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OTT vs IPTV – What are the Differences

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Both over-the-top (OTT) and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) provide the users with video content. Both require high-speed internet, an internet-connected device such as a laptop or a smartphone, and both – cost money.

So what are the differences between these two video content delivery models, and which one should you choose?

Read on below and find out!

OTT key features

The key characteristic of an OTT platform is that it provides the content via public internet, hence the name. There are no special hardware requirements, cables, or connectivity. The users stream the video through the open internet and lean on the open ecosystem.

All they need to do is have a dedicated app, and in many cases, modern-day devices come with some of those preinstalled. A good example of an OTT service is Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, or YouTube TV.

The biggest drawback of OTT services is that they are heavily dependent on the quality of the internet connection for each user. As such, the user experience will greatly vary from one household to another. Furthermore, OTT users almost never get access to the shows found on cable or satellite TV.

IPTV key features

IPTV is essentially the same as traditional television, but delivered via the internet, rather than via cable or satellite. To be able to view the content, the user needs to have a device, such as a television set, connected to a set-top-box, which is then connected to the internet.

Unlike OTT, which leans on the public network, IPTV uses a managed network, essentially a closed ecosystem. That means that users need to choose an IPTV provider if they want to view the content. There are many IPTV providers to choose from – some are free, while others will cost a few dollars.

Among the best-rated IPTV providers are Kodi (free), IPTV Trends ($18.99 a month), and Xtreme HD IPTV ($15 a month).

Video and audio quality

Between the two (seemingly) similar types of video services, which one has better quality of audio and video? Knowing the quality of video Netflix, for example, is capable of reproducing, one might be inclined to think that OTT takes the win here, but in fact, it’s IPTV that actually comes on top.

That is due to the fact that IPTV is a closed ecosystem, and as such, offers a more consistent experience. If your kids are downloading a game in another room, or your Windows PC is getting a major update, the quality of the video might suffer. Also, increased traffic during peak hours might clog the server a bit, resulting in video stutters, jitters, and sometimes even an inability to reproduce the content at all.

However, OTT has other perks that cannot be understated, such as the fact that they’re available worldwide (IPTV is usually geographically limited), and allow users to watch any video on demand, when they’re ready (rather than when it’s being aired).

Hopefully, this article has clarified the main differences between OTT and IPTV, helping you decide which platform works best for you.

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