The world of television has changed so dramatically over the past few years it can be slightly nightmarish for those considering the option of cutting the cord. If you’ve not done your research, learning how to cut-the-cord in and of itself can be pretty overwhelming. (Check out our step-by-step guide here) In order to be helpful, we decided to put a few of the terms together so you can approach the entire process without becoming terrified that you’ll make the wrong choice.
Let’s start with the basics. You’re probably already familiar with services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. Those are just the top three players in what’s known as “Internet-based streaming services.” However, cord-cutters who are “in the know” often refer to these internet-based streaming services as “OTT,” which is short for “Over the Top.” So if someone asks you what OTT you’re using, they’re asking what streaming service(s) you use. Got it? Good!
Because these services have become so popular they’ve literally changed the face of the video world. Back in the day, if someone was talking about video, we were imagining their DVR player and before that, of course, good old VHS. However, now video means a whole host of things from YouTube to Facebook Live recordings, personal videos shared via social media and, of course, the live-streaming services we referenced above. The OTT services brought about the need for a more specific term called “Video on Demand,” a.k.a. “VOD.” This is something all OTT services have in common. Basically, they allow their customers to select what they want to watch and when they want to watch it. Because it’s all pre-recorded, they are literally videos on demand (VOD). Easy enough, right?
Now here’s where it starts to get tricky. There are different types of VOD. Basically, the differences are based on the way you pay for the video. Let’s break it down:
Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD). This is the type of VOD that you must pay a regular subscription fee to receive. Netflix and Hulu easily fall into this category. You pay a subscription and you get to browse through the movies and TV shows they offer in exchange for that fee.
Transactional Video on Demand (TVOD). This is the type of VOD that you pay for each movie you watch at the time you choose to watch it. Each viewing is a separate transaction. You usually aren’t charged to sign up for the service and create a profile. However, when you choose to watch a movie, you will be prompted to pay the one-time fee to watch that movie. These types of services make more money on the videos because they can charge a higher fee for each individual viewing. Think of these services like the On Demand you might have seen at a hotel or even your cable company may have an On Demand feature allowing you to order more recent movies for a fee.
Advertising Video on Demand (AVOD). This is an ad-based type of VOD. It is free for you as the user and is offered as another advertising option for companies that want to reach certain target audiences. For instance, the demographic that watches how-to videos about fixing up their house might be the perfect audience for HGTV to advertise to. You see this type of VOD mostly on YouTube but also network websites that share a lot of video from news shows or other popular shows on their respective stations.
Are you still following along? Knowing what type of VOD you watch the most, will be helpful as you cut the cord. For instance, if you’re a die-hard YouTube fan, you might want to make sure that your streaming device or smart TV allows you to easily view your AVOD. Likewise, if you’re not much of a television watcher at all and only want it for a couple of movies a month, then you’ll want to do research into the world of TVOD where you can pay individually for each transaction. Of course, most of you will pick which OTT service is right for you and stick with SVOD for your viewing pleasure. And if you could follow along with this last paragraph, you’ve graduated into the world of cord cutting and you’re ready to find the right VOD for your home…. Right after you find the right HDTV, Whole-House Antenna of course!