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Live Streaming on the Big Screen: TV Apps, OTT, and the Future of Television

Posted by Michael Wilson on Oct 19, 2018 3:43:52 PM
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Multi-Platform Streaming

It has been said, "if you aren't everywhere, you're nowhere." This holds some level of truth in many industries, and the world of live streaming is no exception.

No matter what kind of content you produce, in most cases, you probably want people to see it. The most important step you can take in making that happen is putting your content where (and how) people want to see it.

Thanks to advances in modern web-video technology, your StreamSpot broadcasts play well on computers, tablets, smartphones, and more. Pretty much any device that can open a standard web browser these days can view a live stream. The days of third-party plugins are gone, and on the mobile front, dedicated apps are becoming less prevalent in favor of responsive, mobile-friendly websites.

It's easier than ever to provide coverage of your event to laptops, desktops, phone and tablets, all with one website. What's left?


The biggest screen in the house

The days of huddling around a computer screen to watch a live stream with family and friends have come and gone. Five or six years ago when I started doing my own sports live streams, the best advice we could give people wanting a big-screen viewing experience was, "you can hook a laptop up to your TV." Obviously not a great solution.

Today, it's so much easier. Content delivered over the internet has become standard, and so have devices to watch it on. But, are people actually watching this way?

Consider this:

40% of U.S homes now have at least one streaming media player for their television(s).

In 2017 alone, the total number of OTT viewer hours doubled. 

So yes, it's safe to say people are watching. Now let's move on to what and how they're watching. 

streamspotfamilyThe Terminology

  • OTT (Over The Top) - Simply put, OTT is the term used to refer to audio/video content distributed directly to customers televisions through the internet. The term 'Over the Top,' whether it's a multi-national sports network, or your local temple, OTT content is considered anything delivered via the internet, bypassing the institutions like cable providers or television networks. On paper, it's a pretty broad term with room for a lot of different meanings. But, in the real world, it's almost always referring to TV and media players. The next two terms we're about to cover also fall under the category of OTT.
  • STB (Set Top Box) - A dedicated device like a Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, etc.  that is primarily used for viewing OTT content and is generally a small box that hooks up to WiFi and your TV and includes a small remote.
  • Casting - The process of sending content from a device like a phone, tablet, or computer, to a wireless receiver, primarily used for viewing OTT content. Chromecast is available as both a dedicated device (HDMI Stick) and as a feature built into other devices. Apple AirPlay is available for Apple TV when used with iPhones or iPads. Popular with younger and more tech-savvy users. 

The Important Stuff: How StreamSpot can help you take your content Over-The-Top

The OTT device market is largely controlled by 4 key companies: Roku, Amazon, Apple, and Google. With their products being, respectively: Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV (with AirPlay), and Chromecast. The chart below demonstrates these 4 devices and their market share (relative to the entire OTT device industry) as of March 2016.


ott shares


The numbers shift and change over time, sometimes the rankings even change. (Though, as you can probably tell, there's not much of a big threat right now to Roku.)

But overall, the devices listed above have consistently been in the Top 4 for several years, and likely will be for years to come.

With the introduction of our Amazon Fire TV Support (Beta), StreamSpot has positioned its customers with the option of availability on all four of the biggest OTT platforms.

Here's a breakdown of the integration options available with StreamSpot:

Roku - Custom built channel by request

Fire TV - Custom built channel by request (Closed Beta)

Chromecast - Support for casting directly from the StreamSpot Player (Pro Plan or Higher required)

Apple TV (AirPlay) - Support for casting directly from the StreamSpot Player

StreamSpot broadcasts will also generally play fine on devices like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, using the built-in web browsers. (Though this is not officially supported, it has been tested and functions.) 

The Benefits

While it's no longer the only way to watch content, the television is still a popular choice for enjoying content, especially for longer duration. It's still the preferred way to watch content for millions of people, especially among older demographics.

A single viewer reported on a smart phone is almost certainly just that, a single viewer; meanwhile, a single viewer reported on a television could potentially bring 3 or 4 friends along, quadrupling your reach instantly in that house alone.

Platforms like Roku and Fire TV have their own "Channel Stores" or "App Marketplaces" where your channel will be listed publicly, this gives you more exposure, and a chance to bring in new viewers.

It doesn't have to stop at the home either: if you stream content that would be conducive to exposure in public venues (restaurants, stores, etc.) ,there's no easier way to get a business setup and showing your content. Roku Players start at around $30 USD and come with everything you need, they're about the size of a stick of gum and hide away easily.

The Point

The way we watch television is changing. From the recent "cord-cutting" trend, to the style and format of the content itself. A byproduct of this is that it's now easier than ever for smaller streamers to place themselves right along-side the big boys. The TV experience has evolved, from a handful of cable and satellite providers, to a full-blown entertainment ecosystem. The internet has brought us from a selection hundreds of channels, to millions, the time has never been better to get on-board with the new era of television.

If you're a StreamSpot customer and would like to take advantage of our OTT offerings, let us know by reaching out to support.

If you aren't a StreamSpot customer, sign up for a free trial today, and let us show you how we can simplify your live streaming experience. 


Topics: http-live-streaming, features, integrations, OTT, over the top, roku, chromecast, appletv, Amazon Fire