OTT Vs IPTV: Understanding The Key Differences

Posted By : Priyansha Singh | 26-Aug-2021


OTT Vs IPTV: Understanding The Key Differences


When it comes to video streaming solutions, both OTT and IPTV are commonly used terminologies. Precisely, this makes some sense as they are one of the most widely used methods for delivering content to the end-users. However, please note that OTT and IPTV are not the same thing and are subsequently used in different circumstances. This can often lead to confusion for enterprises and digital content creators when looking for video streaming app development services.

Between OTT and IPTV, which is the best for your business workflow and operations? In this blog, we will discuss what OTT and IPTV mean, what are their advantages and key differences, and how they can benefit your organization.

IPTV and OTT Streaming Services | Video Streaming App Development Services
What is OTT?

Over-The-top (OTT) refers to the distribution of television or video content as a standalone product via the internet. The OTT service providers deliver the digital media content over the internet, as opposed to the traditional satellite TV or cable service. OTT streaming solutions are also leveraged by organizations who intend to share internal video content with colleagues or employees on-site or with customers viewing from any device such as desktop, tablet, or smartphone.

Some of the popular OTT platforms include Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Netflix. Since the internet does not support multicast streaming, each OTT user is required to establish a unique connection with the server in the unicast mode, usually known as the origin server offering the video content. Also because each OTT user may be using different devices, they also need to use a video player that supports Adaptive Bit Rate (ABR) technology in order to dynamically switch amid parallel streams with varying levels of video quality. Moreover, newer web browsers supporting HTML5 can also display OTT content. 

What is IPTV?

Based on the Internet Protocol (IP), the IPTV or Internet Protocol Television delivers audio and video content over a managed computer network. This can include a managed service provider network, a wide area network (WAN), or a private local area network (LAN). 

Since managed networks can support multicast media streaming, single video content can be essentially shared with all viewers on a similar network, thereby making it daily hassle-free to manage bandwidth utilization. However, when the user is on the move or away from their desk, they may be required to view the media content via OTT.

IPTV is generally facilitated through a set-top box through a private or closed connection. It can also be accessed via multiple forms such as shows on a set schedule, live television, or Video on Demand (VOD). 

Also Read: VR Video Conferencing Apps: The Driver For Workspace Collaboration

What Are The Key Differences?

There are two main differences between OTT and IPTV that set them apart- network and content.

Network: open vs closed

The elemental difference between OTT and IPTV is the network. OTT content is primarily delivered over an open, public network- the internet, while IPTV content is delivered over a private, closed, and proprietary network such as WAN or LAN.

Leveraging the open internet, OTT works without having to invest heavily in any additional network infrastructure. In many cases, there is no such requirement of making any changes to the existing network setups. 

However, IPTV does need these extra investments in order to ensure picture quality without hindering or affecting other network functions. Nevertheless, IPTV’s closed and private network comes with an array of benefits such as: it maintains high-quality service, it is reliable and is a lot easier to monitor. 

Content: freemium vs premium

The second major difference between OTT and IPTV is the content that is consumed by users. OTT tends to offer digital content over the so-called “freemium” subscription service. 

On the other hand, IPTV is much closer to traditional television subscriptions such as live TV broadcasts and in many other cases, VOD or Video on Demand content.

IPTV is often more popular in scenarios where a team would prefer direct access to live news coverage, whether for a press room or financial trading teams. It is also very advantageous for distributing corporate media content within a network that users will need to watch over OTT.

Choosing OTT vs IPTV

Whether your business intends to select OTT or IPTV immensely depends on what you are looking for in your content delivery modules for your target audience or team. OTT is usually considered a more flexible and economical option, however, it comes at the price of being visibly challenging to scale, and is often not a consistent selection when compared to quality. IPTV services, which are much nearer to a traditional broadcast television subscription, offer a seemingly higher quality of media solutions with easy monitoring options for your team.

In enterprises and offices, IPTV shines as a way of sharing updates, news, reports, and the latest coverage in common areas, while also allowing for quality control and central monitoring. However, when seeking to collaborate or connect with remote team members, OTT video delivery solutions are flexible and enable your team to access corporate media content while balancing bandwidth use and quality.

If you are looking for OTT app development or video streaming app development services, feel free to drop us a line. Our experts will get back to you within 24 hours. 


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Priyansha Singh

Her expertise lies in creating insightful and engaging content for the readers and has worked on multiple projects such as Blockchain, IT, Marketing, Home Decor, AI, and many more. She is a trained pianist, painter, and an avid reader.

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