IPTV vs OTT: What Are Their Main Differences?

IPTV vs OTT: What Are Their Main Differences?


As online streaming becomes more and more popular, people are beginning to explore all the options they have when it comes to internet content. That’s why today we’re going to take an in-depth look at two main categories of television content: IPTV vs OTT.

What Does IPTV and OTT Mean?

IPTV stands for Internet Protocol Television. It’s used to send data online from computer to computer over the internet.  IPTV content is usually facilitated through a set-top box via a closed or private connection. It can be accessed through different forms such as VOD (Video On Demand), live television, or shows on a set schedule.

OTT stands for Over The Top. OTT content is still streamed via the internet but it uses an open and public internet connection instead of a private one. Popular examples of OTT content include websites like Youtube or big streaming platforms accessible to anyone like Hulu or Netflix.

One thing to note is that these terms get mixed many times and the line between them gets blurred. In this article, I will cover the traditional meaning of IPTV and OTT.

IPTV vs OTT: How do Their Video Deliveries Differ?

While both IPTV and OTT aim to deliver efficient and optimal streaming services, the means by which they accomplish this are different. When it comes to IPTV vs OTT, they differ in two main ways: their type of network and their type of content.

IPTV vs OTT How do Their Video Deliveries Differ

OTT uses open and public internet connections which means that users of OTT do not need to use extra network infrastructure. OTT installation is comparatively quite easy as you usually do not have to change your existing internet setup.

IPTV on the other hand is a bit more of an investment, particularly if you want high-end video and streaming quality. Because IPTV works with closed and private networks you may require a set-top box or special software and subscriptions of particular services.

When it comes to different kinds of content, OTT deals with subscription services via public access. Examples include many of the big streaming services and platforms that have become popular today including Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and more.

IPTV content on the other hand is more similar to traditional satellite or cable subscriptions. They often provide live broadcasts and premium Video On Demand content depending on the subscription you choose. Many IPTV subscriptions also specialize in certain kinds of content such as children’s cartoons, live news reports or sports.

The Pros and Cons of IPTV

The reasons to consider IPTV are numerous. IPTV content generally has higher video quality thanks to its private network connections. This also means less stream stuttering or interruptions.

IPTV content also has Video On Demand for premium releases that are hard to find elsewhere.

The Pros and Cons of IPTV

The cons of IPTV are that it is a bit more expensive than OTT with monthly payments for genuine IPTV being in the same ballpark as traditional satellite or cable fees. This may be a downside to some as online content is generally seen to be cheaper than cable or satellite.

IPTV content also runs the risk of getting slowed down during peak schedules of popular content if many people are watching the same broadcast at the same time. Keep this in mind if you are still on the fence about IPTV vs OTT.

The Pros and Cons of OTT

One of the biggest pros of OTT content is that it is very easy to access thanks to the public networks it runs on. This means that as long as you have an internet connection and a computer you can easily sign up for any OTT service. Installation doesn’t require you to purchase any extra hardware.

Another great thing about OTT is that the prices are usually very cheap compared to IPTV, cable, or satellite. While certain products or streaming boxes can enhance your OTT experience in certain ways, these tools are entirely optional.

The cons of OTT are almost exclusively related to the streaming quality. OTT streams are usually at the mercy of things such as your ISP and internet speed. Slowdowns, buffering and longer load times can happen when viewing content during peak hours.

The Pros and Cons of OTT

Depending on your ISP you may be subject to throttling which will not only have an impact on internet browsing in general but will be most clearly felt when streaming a movie that may pause to buffer every few minutes. This is something to keep in mind when making your decision between IPTV vs OTT.

How Many OTT Services Are There?

It’s very hard to say precisely how many OTT services or platforms there are out there because the number just keeps on growing. The most common estimates say that there are over 300 OTT services on the market right now but many people are only familiar with the most popular 10 or so.

If you are looking for help on which OTT services to use, consider choosing from one or two of these options:

  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • HBO Now
  • CBS All Access
  • Disney Plus
  • Youtube TV
  • Crunchyroll
  • Apple TV+
  • Showtime

What Are OTT Applications?

Many OTT services also offer apps of their platforms that can be downloaded onto multiple devices including Smart TVs, smartphones, video game consoles, tablets, and more. This basically allows you to watch your OTT service of choice on a device that isn’t a desktop computer or a laptop. While you need to pay a monthly subscription to access these OTT services, downloading the apps is free of charge.

IPTV vs OTT: Which one is Better?

IPTV vs OTT: Which one is Better?

Choosing between IPTV vs OTT really depends on what kind of content you are most drawn to. If you are really into specific kinds of shows and really enjoy seeing live content or special VOD programs as soon as possible then you will be best off with IPTV.

However, I think that the majority of people will be better off settling with OTT. Not only is it easier to install but many of the great streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video offer so many different shows and movies that you’ll need several lifetimes to watch all of their programmings. These OTT platforms have also begun producing their own original series and films so they too offer content that is exclusive to their services.


About the Author Edwin

Edwin "The Streaming Dutchman" has been streaming IPTV and grabbing the latest media from torrents and Usenet for countless years. When he isn't streaming (or writing about it), he enjoys cooking and traveling.

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