We’ve all been sailing on the ship of Over The Top Services these days. You see everyone talking about OTT streaming services and stuff without knowing exactly what they stand for and how they work?

In this article, you’ll have a complete walk-around of OTT streaming services, available streaming options, how they compare to the traditional TV Cable, and what is the future of Over The Top platforms. So without further ado, let’s start.

What is OTT?

In OTT platforms, OTT stands for Over The Top and you might already know about it. Unlike the traditional TV cable networks, these OTT platforms serve media content like shows, movies, tv-series, and platform exclusive content all over the internet.

You can get subscribed to these OTT streaming services for a monthly fee and can stream the content available on the platform from any compatible device. The ability to consume content on any capable device is one of the major advantages of OTT Streaming services.

Most of the OTT platforms are built with native apps on android, iOS, and the web along with being available on other hardware like Fire TV Stick and Smart TVs. With the growing demand for OTT services and platforms, we have witnessed many TV cable providers, internet service providers, and streaming devices like Roku partnering with popular options out there.

OTT platforms bring a bunch of major USP to the table such as an extensive catalog of movies and shows, the ability to consume it on multiple devices, and all these over a good internet connection at a small monthly fee. No wonder, these OTT streaming services are really on the buzz right now, especially with the on-going pandemic situations.

How are the streaming services shaping OTT?

These OTT streaming services deliver their content to the streaming portal through cloud-based operations which they scale to meet the peak traffic requirements and continue to deliver the content to the consumers with no downtime. These services also keep on buying and adding good content to their platforms to keep their customer base grow even further.

This initiates a competitive environment among the OTT streaming services to look for good content and provide them a good price to have them on their platforms. Furthermore, the content creators are also getting fair bucks for the content which, in turn, motivates them to keep making good content as their content gets valued right.

All of these become a win-win situation for all the parties involved. For instance, the consumer will always have something good to consume, the creator will always be rewarded for pushing lovable content and in turn, these platforms will keep on growing. Since the content is delivered over the internet, you don’t need to wait as millions of users can watch their favorite show or movie whenever they want. It’s more of an on-demand consumption.

OTT streaming services give you complete freedom to choose what you want to watch and at what time, unlike the traditional cable TV where the show’s timings are all pre-decided.

Netflix

As you’ve guessed, Netflix is the biggest player in the game. It is an American Over The Top content platform and production house. It has 3 monthly plans, distinguishing with the content quality offered.

Netflix has more than 200 million users paying monthly for this OTT Streaming service as that of the 4th quarter in 2020. You can watch thousands of movies, shows, and Netflix originals with this streaming service.

Amazon Prime Video

On the second spot, we have an Amazon-owned streaming platform dubbed Prime Video. Amazon Prime Video accounts for more than 150 million users paying for the streaming service.

Amazon Prime Video is part of the Amazon Prime service with which you also get music streaming service, access to prime gaming and prime reading, and free delivery on many products ordered through Amazon.

HBO Max

In the mid of 2020, HBO discontinued its older HBO Go, renamed it HBO Now to simply HBO, and launched a new HBO Max service. HBO Max is, no doubt, the best option out of the two, offering an extensive library. The service is also available on Roku along with other platforms such as Fire TV Stick. HBO owner Warner Media recently reported that the platform has reached around 41 million domestic subscribers in 2021.

Disney+

Another popular OTT service in the market is Disney+ that brings content from Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, Nat Geo, and more. Considering it’s still a relatively young service, Disney+ is enjoying a lot of success in the market. There is a bunch of exclusive content available on the platform such as The Mandalorian, Marvel Hero Project, Clone Wars, Falcon, and the Winter Soldier among many others.

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OTT Vs Traditional Cable

After hearing a lot about these OTT services and platforms, you might now be wondering whether it is better than the traditional cable tv networks. Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about it right here.

The correct answer would depend upon the users’ requirements and needs. A traditional cable tv will offer you all the network channels for monthly fees. You can, of course, select these networks or choose between the pre-defined plans. In the case of traditional cable, you’ll have to face some restrictions like not able to consume content whenever you want.

Here is a look at some of the key benefits of OTT platforms over traditional cable TV networks:

  • Stream Anywhere: You can stream the Over the Top content anywhere and on any device. Most of the OTT services are now available on many of the platforms like Android, iOS, Desktop native apps, through the web, Roku, Fire TV Stick as well as Smart TVs. This means that you can consume the content on the go.

  • Consumer Choice: Another major advantage of streaming on an OTT platform rather than on a TV cable is the authority and freedom you’re given. You can choose what you want to watch. You can choose from shows, seasons, series, and movies that you want to watch or you can browse from the ocean of content to start watching and then resume from the same time frame. This is something that you can not do with traditional cable networks. All of the Cable content has a pre-planned timestamp of when the shows will be played, if you miss the time wait for the repeat telecast or it’s just gone.

  • Ads Free Content: Coming from the user’s freedom, you can enjoy ad-free content on these OTT platforms. Traditional cable networks, on the other hand, are known for showcasing ads every couple of minutes which can get annoying with time.

In order to completely replace the traditional cable TVs, you’ll have to choose multiple OTT platforms. In the end, you’ll have to see whether spending for a particular cable network plan or multiple OTT platforms is worth it or not. In various scenarios, you might even end up saving some bucks going with OTT services rather than cable networks. Well, this is something you’ll have to research.

Top 10 OTT Platforms

Dacast

When it comes to OTT platforms, Dacast is quite the popular option out there as it offers a lot of abilities to the user. You can stream live video, host online videos, use the live streaming feature to stream your content along with OTT and VOD content as well. You can also monetize your video content. Lastly, we’re looking at a fully customizable experience allowing you to do a lot more than just essential brandings.

OTT Platforms

Key Features:

  • Monetize your content
  • White label and control over your branding
  • Zoom integration for live streaming
  • Multi-bitrate streaming
  • Video security tools for secure streaming
  • Live encoding support
  • RTMP Encoder support
  • 24/7 tech support

Pros:

  • Ad-free streaming
  • Real-time analytics
  • Live stream recording
  • Multiple plans depending on the requirement
  • China video hosting

Cons:

  • A good initial learning curve

JW Player Live

JW Player Live is a leading and popular video player out in the market. Considering the demand for OTT platforms, the company has now launched a live streaming service as well. This means you can use the platform to allow your customers or subscribers to stream your content. The company offers a full suite of powerful tools along with multi-bitrate streaming, DRM, HTML5 video player support as well.

JW Player Live

Key Features:

  • Deliver your content globally
  • Video API that you can integrate everywhere
  • Monetization of your content
  • Support for multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming
  • A good technical support

Pros:

  • High-quality video player
  • Minimal and easy to use interface
  • Audience analyticsservice for internal use case scenarios

Cons:

  • No China delivery
  • Limited tech support

IBM Cloud Video

Wowza

Next on the list is the IBM Cloud Video service that allows businesses to host their content and deliver them to the consumer. The service offers a lot of features ranging from video streaming products, media products along with apps and services. Just like with most services out there, you can monetize your content along with delivering them over the internet (OTT) as well.

Key Features:

  • Backed by a leading cloud company i.e. IBM
  • Powerful video analytics
  • Covers all range of tools and services
  • Powerful content delivery
  • Video monetization

Pros:

  • Perfect for businesses
  • Top-notch customer support
  • Hong Kong video hosting

Cons:

  • For higher resolutions, you’ll need to shell extra fees
  • Not a good support for closed captions

Wowza

Wowza is yet another powerful OTT platform in the market that is aimed at businesses planning to do professional broadcasting. There is a bunch of third-party integration, APIs, and other advanced features that you can use to customize your streaming workflow. There is no support for video monetization meaning you can not monetize your content. Lack of monetization makes Wowza a good service for internal use case scenarios.

Wowza

Key Features:

  • Support for live streaming and VOD
  • Cloud transcoding
  • White-label video player
  • API and other third-party integration
  • Good customer support

Pros:

  • Brand customization tools
  • Support for Ultra HD (4K) streaming
  • Powerful video CMS
  • Wide range of security options

Cons:

  • No video monetization
  • Weak video analytics

Vimeo Livestream

Vimeo is a popular American video hosting, sharing, and service platform that brings a lot of features to the consumer. Back in 2017, Vimeo acquired the then-popular Livestream streaming service and since then, the company has expanded its portfolio to offer multiple services to businesses. The company has also integrated an OTT solution into the service which is why it is in our top 10 list.

Vimeo Livestream

Key Features:

  • Multicasting support
  • Engagement tools such as polling and chat options
  • Powerful security tools
  • Powerful content delivery system
  • While-label video player

Pros:

  • Brand-specific customizations
  • Deliver your content globally
  • Multiple tools for promoting interaction and engagement

Cons:

  • Good initial learning curve

Brightcove

Since its inception, Brightcove has managed to make a name in the video delivery market. In fact, the company offers some of the best tools that allow you to deliver video content with full potential. The service has some of the most complete video tool sets that you can use to distribute your content faster while also scale it instantly. You can use various marketing tools to get more engagements. If you’re a broadcaster, then Brightcove might be a potential video service out there for you.

Brightcove

Key Features:

  • Top tier CDNA for global content delivery
  • Multi-bitrate and adaptive bitrate streaming
  • Video API support
  • Advanced security features
  • Ability to monetize your content

Pros:

  • White-label custom video player
  • CRM integration available
  • Pro tools for all your broadcasting needs

Cons:

  • Expensive service
  • No China video delivery
  • Basic tech support

Wistia

Wistia is a popular video marketing software for businesses. It allows you to easily find, engage and grow your audience. You can host your videos on the platform, create captivating video and audio experiences along with tools to manage audience and fanbase. You can use your logo, modify the controls, or change the player color to match your brand. There are a bunch of interactive video tools such as CTAs, email gates, Annotation Links, and more.

Wistia

Key Features:

  • Powerful customer service
  • CRM integrations
  • Ad-free experience
  • Ability to create channels
  • Auto-play the next video
  • Top-notch customer service

Pros:

  • Powerful video analytics
  • Collaborate with marketing team thanks to CRM integrations
  • Premium looking video player

Cons:

  • No China delivery
  • Limited brand customization

SproutVideo

SproutVideo is another popular video hosting platform designed for businesses that claim to provide the best live and on-demand video hosting service. The company offers a lot of powerful features across numerous categories - security, video websites, viewer engagement, player, marketing, and much more.

SproutVideo

Key Features:

  • Support for VOD and live stream hosting
  • Powerful marketing tools
  • Multiple tools to showcase your brands
  • White-label HTML5 based video player
  • API support and third-party integration

Pros:

  • Multiple plans to choose from
  • Powerful video analytics
  • Customizable video player

Cons:

  • Less expensive plans have weaker support
  • Security limitations with lower plans

Kaltura

If you’re looking for an open-source video streaming platform that Kaltura is what you’re looking for. The service offers a lot of features that you can use to effectively build your audience and increase it. You can manage video, audio, image assets at scale while also optimizing the storage and media workflows. The company also offers the most advanced video analytics along with the fastest online video player for web and native.

Kaltura

Key Features:

  • Fully OEM and white-label ready platform
  • Multi-account management along with billing support
  • Backward compatibility
  • Cloud video transcoding and image manipulation

Pros:

  • Highly customizable experience
  • Thanks to integrations, endless possibilities
  • Open-source nature
  • Perfect for advanced broadcasters

Cons:

  • “Pay-as-you-go” structure which is not everybody’s cup of tea
  • Slow tech support
  • Initial learning curve

Vidyard

Vidyard is one of those tools that has something for everyone. For the sales team, the tool offers the best alternative to face-to-face meetings. It gives you the ability to record and add sales videos to your emails. For corporate comms, you can create and send better internal communication videos making it easier to work with remote teams. Lastly, you can also upload marketing videos to drive engagement and share your body’s story online.

Vidyard

Key Features:

  • A plethora of video creations tools such as screen recording, video personalization, quick video editing, and more
  • Video management tools such as online video hosting, fast video uploads, security, and compliance
  • Video sharing tools such as online video player, embed videos, email videos, and more
  • Optimize videos thanks to a bunch of tools
  • Powerful video analytics, CRM integrations and more

Pros:

  • Advanced broadcasting experience
  • Powerful video analytics
  • Good technical support

Cons:

  • No China video delivery

How could you watch OTT content offline?

If you want to download OTT content offline and tired of limitations with the default in-app download like download expiration and watching on the same device it has been downloaded onto, then you can installY2mate Downloader.

It is software that can help you download any of your favorite shows from any major OTT platform out there to watch offline.

OTT Platforms supported by Y2mate

Y2mate has one of the biggest supported ranges of OTT platforms to download content offline from. It supports downloading from:

Indistinguishable Audio and Video

Y2mate downloader has a plethora of options to assist you in download shows from your favorite OTT Streaming services. Here are the features this tool offers you for downloading content from OTT Platforms.

01. Indistinguishable Audio and Video Quality

Video Quality

This tool supports downloading of streaming content in full HD 1080p quality with a 5.1 audio channel and 125 kbps audio bitrate. This way you won’t feel any difference in the quality of streaming content and the downloaded content.

02. Download Subtitles and Meta Info

Apart from just downloading the content, it also allows you to download the subtitles either integrated right into the video file or as a separate .srt file which can be imported later while playback.

Download Subtitles

It also downloads the meta-information about the content, like cast, series, title, description, and genre. This feature makes it very easy to organize your video library of downloaded movies and series just as you please.

03. Batch Download and Auto-download new releases

When you download any video from this tool via your favorite OTT Platform, this tool automatically detects if the video is part of any series. If it is then this video automatically inquires about the whole series and gives you the option to batch download all the episodes and content in that series.

It also detects any new releases coming out in the shows or series you’re subscribed to and automatically downloads those new releases. So you can use both of these handy features to ease your downloading experience.

04. Lightening fast download while streaming

It happens with all of us. While we are downloading something in the background and start streaming something else alongside, the download speed falls drastically. But this is not the case with the Y2mate downloader.

Lightening fast download while streaming

This tool ensures lightning-fast possible download speed even if you’re streaming or watching something alongside or doing some internet extensive task. One more prime feature of this software is that you can stream right within the software interface while downloading from it.

FAQs

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions related to OTT Platforms:

01. Is YouTube an OTT?

In short Yes! But there is a catch to it, like other OTT platforms, YouTube also offers an option to stream Live TV and movies via OTT but unlike other over-the-top platforms, YouTube is basically built with the concept of User Generated Content. You could also download YouTube to MP4 offline.

Unlike other OTT platforms, YouTube users can browse and consume the content for free with the inclusion of ads. For an ad-free experience, you can subscribe to the premium membership. Apart from an ad-free experience, you can also get original exclusive content along with access to Premium Music.

02. How can I watch OTT on my TV?

There could be multiple scenarios to this. If one has a smart TV they can easily install the OTT app(if available) on their TV to directly stream the content on their TV.

There are also multiple internet and cable companies that tie-up with certain streaming platforms to provide you with these OTT options directly built-in. Even there are dedicated streaming devices like Roku that allow you to subscribe and stream multiple streaming platforms through streaming hardware.

And if all of the above turns false, one of the traditional ways you can use to watch OTT on your TV is to buy an HDMI cable, watch OTT on your laptop, and cast it on TV with HDMI or you can go a step further for the Chromecast option.

03. What are OTT applications?

OTT stands for ‘Over the Top’ streaming services. This means that you can consume the content over the internet as long as you are on a compatible device. All the popular services such as Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video are nothing but OTT services allowing you to consume the content whenever you want. You can learn more about it at the beginning of this article.

04. How do OTT platforms make money?

The business model for these ‘Over The Top’ platforms is quite simple. Firstly, these OTT platforms invest in building their Over the Top delivery system and buying content for their platform.

Then the users are charged a monthly subscription fee to get access to the content available on these OTT platforms through which these OTT platforms mainly make money and reinvest in buying more and more content for their platforms.

05. How many OTT Platforms are there?

There could be no certain answer to this, as it depends on a wide variety of factors like the regions any OTT platform is available in, content type, reach, and customers.

But there are numerous OTT platforms spread all over the world to which some of the big names include, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, HBO Max, and Hulu.

06. How do OTT Platforms work?

Over the Top platforms are the services that deliver shows, movies, and TV series over the internet, which can directly be streamed in the respective app or web. It works just like any other service on the Internet.

You just need to have a good internet connection and an OTT membership and you can stream the content available on these platforms through the web or their native apps.

07. Why is OTT so Popular?

One of the most prominent reasons for OTT platforms to become so popular these days is their versatility and portability.

Since Over the Top platforms have options to watch on multiple devices, be it your smartphone, laptop, or your TV which makes it highly portable to ever carry around in your phone and continue binging even while traveling.

Apart from that, it gives you access to a ton of content including documentaries, web series, OTT Originals, and blockbuster movies. Apart from that you can subscribe or unsubscribe from these Over the Top platforms whenever you want.

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