In the modern world, many of us lead busy lives and struggle to keep up with the regular TV schedules.
You may be at work when the latest episode of your favourite show airs, or you may be out for drinks when the latest Eastenders comes on.
IPTV and OTT are ways for you to watch your favourite shows without having to tune in at a specific time or on a specific channel.
But what is the difference between OTT and IPTV? What are their pros and cons? And how do they work?
We’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn more about the two best ways for you to view your favourite content, including how the two compare with each other.
What is OTT?
OTT uses an internet connection to transmit content, either WiFi or mobile data. It negates the need for cable and satellite and traditional TV broadcast – all you need is a stable internet connection, an OTT subscription, and a viewing device.
This means that you can watch your favourite shows no matter where you are – you don’t have to sit in front of the TV anymore (unless you want to!). As long as your viewing device can connect to the internet, then you can stream content with OTT. OTT is truly an over the top level of service.
Some OTT providers that you’ve probably used or at least heard of include Netflix, YouTube, Disney Plus, and Amazon Prime Video.
OTT is purely a content streaming platform. It uses a free transmission system to bring you your favourite content, providing content on request in a unicast form, rather than watching it at a designated time amongst countless other viewers.
This one to one transmission brings you one stream to your device. Although others may be watching the same content at the same time, you can request exactly what content you want to watch whenever you like.
OTT is a great way for you to view your favourite shows. However, the OTT provider can be absolutely flawless, but your streaming experience can be tainted by a poor internet connection.
If your internet connection is poor, then the content you’re watching may glitch, appear fuzzy, pause, or need more time to buffer.
What is IPTV?
IPTV is an abbreviation of internet-based protocol television. It’s another way for you to watch your favourite shows – both live and on-demand video in a controlled manner.
IPTV delivers content through a privately managed network, whether it be an ISP network or a LAN or WAN.
Because IPTV has its own bandwidth for content delivery, you’re sure to get a brilliant quality image and sound while using your IPTV service, with minimal (if any) interruptions. If you did have any interruptions while watching your content, then it’s most likely down to your internet connection.
This is because IPTV also streams using an internet connection. To use IPTV, you’ll just need an IPTV subscription, an internet connection, and a viewing device. If your viewing platform (e.g an old TV) doesn’t connect to the internet, then you could purchase a set-top box that you plug into your TV using an HDMI or a VGA, allowing you to access your favourite content and IPTV subscription.
IPTV doesn’t require cable or satellite as it relies solely on an internet connection, making it easier than ever to watch your favourite shows. If you have IPTV, you don’t need to stick to regular TV schedules as you can watch video on demand.
However, you also have the option to tune into live TV if you prefer. This is perfect if you don’t have aerial or the correct wires, or your TV is too far from the aerial socket!
OTT vs IPTV
OTT and IPTV both bring you streaming options through an internet connection, but what are the main differences between the two?
First of all, OTT is provided through an open and unmanaged network, whereas IPTV brings you content through a managed and dedicated network that’s privately operated.
IPTV is delivered using a service provider’s own network and equipment, whereas OTT is simply provided through public internet (e.g WiFi, 3G, 4G, or 5G).
The quality of the images shown may also differ when using IPTV and OTT. IPTV content is brought to you by a private service provider that reaches you directly, meaning that the quality of the video may be higher.
However, the quality of OTT content isn’t as controlled as IPTV content, as OTT provides content through user-generated content and content aggregators that aren’t managed – so OTT can’t always be guaranteed to be ‘high quality’.
To watch IPTV, you need an internet connection – specifically a broadband-based connection. However, you should be able to connect using your personal hotspot. On the other hand, OTT content can be viewed using either mobile data or WiFi, and you don’t need a broadband connection.
Another key difference is that IPTV typically uses an EPG (electronic program guide) as well as on-demand shows and movies, whereas OTT simply provides a catalogue of shows and movies for you to choose from.
The line between OTT and IPTV is thinning, and providers are adding more and more service options to enhance the viewer experience.