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Resi Glossary

What is Over-the-Top (OTT)?

Over-the-Top (OTT) is a streaming approach for delivering videos directly to viewers over the Internet. OTT bypasses traditional media networks like cable, broadcast, and satellite TV providers who were media gatekeepers in the past. That means it’s easier than ever for broadcasters to deliver original video content to their audiences without the limitations of traditional media companies.

Over-the-top streaming is technology-agnostic, meaning that broadcasters don’t need to rely on proprietary hardware provided by telecom vendors to deliver content over satellite or cable networks. Instead, companies can use an OTT platform to deliver video content to nearly any Internet-enabled device around the world. That’s why OTT has accelerated the “cutting the cord” trend, where consumers are cancelling their cable subscriptions and exclusively streaming their video content online.

Since video files are so large, streaming video content over the Internet can be challenging. RAW videos can be hundreds of gigabytes in size, so various codecs were developed to compress and decompress video files without impacting quality. Codecs reduce the file size by eliminating unnecessary data using advanced algorithms. The most popular and widely supported codec is H.264, but H.265 and AV1 are more efficient alternatives that are slowly gaining traction.

In addition, streaming protocols play an important role in effective over-the-top streaming. For example, HTTP Livestreaming (HLS) and Dynamic Adaptive Streaming of HTTP (MPEG-DASH) are both designed to efficiently deliver video content over the Internet. These protocols break down video files into small chunks or packets that are transferred to end-users and then reassembled by video players. These HTTP-based protocols are supported by most modern browsers and video players, while TCP-based protocols like RTMP have limited compatibility.

Whether it’s video on demand (VOD) or a livestream, most OTT streams can be accessed from laptops, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, devices such as Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire Sticks, and more. Netflix and Hulu are popular VOD subscription services that give viewers the ability to decide which video content they want to watch, wherever and whenever they choose. OTT streaming, therefore, gives users much more control over the viewing experience.

Many broadcasters choose to leverage an OTT platform to stream their own original content directly to their audiences. For example, many churches choose to livestream religious services, while many universities make educational content available on-demand. OTT platforms give organizations the flexibility they need to make the most of their video content.

Over-the-top streaming allows organizations to choose how to monetize their video content as well. For example, broadcasters may earn revenue through a subscription fee, in-video advertising, or pay-per-view. This differs from traditional broadcasting, where commercials are usually placed throughout the content.

Resi’s Livestream Platform is an over-the-top solution that allows broadcasters to quickly and easily stream video content to any device. The platform supports live, on-demand, and simulated-live video streaming to Internet-enabled devices, social media platforms, and more. Resi also offers a multisite solution for reliably streaming video content to remote locations. Using Resi, broadcasters can ensure they reach their audience no matter where they are.

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