OTT Device: What It Is And How It Is Used In 2023
Over-the-top (OTT) platforms are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people are cutting the cord and ditching their cable TV subscriptions.
An OTT device is a streaming media player that typically connects to a CDN, allowing it to stream content from the internet to your device.
With so many OTT devices on the market, it’s good to know what they are and how they work so you can make an informed decision when it comes time to purchase one.
In this article, I’ll review some of the top OTT devices on the market and explain their main features.
I will also give you all the information you need to know when it comes to using OTT platforms as a content provider, so if you ever wanted to know how to use such platforms to deliver content to an audience, this guide is perfect for you.
Let’s get right into it.
While choosing the best OTT services is essential, you’ll also need a top OTT device to watch your favorite shows and movies as best as possible.
That said, there are plenty of options on the market, so finding the best one is mostly about doing the proper research.
To help you with this, here are the top OTT devices.
Being one of the best OTT streaming devices, Chromecast with Google TV lets you watch, listen and play your favorite content.
It also gives you access to apps like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, Peacock, and many more.
Google TV organizes all your content, so you can easily find what you’re looking for and continue watching where you left off.
This means you’ll get all your OTT streaming services on one interface, making it easy to find something to watch.
With the Google assistant button, you can also use your voice to control your TV.
For example, you can ask it to play your favorite show, search for a specific actor or director, or even dim the lights in your living room from your device.
If you’re looking for an OTT device that does it all, Chromecast with Google TV is a great option.
Being a famous OTT device market for those using Apple products, the Apple TV 4K is a great option.
This OTT platform offers excellent picture quality and supports 4K and HDR content.
You won’t miss a beat from your favorite show or movie with true-to-life pictures and sound.
You can balance color with a perfectly calibrated red, green, and blue combo for more natural skin tones.
The result is a more realistic and lifelike viewing experience.
In addition, with an Apple TV remote that combines the aesthetic of Apple with functionality, speed, precise control, and a clickpad, you’ll be able to control your TV easily.
With many smart TVs offering over-the-top content, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is a great OTT streaming device which also comes with Alexa Voice included.
Amazon’s Fire TV stick allows for 4K Ultra HD content so that you can get in on all the action.
With both live and free TV on offer with a subscription to Sling TV, you can watch what you want, when you want.
The device is also easy to set up and get started with.
For those that want to make the most of 4K, the NVIDIA Shield TV offers AI-enhanced upscaling for up to 4K at 30 FPS content.
With compatibility with Google Home and Amazon Echo, you can also control your TV with just your voice.
In addition, the new Tegra X1+ processor provides 25% faster performance than the previous generation so that you can get to your shows as quickly as possible.
This device also has a built-in power supply, so you don’t need to worry about having any extra cords.
OTT platforms allow content delivery over the Internet without a cable or satellite TV subscription.
Whether through gaming consoles, mobile devices, or a connected TV, OTT platforms enable users to access their content as desired.
Giving the ability to get paid video streaming services to those that don’t want to pay for a cable TV package, OTT services have become increasingly popular in recent years.
To stream OTT content, services such as Netflix and Hulu use an internet connection to deliver video on demand to those who are subscribed.
Also offering the possibilities of real-time streaming video content, each streaming platform will offer different selections of movies and TV shows.
In addition, OTT platforms may also provide access to live sporting events and news broadcasts, so the possibilities depend on the chosen platform and the target audience.
There are also plenty of different OTT platforms to choose from.
Compared to traditional TV (or even traditional cable), which only had a handful of options, plenty of streaming formats are available nowadays.
With connected devices able to receive content from any number of sources, there’s more choice than ever regarding what you can watch.
Let’s review some of the most popular types of streaming available.
Here, the viewing experience is all about watching content on your own time.
This is the most popular type of streaming as it allows viewers to watch whatever they want, whenever they want.
With all the major OTT providers offering video-on-demand services, a wealth of content is available to watch at one’s leisure.
Various models can be considered with video on demand when creating your own content.
- Transactional Video on Demand (TVOD): The users pay for each piece of content they watch.
- Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD): With SVOD, users pay a monthly fee to access a content library.
- Ad-Supported Video on Demand (AVOD): As the name suggests, this model sees ads support video content.
- Free Video on Demand (FVOD): Finally, there’s FVOD, which is precisely what it sounds like. Users get access to video content without having to pay anything.
Having live shows available used to be part and parcel of traditional TV.
OTT apps take this one step further by allowing viewers to watch live shows from anywhere in the world.
Whether a live sporting event or a breaking news story, you can stay up-to-date with what’s happening – at the moment it happens.
This refers to using streaming apps to watch TV shows that appear to be live but have already been recorded.
While this type of streaming is less popular than video on demand, plenty of users still prefer to watch content this way as they don’t have to take the time to decide what they want to watch.
It’s also worth noting that some OTT providers offer live, linear, and on-demand streaming services.
With this technology in play, various ad models also work with the different types of content being streamed.
As such, OTT advertising is growing in popularity by providing an ecosystem that enables advertisers to get their message in front of actively engaged users.
Here are some of the most common types of advertising you’ll find on OTT platforms.
As the name suggests, pre-roll ads are those that appear before the content starts playing.
This type of ad is most commonly used on video-on-demand services, allowing viewers to skip the ad (after a few seconds) if they choose.
Mid-roll ads appear in the middle of the content, causing viewers to be interrupted from whatever they are watching.
As with pre-roll ads, viewers might skip mid-roll ads if they choose to after a few seconds.
Appearing at the end of the content, post-roll ads are less intrusive than other types of OTT advertising.
While viewers can’t typically skip these ads, they are generally seen as less disruptive to the viewing experience since the main content would have finished.
There are various features and functions that OTT providers should look for when choosing an OTT service provider.
Here are some of the critical things to consider.
Elastic media is the ability to adjust the video’s bitrate automatically according to the user’s internet connection speed.
This ensures that the video quality is always high, regardless of whether the user has a fast or slow connection.
OTT providers should look for a service that can stream content in high definition (HD) and 4K quality.
With more and more users having access to devices that support these higher resolutions, it’s essential that OTT providers can offer the highest possible experience to those that have the proper bandwidth to support this.
When it comes to choosing an OTT provider, price is always going to be a key consideration.
As such, providers should look for a service that offers a competitive pricing model relative to other platforms on the OTT market.
Whether someone is on their Playstation, Xbox, Android mobile phone, or various Samsung smart TV devices, having access to a preferences center is essential.
This is where users can easily control their privacy settings and ensure they only share the data they’re comfortable with.
A key focus of an OTT platform is the ability to recommend the right shows to users based on their personal preferences.
From Disney shows to Amazon Prime Video, an intelligent OTT platform can suggest content that the user might be interested in, based on past choices.
Advertisers working with OTT providers need to reach their target audience effectively.
OTT providers should look for a service that offers advanced video monetization features.
Whether they’re interested in pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll ads, OTT providers need to offer advertisers a range of options.
No one wants to experience buffering when sitting down to watch their favorite show.
As such, the OTT provider must have a high-performance data storage system.
This will help to ensure that the content is cached and managed effectively, reducing the likelihood of any buffering issues.
Those who use OTT platforms to deliver their shows need to understand what type of content resonates with their viewers.
Whether users are on their smartphones, using iTunes on an iOS device, or are connected via Google Chromecast, an OTT platform needs to capture user viewing data and deliver it in a format that is easy to understand.
From this, OTT providers can make changes to improve the user experience and ensure that viewers keep returning for more.
DRM refers to the technology used to protect digital content from unauthorized copying or distribution.
OTT providers need to ensure that their content is protected by DRM, as this will help to reduce the risk of piracy.
Focusing on ensuring that multiple devices play smooth content is key to providing a great user experience.
OTT providers should understand the different types of devices their users are watching on and ensure that the content is delivered in a format that can be played on each device.
Integrating all the moving pieces and providing a great experience to the end user is the foundation of any good OTT platform.
An SDK (Software Development Kit) is a set of tools that allows developers to create applications for a specific platform.
An API (Application Programming Interface) is a set of rules and protocols allowing software components to interact.
Combining these two things is essential for any OTT provider that wants to ensure a great user experience for everyone involved.
As the number of OTT providers in the market increases, providing value to consumers will become more critical.
For content providers, this means creating quality programming that can be consumed on any screen.
It also means using the right OTT platforms to reach your target audience.
When it comes to OTT platform owners, ensuring that the various OTT devices in the market are compatible with their content is critical.
This way, they can be sure that their target audience will be able to watch their favorite content no matter their device.
Finally, as the end user, doing your research when it comes to the different types of OTT devices available is always a good idea.
This way, you can find the device that best fits your needs and budget while ensuring you will be able to watch your favorite content.
What is your experience with OTT devices?
Let me know in the comments below!
Further reading on AdamEnfroy.com: Here are a couple of review articles about two of the best OTT platforms right now:
These can help you better understand what’s currently available and decide which one is right for you.
Moreover, if you’re starting in the video world, here are the best video hosting sites that allow you to host and share your videos with your target audience.
Our reviews are made by a team of experts before being written and come from real-world experience. Read our editorial process here.
Last Updated on May 1, 2023 by Adam Enfroy