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What’s the difference between OTT and IPTV

2017-06-20    5362 Reads
IPTV delivers television content using signals based on the Internet protocol (IP), through the open, unmanaged Internet with the "last-mile" telecom company acting only as the Internet service provider (ISP). As described above, "Internet television" is "over-the-top technology" (OTT). Both IPTV and OTT use the Internet protocol over a packet-switched network to transmit data, but IPTV operates in a closed system—a dedicated, managed network controlled by the local cable, satellite, telephone, or fiber-optic company.

In comparison, OTT (over-the-top) video services use the publicly accessible Internet to deliver video streams. Such content is not just available via set-top-boxes, but also via any devices that can access the Internet – such as phones, tablets and smart TVs with a broadband connection. Popular OTT services include Netflix and Hulu. 

At the end of the day operators can choose between IPTV and OTT or decide for the combination of both. Below are some the key differences:

Comparison Category OTT ( Over the Top) IPTV ( Internet Protocol TV)
Content Delivery Uses open internet, un-managed network. 
Open ecosystem
Uses dedicated, managed network. 
Walled garden ecosystem
Network Type Delivered from content provider / 
to the viewer using open 
network. Usage of 
Closed, proprietary network, 
accessed via a specific internet
 service provider
Network Relationship Without the need for intervening carriage 
negotiations, or infrastructure investments
Services are delivered on optimized 
and custom high bandwidth network
Service Examples Popular Video on Demand services like 
YouTube, Netflix, Amazon LoveFilm, Hulu, 
Sky Go, BBC iPlayer etc.
IPTV services like U-Verse (AT&T),
 Prism TV (CenturyLink)
Delivery Protocol Delivered over HTTP / TCP, a connected
 transport protocol. Movement towards 
adaptive streaming technologies HLS 
(Apple), Smooth Streaming (MS) 
and HDS (Adobe)
IPTV uses Transport Stream (TS)
 transmission technology. Uses RTP 
(Real time protocol) over UDP, a 
connectionless protocol
Content Catalog Widely used for freemium and economical 
subscription VOD
Used primarily for premium VOD 
and real time content delivery like 
broadcast TV
Routing Topology Unicast (HTTP), Simulated Multicast
Multicast. Initial unicast burst during
 channel change leading to Multicast
Service Category Complementary Service Main service, similar to Satellite/
Cable TV services
Major Platform Players OVP (Online Video Platforms) like Kaltura,
 Brightcove, CDN Players like Akamai, L3, 
Limelight, Cloud Service Providers like 
TSP ( Telecom Service Providers) 
and IPTV platform vendors - 
Microsoft Mediaroom ( now Ericsson), 
ALU, Cisco
Key Benefits Low cost, flexible model, Easy to manage
 and operate
High quality of service and quality of 
experience. Monitoring and control,
 interactive services

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