In broadcasting, over-the-top content (OTT) is the delivery of audio, video, and other media over the Internet without the involvement of a multiple-system operator in the control or distribution of the content. The Internet provider may be aware of the contents of the Internet Protocol packets but is not responsible for, nor able to control, the viewing abilities, copyrights, and/or other redistribution of the content. This model contrasts with the purchasing or rental of video or audio content from an Internet service provider (ISP), such as pay television, video on demand or an IPTV video service. OTT refers to content from a third party that is delivered to an end-user, with the ISP simply transporting IP packets.
In the United States, an online video distributor (OVD) is defined in FCC 13-99 as "any entity that offers video content by means of the Internet or other Internet Protocol (IP)–based transmission path provided by a person or entity other than the OVD".
Similarly, over-the-top messaging is third parties providing instant messaging services as an alternative to text messaging services provided by a mobile network operator, particularly WhatsApp, which is narrowly focused to replace text messaging on Internet connected smartphones. Founded in 2009, it was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for approximately US$16 billion, now has more than 900 million active users and also provides over-the-top voice calling capabilities. Other services like Skype have also taken away traditional (mobile) phone operator business by using open internet communication to replace and enhance existing operator controlled services.
Consumers can access OTT content through Internet-connected devices such as desktop and laptop computers, gaming consoles (such as the PlayStation 4, Wii U, and Xbox One), set-top boxes (such as the Fire TV and Roku), smartphones (including Android phones, iPhones, and Windows phones), smart TVs (such as Google TV and LG Electronic's Channel Plus), and tablets.
- Access-independent services
- Content delivery network
- Home theater PC
- Internet television
- List of Internet television providers
- Multi-screen video
- Streaming media
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