CommScope Definitions: What is OTT?

ALRUTZ_M_jpg (002) Mark Alrutz November 2, 2018


This blog post is part of a series called “CommScope Definitions” in which we will explain common terms in communications network infrastructure.

Imagine you are watching television, and a fashion show comes on with runway models clad in aluminum foil evening wear. That’s over the top. Your brother-in-law’s Christmas sweater? Absolutely over the top. Now imagine you are watching television commercial-free, on a set wirelessly connected to your router, or on another wireless device. Is that over the top? It may well be.

CLICK TO TWEET: You probably use OTT but you call it by another name. CommScope's Mark Alrutz explains in this blog.

Over the Top services

OTT is an abbreviation for Over the Top, and it refers to services like video that are delivered to you from the cloud using your service provider’s network. These services are referred to as OTT because they literally ride over the top of other services, some competitive, offered by your network operator. A couple of well-known examples of OTT services are Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.

Network operators and OTT providers

Network operators and OTT providers are competitive on many fronts, but they also rely on each other. OTT needs the physical network connectivity to reach subscribers, or more simply put, a network to ride over so you can enjoy your selected entertainment. Network providers do not need OTT, but it is bandwidth consuming content that plays a large role in driving subscriber expectations and fuels the Internet explosion. It is possible that without OTT, high bandwidth services we enjoy today might not yet exist.

This doesn’t mean you should follow your brother-in-law and wear a crazy sweater or commit the act of “putting on the foil.” Let’s leave those “over the top” items alone.

About the Author

ALRUTZ_M_jpg (002)

Mark Alrutz

Mark Alrutz is the vice president of global service providers in the FAE organization for CommScope. He is responsible for technical solution sales, applications engineering, pre- and post-sales technical support, and customer training. Mr. Alrutz received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and master of science degree  in management from Georgia Tech. He has been an active SCTE member since 1996. He also participates on the SCTE Interface Practices Subcommittee and the Energy 2020 program. Mr. Alrutz holds numerous U.S. patents and has been published in several industry trade magazines.