In the broadcasting and media industry, OTT stands for over-the-top media and entertainment services delivered via subscription-based channels over internet networks, rather than traditional cable boxes and wires.
It was named “over-the-top” because it referred to the services that went over the conventional cable boxes to deliver TV content to the user.
The recent lockdown due to the outbreak of the global pandemic COVID-19, has forced the global economies to shut down their offices, schools, religious places, markets, malls, theatres and all other public gathering places.
It has thus forced the people from across the globe to work from homes. This sudden work from home culture has exponentially created a spike in the business of OTT service providers and in the usage of video streaming platforms.
According to a recent report, this social distancing and quarantining situation can witness an increase of nearly 60% in the amount of content consumption.
It has often happened that during crisis events, these OTT service providers ramp up their media library to offer content that can satiate the watching habit of their users. In this post we will talk about the 7 best video streaming platforms that you can utilize during your homestay.
Founded in 1997, Netflix gradually turned into a USD$15.8 billion giant. It was the first ever platform to tap the potential of the OTT service way back in 2007. With over 150 million subscribers all over the world, over 37 percent of the global internet users watch Netflix for their entertainment.
It offers a wide range of content from different locales with subtitles for easy accessibility. For instance, Money Heist is a Spanish TV series that gained popularity in several countries through Netflix. People watched it by reading subtitles.
Some of the most loved Indian titles are Sacred Games, Ghoul, Selection Day, Little Things, Lust Stories and Delhi Crime among others. Besides, it also offers some of the most popular TV shows from all over the world including Suits, Sherlock, Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Lucifer, Black Mirror, Stranger Things and 13 Reasons Why, Altered Carbon, Black Mirror, Dead to Me, Mindhunters, Orange is the New Black, Russian Doll, Stranger Things, The Umbrella Academy, Unbelievable and The Witcher.
Its subscription plans are USD$ 8.99 for the basic plan (monthly), USD$ 12.99 for standard plan (monthly) and USD$ 15.99 for premium plan (monthly).
One of the most decent, traditional and user-friendly interfaces with a smooth guide allowing you to filter what appears on your screen. Lots of categorization for your convenience like sports, lifestyle, most popular movies, new releases and more are available.
The number of connected devices and internet speed may affect the service performance. Although the interface is amazing in terms of quick responsiveness. For simultaneous and seamless streaming on multiple devices, Sling recommends internet speed of 25 Mbps.
The sound quality demands a 5.1 surround sound quality with SD and HD picture quality. Live TV, 30+ channels, local channels depending on your location, on-demand content, many sports channels including ESPN, with channels as per need and lots of add-on choices are available on this platform.
Sling supports a wide range of devices like: Amazon Fire, Android and iOS devices, Roku devices, Apple TV, Chromebook, Chromecast, Android TV, LG, Samsung TVs, Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X, Windows 10 computers and devices, Web browsers.
The platform has a free trial period of seven days post the activation of your account that is cancellable anytime. The good thing about it is that you can keep your recording indefinitely or if you’re a Sling user.
The two base plans Sling Orange and Sling Blue cost $30.00 per month if you decide to go for one or the other, but you can get a discount for both and get either one of the plans at $20.00 for the first month. The regular price of the bundle plan Orange & Blue is $45.00 with a $35.00 price tag for the first month. Another great service for you to take advantage of is the m3u8 player from Castr, ideal for any kind of streaming.
A new age OTT service provider with state-of-the-art-video live streaming solutions. This platform offers customized advertising options by offering brands and individuals to showcase their rich video content.
This gives complete autonomy to monitor and analyse their activities from an intelligent dashboard.
It is also one of the most secure video streaming platforms of the industry as it safeguards your video content seriously and has thus integrated Blockchain Technology for complete safety.
Using smart contracts, Phando brings a bunch of benefits to a highly fragmented media industry. It also offers an innovative way to cut back and re-circulate values worth billions of dollars held in custody by piracy.
It is an exclusive broadcasting platform that helps you to identify the truest scope of your videos with the best in class technology clubbed together with a world class digital ecosystem.
4. HBO Now
The home to the globally popular TV series Game of Thrones, this platform delivers an amazing catalogue of new on-air original content including The Wire, Chernobyl, The Stranger, and Westworld, in addition to beloved older series such as Curb Your Enthusiasm, Deadwood, Girls, The Sopranos, and Six Feet Under.
Besides, HBO’s on-demand streaming media includes a collection of popular movies across a variety of other known genres like action, comedy, horror, drama, family, horror/sci-fi, Latino, romance, and suspense. Some of the other streaming services now offer HBO Now as an add-on, thereby, supporting the billing and account management process.
This service is available on web and application format on iOS, Android, Chromecast, Apple TV, iOS, PS4, Roku, and the Xbox One, just to name a few.
5. Amazon Prime
One of the most known video platforms, backed by the eCommerce giant Amazon, Amazon Prime Video offers flawless access to all the rich video content libraries either through standalone Prime Video subscription or an Amazon prime subscription.
Amazon Prime Video provides access to an ever-growing list of original content made and a ton of latest and retro movies from varied demographics.
The subscription module of Prime is comparatively less to that of Netflix, besides giving an added-on advantage of faster delivery and exclusive access to offers on its wide range of products.
Prime Video also offers a great collection of movies in English and other regional languages and has produced number of original web series, some of them being The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Bosch, Catastrophe, Patriot, Red Oaks, The Boys, The Man in the High Castle, One Mississippi, The Undone and The Grand Tour.
It offers viewing options of 4K and HDR streaming along with monitored downloads for offline watching. This service is available on web browsers, and mobile application platforms like iOS, Android, Fire devices, gaming consoles and STBs.
Pricing plans for Amazon Prime are USD$ 12.99 for the monthly plan and USD$ 119 for the annual plan. The only prime video membership comes at a subscription of USD$ 8.99.
Hulu is known to be one of the best choices for cord cutters with regards to the varied options in streaming options. Besides offering a classic composition of classic shows, it also offers a live TV option that has more than 60 channels of news, sports, movies etc. This makes it hard for its competitors to beat this platform service.
Hulu’s basic subscription plan costs a meagre USD$ 5.99/month, but the same subscription in an ad-free version amounts to USD$ 11.99/month.
The Hulu + Live TV plan costs $54.99 per month and combines Hulu’s live TV service with the ad-supported streaming plan. Hulu supports a remarkable range of gadgets and you stream on up two devices simultaneously.
Hulu features user-friendly and elegant navigations that makes the user use this consistently across all the platforms. None of the apps suffered any performance issues.
It also provides for its premium subscribers the facility to download content and watch offline. It allows the eligible subscribers to download approximately 20 titles, across 5 different; these downloads are available for 30 days from the date of download or 2 days after you play begins. Only Hulu’s originals support this particular feature.
Disney plus delivers unlimited hours of music and movie playback for all such devices which are ubiquitous. This subscription-based video-on-demand OTT service platform saw the sunlight in November 2019, and is a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company.
Disney plus functions on the technology developed by Disney streaming services. In no time of its launch in The United States, Canada & Netherlands and Australia, New Zealand & Puerto Rico a week later, its user base spiked to 10M mark.
The user interface of this OTT service platform is very neat and clean with web-like template features.
It gives an ad-free subscription service for upto 4 simultaneous streams and 7 customized profiles.Disney plus is available at a price cap of USD$ 6.99/month and USD$ 70/annum for web, iOS and android devices, video streaming platforms and gaming consoles.