IPTV, streaming, Cuba, Cubanos

IPTV, a streaming variant that is becoming popular in Cuba

Havana Cuba. — While the regime continues with the transition to the digital signal of its eight official channels, Cubans continue in search of better sources of information and entertainment.

Since the nineties of the last century there have been television services on the Island through clandestine satellite antennas. This, despite the fines, confiscation of equipment and prison sentences against those who receive these signals.

the acquaintance “weekly package” —a compendium of audiovisual material that is shared via USB devices— is another way out of bad programming. However, its content is monitored and censored by the authorities.

With the arrival of the Internet on the Island, IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) pirate applications have become widespread. These allow Cubans not to miss live broadcasts like those of the Champions League of European football, one of the most followed competitions in the country.

What is IPTV?

Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) is the most common denomination for subscription distribution systems of pay television signals using broadband connections over the IP protocol. Unofficial apps for Android and IOS emerged around this technology that can be used to watch almost any foreign channel for free.

It is an illegal and unsafe method because most of the time it is about unauthorized retransmissions that do not offer security of any kind or support to the consumer.

If an IPTV technology provider does not have their application listed on Google Play, Amazon Play Store or other official store, it is most likely unverified and it is an unauthorized transmission.

There are hundreds of web pages that share so-called “m3u lists”, a small file with links to servers that have channel lists. The m3u can be run with applications that organize, save the list and play the selected channels. Official IPTV providers offer these links protected with username and password.

List of IPTV channels (Photo: Screenshot/Courtesy of the author)

To access this service, you need an Internet connection —preferably a speed of over 25 Mbps— and an application or streaming device that is responsible for managing the service.

Among the most recognized legal providers of this technology are YouTube TV, Sling TV, Philo, AT&T TV (DirecTV Stream), Pluto TV and many more.

How is IPTV used in Cuba?

Facebook group users “Great goal at 90” contacted by CubaNet They assure that the most used IPTV in Cuba are “HN IPTV” and “Tele Latino”. These applications include TV channels by default. In order to use them, they must be downloaded from the Internet as APK files (Android application format).

“A friend passed me the application to watch football live. When they are going to broadcast an important game, we gather mobile balance together and buy an Internet package, because this (IPTV) consumes megabytes like you can’t imagine,” Yosbel Padrón, a young man living in the province of Mayabeque, told this newspaper.

IPTV, a streaming variant that is becoming popular in Cuba
(Photo: Golazo al 90/Facebook)

According to Yosbel, the only way to make IPTV channels work is through the 4G network, as it is the fastest. However, “it is not enough for it to work smoothly.”

Another problem faced by IPTV consumers is the prices of Internet packages.

“Watching streaming videos is one of the services that uses the most internet megabytes. Not even thinking about watching movies or soap operas that way,” added the young man.

Last year, after the Cuban authorities indicated that they lacked the funds to buy the transmission rights for the UEFA Champions League, fans of the most universal of sports made harsh criticism of the programming of Tele Rebelde and other national channels. .

IPTV, a streaming variant that is becoming popular in Cuba
Tele Latino is another of the most used applications to watch live foreign broadcasts (Photo: Screenshot/Courtesy of the author)

Regarding transmissions through IPTV, Yunier González González, a member of the group “Golazo al 90”, commented: “Unfortunately, that corrupt system does not even let us choose what to watch, we have to see what they want, nothing else, luckily There is already Internet, can you imagine this without the Internet? We wouldn’t even know the results of the matches.”

To consume IPTV, it is essential to have a device with an Internet connection that allows the application to be used to be installed.

“To see a higher quality image, you can install an Android emulator on a PC. In this way, you can have IPTV in Windows”, commented Yosbel Padrón.

Normally, if you want to install the IPTV service on a TV, you use a streaming device such as Amazon Fire TV Stick, Amazon Fire TV Cube, NVIDIA Shield, Android-based TV or Google Chromecast, and choose the preferred provider.

The other options to enjoy foreign broadcasts in Cuba are satellite dishes, but these are persecuted by the authorities, making their deployment difficult. Hotels and tourist facilities also tune in to the most important football matches, but require the public to consume on the spot at extremely high prices.

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