What Is OTT TV?OTT TV is over-the-top television, or viewable content that is delivered over the Internet. Synonymous with streaming, OTT TV brings digital media straight to the consumer, taking out the middle men — telecommunications, multichannel television and broadcast television providers.
During the same period, over-the-top television (OTT TV) gained more ground with Sling TV and DIRECTV Now adding subscribers by about 19 percent, the Leichtman Research Group found. Note that those two providers are the top publicly reporting virtual service providers — those that provide a form of OTT through live, linear and on-demand content — so the figures may only skim the surface.
Taking one step back, though, the group further found that, since pay TV’s peak in 2012, it has lost only 6 million subscribers, while publicly reporting virtual service providers only gained 4 million.
Comparing Cable and OTT Streaming SolutionsThe biggest drivers of Internet TV are price and variety of content. Cable’s biggest draw, of course, is live TV.
So, where do you stand? Is your household one of many that combines some form of traditional TV — network, premium cable or even satellite — with some streaming options? Or, now that linear OTT TV options are available, are you considering cutting the cord altogether?
Popular Streaming ServicesAs we noted earlier, there are two main types of streaming services: video on demand and linear.
The three most popular video on demand streaming services are Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. These three options have rotating selections of movies, and sometimes shows, that change in availability per month. That’s why you’ll find lists of new releases on each streaming service, along with what’s leaving, per month. Each of the three has also entered the ring with original shows, while Netflix and Amazon have been producing original movies as well. Hulu, though, is now offering a live TV option, blurring its lines with linear OTT TV, and Amazon has dipped its toes into live streaming Thursday Night Football with its partnership with the NFL. (There’s more to come on the horizon for Amazon, too, with “Channels” coming on in May.)
The second popular type of streaming service is linear OTT TV. As we described earlier, these look most like a cable package, albeit with fewer channels. The most popular here are Sling TV and DIRECTV Now, though Hulu Live and Sony’s Playstation Vue are inching their way up. And, we’re now offering Kinetic TV, a similar service that includes a base package with local channels, more than 60 popular national programming channels and about 50 music channels.
That leads us to a third streaming TV option: standalone channels. Yes, many channels — network and premium television — are offering their content live and on demand through apps. Many will require authentication to log in, so you’ll need access to that channel. Know that not all will accept your linear OTT TV subscription as a way to log in, though it is increasingly becoming an option. Some standalone channels are offering subscriptions on their own, including HBO through HBO Now, ESPN through ESPN+ and the soon-to-be-launched Disney through Disney+.