What is CTV (Connected TV)?

CTV or Connected TV is a television which can stream video content, via a device connected to a television which streams from the web, or a television connected directly to the internet.

A CTV device could be a console (such as Xbox or Playstation) or a ‘stick’ which plugs into your television (like Chromecast, Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, etc.) These devices usually include apps from OTT services in order to access video content. 

They’re becoming extremely popular, as evidenced by the fact that 80% of American households with any kind of television currently have a connected device and at least 40% of adults in these households watch these at least once a day.

What is OTT (Over-the-top)?

OTT, or Over-The-Top, is different to traditional cable or satellite TV: this is the delivery of video content over the Internet, as opposed to via TV cable or antenna. OTT content can be consumed on any device such as a TV, a phone, tablet, or even a computer. 

When it comes to OTT, content is accessed through services including Netflix, FuboTV, Hulu, Sling, Disney+ or Amazon Prime Video as well as broadcaster apps for catch-up and on demand services. Some of these services are either free and ad supported or paid with ads or without (such as Netflix).

What is Linear TV?

Linear TV is the ‘traditional’ way of accessing television content, just like your parents and maybe even their parents did (perhaps in black & white though). It refers to the way in which viewers can consume the content: they’re reliant on the broadcaster schedule. That Content is broadcasted on a particular channel at a particular time, and linear TV is accessed through a free-to-air service via an analogue or digital signal, or a cable or satellite subscription.

TL;DR - summary of CTV, OTT and Linear TV differences.

  • A CTV device is used to stream OTT content via TV. 
  • OTT is the mechanism through which the video content is delivered, in this case, over the internet. 
  • Linear TV is content accessed through cable subscription or free-to-air signal, as opposed through the internet with OTT.