How does on demand television work?

So I recently got on demand television and I got to wondering how exactly does it work. For instance, how is it that I can fast forward and rewind the movies? What are they being played off of?


It’s on a hard drive, much like a Tivo. There’s a bunch of software in between you and it, but basically it is MPEG-2 encoded video that is sent to your cable box in TCP/IP packets. Your cable box re-assembles the packets and decodes them into audio and video.

Sometimes you can get into the diagnostic screen for your cable box and see all kinds of things, such as your IP address, the data transfer statistics, signal strength, etc. Googleing your model number may tell you how to access this information.

On my cable system, Channel 199 has all the diagnostics.

It’s really exciting to watch!

Anybody want to know the IP address of my set-top? Or the Mac-Address?