Cable, Satellite, IPTV & OTT Streaming: What’s the Difference?

  Understanding the difference between Cable TV,?Satellite?TV, IPTV, and OTT (over-the-top) streaming services can be tricky — particularly as content providers scramble to offer bundled services that blur the line between Internet and broadcast media.

  While cable subscription numbers have been tailing off in favor of alternatives like Netflix and Hulu, the video-consumption industry on the whole has only grown. ?

  There are?more ways to tune into our favorite shows than ever before.

  More choices translate to more power for consumers, but only if you take a moment to understand the differences between the various types of TV connection available on the market today. When shopping for bundled internet service in Dallas, for example, opting for OTT rather than cable can make the difference between a $45/mo bill and a $145/mo bill.

  Our goal in this post is to walk you through the basics of each “flavor” of television, explaining both how they work and how to decide which is best for you and your household.

  In the first section we’ll cover the basics everyone should know. In the second, we’ll dive into more detailed descriptions of how each network?operates.

  First, some quick definitions:

  Pros and cons for consumers

  For most of us, the cost and functionality of home TV is more important than understanding the nuts and bolts. With that in mind, here’s a quick overview of each option:

  Section II: Television networks in detail

  Now that you understand the basics, let’s jump into the details of how each network works for a deeper understanding of what makes each TV option unique.

  Looking forward

  As OTT streaming services like Netflix continue to gobble up a larger share of the TV market, cable and telecom companies are sure to continue introducing compelling new IPTV alternatives based on their own infrastructures.

  That’s not to say cable and satellite will go the way of the dinosaur. On the contrary, cable still presents an attractive option to heavy TV users, and it’ll be years before cable or broadband TV infrastructures reach rural areas served predominantly by satellite TV.

  One thing we can be sure of: the US is watching more TV, on more devices, than ever before.

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