What is an OTT? | Over The Top Television Explained

22 Mar 2021

5 Min Read

What is OTT? If we ask the question from Wikipedia this is how it explains the term to us;
“OTT or an over-the-top media service is a streaming media service offered directly to viewers via the Internet.”
So in this context, we’re talking about platforms that provide us some type of content, like Spotify that streams audio content, or Netflix that streams audio-visual content for the users. So basically what they do is to put you in charge of what and when to watch content in contrast with the old school TV experience that was passive and one way.

But why is it important now? Well, because the advances of streaming technology and problems like the Coronavirus that caused the cinemas to shut down have made room for film streaming services to grow more than before. They’re platforms that have changed the way we consume movies and brought fun to the comfort and nowadays safety of our homes. So we as movie lovers need to have an overview of the pros and cons of each platform to choose the watching experience we like the most.

Netflix

There is no doubt that Netflix is the first platform that comes to mind when talking about OTTs. Originally launched for DVD rentals in 2007, Netflix has improved a lot since then, so let’s see what kind of experience do we get by using this platform. 4K quality support, which is an A-list feature regarding the emergence of higher-resolution screens, is what we should think of as the first thing about the platform. Then there are high-quality original films like The Witcher that are exclusive to Netflix and are the platform’s valuable assets. No commercial breaks is also an important feature of Netflix as it gives you a nice watching experience for your fun time. You can watch your content on literally every device you have like smartphones, Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, smart TVs, and also have all the family members entertained by its separate library and interface for children.

The Witcher, Netflix's Original Series

But despite the advantages of Netflix, there are some pitfalls to consider when choosing the platform. Starting with the regional collection limits, which is something that keeps other regions’ content away from you, unless you use a proper VPN connection. And there’s an outdated library that makes it difficult to find trendy films and TV shows among them “ if ” it’s included of course.
And Its slightly expensive prices is something that might make you a binge-watcher if you decide to watch as much as you’ve paid for, so be careful or it costs you your time and productivity.

Hulu

Moving on to the next OTT platform, Hulu is the platform that is more affordable and flexible in some ways. Like the interesting live TV option as well as its on-demand library of content. The possibility to subscribe to other channels like HBO and Showtime is also another nice thing about the platform. Hulu also includes some original shows like The Handmaid’s Tale as well but they’re not as vast as the competitions’.
And lastly, as I said before, it’s cheaper than some other platforms But with its cheaper price, comes some disadvantages as well. First, its 4K lineup is very limited compared to other platforms, and second, it doesn’t support HDR. Its Basic plan allows only two devices to stream at the same time and it includes commercials, so in order to get rid of them, you need a Hulu + Live TV subscription at a higher price.

The Handmaid's Tale, Hulu's Original Series

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon as a company that likes to do things professionally, has also done it well in the realm of OTTs. Starting with its unique offer that most subscription-based streaming apps don’t have, Prime Video allows you to rent or buy just about any film that’s available on home video for your personal collection and watch it with the Prime Video app whenever you like. And that’s something to consider as an advantage. Then there is 4K streaming with support for HDR10+ playback without charging extra for that. Prime Video has lots of international titles especially Hindi language films from India, which I think is a smart investment. But despite all that and some original productions like The Boys, it seems to have a less attractive collection of films in its library from the perspective of the audiences. And it’s somehow the only downside of this platform.

The Boys, Amazon Prime Video's Original Series

Disney Plus

Disney the land of blockbuster franchises is the next considerable OTT platform that we like to talk about. The first thing to expect from Disney plus is of course Disney’s archive of classic movies and shows that we all like, as well as their blockbuster movies like MCU’s. Then we get the 4K HDR quality as demanded and the sweet no commercial watch time for movie lovers. But if you want some mature content you won’t find it on Disney plus as their library is filled with family-friendly films and PG-13s and not R-rated content for adults.

HBO Max

And finally HBO’s OTT platform for fans of prestige television, iconic films, and the latest movie releases. The biggest perk of HBO Max is the day-and-date streaming platform for Warner Bros theatrical releases which seems to become a new way of releasing movies in the near future for films like The Matrix 4 and Suicide Squad especially due to the new normal caused by the pandemic. It has a library of recognizable collections from Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies, Sesame Street, and more but what surprises me the most is that HBO Max doesn’t support 4K and HDR quality for its movies and it’s limited to 1080p, except for a recent single title, Wonder Women 1984, which might mean that HBO is going to change that.

Wonder Women 1984, Warner Brother's Released Film On HBO Max

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