Features, Technology

OTT On Top

As the need for scalable content delivery heightens, we look into how OTT can be an answer to this need

By Anisha Gakhar

Consumers increasingly want to watch videos at their beck and call, from any location and at any time. At the same time, they do not want to compromise on the quality of content they are being served, with regard to sound and buffering. From live streaming to Video on Demand (VOD) and everything in between, OTT solutions enable a conducive environment. As content providers and pay-TV operators look to take advantage of new revenue opportunities related to OTT services, they need scalable and secure content delivery solutions that ensure a flawless quality of experience across all screens. A few key highlights of using OTT include local video caching, CDN selection, and low-latency video delivery solutions that streamline the delivery of high-quality video over managed and OTT networks.
Over the top (OTT) refers to distributing streaming media as a standalone product directly to viewers over the Internet, bypassing traditional distribution like telecommunications, multichannel television, and broadcast television platforms that traditionally act as a controller or distributor of such content.

THE TECHNICALITIES
The term is synonymous with subscription-based video on demand (VOD) services that offer access to film and television content services that offer access to live streams of linear specialty channels. This bears similarity to a traditional satellite or wire-line television provider, only exception being that it is streamed over the public Internet, rather than a private network, for instance set-top boxes.
OTT makes use of advanced video codec technologies when required, and provides the tools to prepare, manage and send across quality content to TVs, smartphones and tablets. Over-The-Top streaming of live video calls for a media server which allows viewers to stream content to all of their devices. Targeted advertising and localised blackouts can also be inserted into the video streams without adding an additional workflow.
Transcoding speed and video quality are paramount requirements for any provider of OTT VOD services. OTT platforms ensure efficient transcoding, packaging and publishing of content without compromising on the quality.
Monetising one’s video offerings, along with capitalising on the ability to sell ad space, is a vital step towards achieving ROI on one’s OTT investment. Turnkey OTT solutions allow deploying a framework for ad insertion, in context to regional specifications. This in turn, ensures a cost-effective management of content-rights tasks, such as blackout management and programme substitution.
OTT television, usually called streaming television, is one of the most popular OTT contents. The signal is received over the Internet, as opposed to receiving the television signal from a terrestrial broadcast or satellite. Access is controlled by the video distributor, through an app or a separate OTT dongle or box, connected to a phone, PC or television set.
There’s more to OTT than Netflix and HBO. Many TV networks have accommodated OTT video services in their day-to-day execution. Online video companies such as Hulu and YouTube are vying for the TV business, with their own versions of an internet-based TV service.

OTT and VOD
Although OTT and VOD are taken as the same entity, there is a fine line that differentiates the two. One of the main areas where they appear dissimilar, is the costs associated with each. VOD requires users to pay for traditional TV, whereas OTT does not. OTT content is transmitted over the internet without requiring users to subscribe to a traditional cable or satellite pay-TV service.
Another differentiation is in what these offer to consumers, in terms of access and flexibility. On-demand streaming is the defining feature of OTT, since it enables a consistent and easy access to video content. In contrast, traditional television requires users to turn on their sets at a pre-defined timing, or record episodes.
OTT is also comparatively faster than VOD with respect to buffering time and better quality. The VOD process requires the user to progressively download the file, rather than streaming the content.
OTT video streaming also has considerable advantages over downloading, another main form of online video consumption. Consumers can consume more content from OTT than they get for the same price when downloading. OTT can be viewed on any device, has no associated download time, and does not consume valuable computer or device memory.

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