What are over the top apps (OTT)?

Over the top apps (OTT) deliver content – like video, audio, and messaging – directly to users over the Internet.

They don’t rely on cable, satellite, or telecom companies for distribution. This disrupts the traditional ways we’ve received entertainment and communication services.

Key features of OTT apps

Here’s a breakdown of the key features that define OTT apps:

  • Internet-based delivery: OTT apps rely entirely on an internet connection. There’s no need for cable subscriptions, satellite dishes, or specific telecom providers.
  • On-demand content: Users access a vast library of videos, music, or other content whenever they want. This contrasts with traditional linear programming schedules.
  • Device compatibility: OTT apps function across various devices: smartphones, tablets, computers, smart TVs, and streaming sticks/boxes.
  • Personalization: Many OTT services offer recommendations and customized experiences based on viewing or listening habits.

Types of OTT apps

Types of OTT apps include:

OTT streaming services

  • Video: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max
  • Audio: Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal

OTT messaging/communication

Other OTT categories

  • VoIP calling apps (reducing reliance on traditional phone plans)
  • Some social media platforms can be considered OTT if they offer messaging and video features

Why are OTT apps popular?

Over the top applications have many reasons for their popularity, but the main ones are:

  • Convenience: On-demand content accessible anytime, anywhere.
  • Affordability: Often cheaper than traditional cable or satellite packages.
  • Wide content selection: Vast movies, shows, and music libraries.
  • Personalization: Algorithms recommend content based on viewing habits.

What is the difference between OTT and live streaming?

OTT refers to any content (video, audio, messaging) delivered over the internet, bypassing traditional distribution channels.

Live streaming is a type of content delivery within the OTT. It’s the real-time broadcast of events (sports, concerts, news) as they happen over the Internet.

What is an OTT aggregator?

An OTT aggregator is a platform or service that combines content from various OTT streaming providers.

Instead of subscribing to multiple services individually, users can access various content through a single aggregator.

Why is OTT important?

OTT disrupts traditional media, giving users more control over what content they watch and when. They push the boundaries of content creation and delivery formats and make content accessible to audiences worldwide.

Benefits of OTT apps

The key benefits of using OTT apps are:

  • Convenience: Watch or listen to content on-demand, anytime, on multiple devices.
  • Affordability: Often cheaper than cable or satellite subscriptions.
  • Personalization: Recommendations tailored to individual preferences.
  • Huge content libraries: Diverse selection of movies, TV shows, music, and more.
  • No hardware restrictions: Works on various devices, unlike traditional providers often tied to specific set-top boxes.

What is the difference between OTT and VOD?

VOD (Video-on-demand) is a subset of OTT services that allows users to choose specific videos (movies, shows) to watch on-demand. Examples include Netflix, Hulu sections, and video rentals on platforms like YouTube or iTunes.


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