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What is OTT/CTV?

How we take in information and entertainment has undergone profound transformations in the modern era. Subscriptions to traditional cable and satellite TV services are becoming increasingly obsolete, welcoming the age of OTT and CTV! These digital streaming platforms have completely transformed the way that we watch television and gain access to material. Yet, what precisely is OTT and CTV?


The acronym OTT is “over-the-top,” which refers to programming distributed through the Internet rather than the more conventional cable or satellite television distribution networks. Using over-the-top (OTT) services, you can use your mobile devices, smart televisions, or other streaming devices to access video and music material streamed over the internet.

Since their beginnings, over-the-top (OTT) services have come a long way. They started as straightforward platforms for streaming movies and television series but have now developed into all-encompassing entertainment centers that provide a vast range of content, including live sports, news, and even their original programming.

Based on the methods through which they generate revenue, over-the-top (OTT) services can be divided into the following categories:

  • The term “subscription video on demand,” or “SVOD,” refers to paid subscription services that offer unrestricted access to a large range of content options without advertising.  These platforms are subscription models, where users pay a monthly fee to access the content.   Examples include Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. 

  • “AVOD,” or advertising-based video-on-demand platforms, provides viewers with free content, but they do so by sponsoring that content with advertisements. Tubi, Pluto TV, and Crackle are a few examples of video streaming services. Many premium SVODs have introduced this model to help with rising costs to consumers by offering a lower monthly subscription price, if the consumer approves of watching ads. 

    • Transactional video on demand, sometimes known as TVOD, refers to services that let users rent or buy material on a title-by-title basis. iTunes and Google Play Movies & TV are two examples of such services.


    The term “connected TV” (CTV) refers to any television set capable of connecting to the internet and accessing the content in addition to what is accessible through a conventional cable or satellite subscription. CTV allows its consumers to surf the web, use apps, and even stream videos from over-the-top (OTT) providers on their televisions.

    CTV has progressed concurrently with the development of OTT services. Consumers can now access a wider variety of content and create a more personalized viewing experience thanks to the proliferation of streaming devices and smart TVs, both of which have seen increased popularity and technological advancement in recent years.

    There are three primary categories of CTV devices, which are as follows:

    • Smart TVs are televisions that have internet connectivity and app capability built in. Examples of smart TVs include those manufactured by LG and Samsung.

    • Streaming Devices are self-contained units that connect to your television and make watching content streamed from the internet possible. Examples of such devices are the Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and Google Chromecast.

    • Gaming Consoles: Contemporary game consoles like the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch also offer the ability to stream video and audio content.

    Traditional cable and satellite TV cannot compete with the flexibility and personalization that over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV) services offer. These services have revolutionized the way we consume media. The expansion of over-the-top (OTT) and cable television (CTV) is only projected to accelerate, making them an essential component of our entertainment landscape as technology continues to advance at a rapid pace and high-speed internet becomes even more widely available.


    What’s the difference between over-the-top (OTT) and cable television (CTV)?

    CTV refers to television sets capable of connecting to the internet and accessing OTT material. Over-the-top (OTT) content is video delivered over the Internet rather than through traditional cable or satellite television networks.

    Do I need particular equipment to watch information streamed over the internet on my television?

    You can access over-the-top (OTT) material directly through your smart TV’s built-in apps if you have a smart TV. If, on the other hand, you do not have a smart television, you will need a streaming device to access OTT services. Examples of such devices include the Roku and the Amazon Fire TV Stick.

    Is the content provided by OTT always available without charge?

    No, over-the-top (OTT) content can be accessible through a variety of monetization methods, including subscription-based (SVOD), ad-supported (AVOD), and transactional (TVOD) services, among others.

    Using an OTT provider, am I able to watch live TV?

    Yes, a wide variety of over-the-top (OTT) platforms, like Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, and Sling TV, all provide the ability to stream live television.

    Will over-the-top (OTT) and cable television (CTV) replace traditional cable and satellite TV?

    Although it is challenging to forecast the future of the television business, the ever-increasing popularity of over-the-top (OTT) and cable television (CTV) services suggests that both options will continue to gain market share as customers increasingly desire on-demand, tailored content.

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