bruce Williams, cyber systems operator of 1st Special Operations Communications Squadron, demonstrates how internet protocol television is broadcasted with the use of a set top box at his squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla., March 27, 2012. A set top box enables users to connect IPTV to their television. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Hayden Hyatt)(Released)

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- With the popularity of websites like YouTube and Hulu, more people are becoming accustomed to watching television on their personal computers.

The 1st Special Operations Communications Squadron now incorporates this trend on base with the recent launch of the internet protocol video distribution system known as IPTV.

IPTV is a system that allows users to view media from broadcast cable channels through the base network on their desktop computer. Airmen who have access to the base network may view IPTV through a shared link, no additional equipment or installation is required.

"For a user, it's very flexible," said Lt. Col. James Sahm, commander of 1st SOCS. "It doesn't add any additional impact to the network and it's available on any network computer."

Aside from its ease of use, IPTV will provide Hurlburt Field with a new avenue to enhance situational awareness among Airmen by distributing news and weather information directly to their computer.

"We look at multimedia and Facebook as a way to push information," Sahm said. "There's other opportunities to not only push cable television here but also to broadcast other things like a Commander's Call, unit training videos or mass notifications."

IPTV offers the following programming: ABC, CBS, CNN Headline News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NBC and the Weather Channel. These new capabilities will enable Hurlburt Field to reach a vast amount of Airmen more easily at any time and in any condition.

"IPTV is serviced by a satellite and its service is more accessible in the event of storms or emergency alerts," said Senior Airman Jeffrey Gilmore, cyber transport technician at 1st SOCS.
 
In line with the Air Force's initiative to save money, IPTV will significantly reduce Hurlburt Field's cable costs as it serves as an alternative to regular cable. Currently the base spends nearly $240,000 per year for cable for more than 1,000 users. With IPTV, the base can deliver a similar service to 500 users for about $11,000 per year after the initial warranty. Based on the base's need, the system can deliver television for up to 5,000 users with the ability to expand to 10,000 users.

Once the integration phases are complete, a vast majority of televisions on base will transition to IPTV reducing reliance on regular cable with the use of a set top box. Similar to a cable box, a set top box allows users to connect to IPTV through their televisions.

"We'll still have cable television in places like lodging and the gym and other common areas," Sahm said. "In some of the work areas we'll be able to maximum efficiency by putting television on our network that we already maintain."

To access IPTV, visit: http://151.166.19.75/Multicasts4.aspx.