Showing posts with label OTA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label OTA. Show all posts

Aug 25, 2017

OTA vs. Cable

Satellite and cable TV companies have massive networks, carrying 100s of channels to millions of customers. To effectively service these customers, they use digital compression technologies to shrink the size of the signal, allowing more channels to fit on the cable. When compressing the signal, some of the original data is lost. The result is the picture on your TV loses sharpness and detail.

We have been accustomed to cable and with no comparison, the picture we see is presumed to be the best that can be put out by our TV screen. Many channels are not even delivered in 1080p as we presume. They are still delivered as 720p. The only reason pictures look better is that the new flat screen TVs are adept at up-scaling the signal to make it look better (even though it is not as good as it could be).


OTA means Over The Air. It is difficult to compare the new TV antennas with the old rabbit ears, because the rabbit ears were analog and the new antennas are digital. Using an antenna to pick up a signal over the air provides an uncompressed signal directly to your TV. The results are significantly noticeable and better than cable. A few friends and I have recently added antennas and comparing the picture is as easy as clicking on the input to go from cable to OTA. In every case on each TV the resulting picture is remarkably better with an antenna.


Incidentally, if your cable package blacks out some sports, pick up an antenna, just for game day. They are cheap and can be easily hung on a wall or in a window with a pin or sticky tape. Also great if you want to watch TV out by the patio or pool, no extra wiring, just drag out your TV and attach an antenna.

Jul 7, 2017

OTA vs. OTT

The often used abbreviations can be confusing. Think of OTA (Over The Air) as using a TV antenna, where the signal comes into your antenna, literally over the air from satellite or huge broadcast antenna at a TV or radio station, vs. on a cable.
Think of  OTT (Over The Top) as directly accessing the internet via a physical cable (such as the one that goes into your modem/router LINK). WiFi also gets its input from that cable. It refers to audio, video, and other media transmitted via the Internet without cable or direct-broadcast satellite television systems controlling content. No TV tuner or receiver is necessary.

OTT devices which support streaming include Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, and FireTV, etc. OTT services include video on demand services like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Sky Go, BBC iPlayer, etc.

Bottom line, OTA uses the air outside of your house to receive signals and OTT uses cables outside of your house to receive signals. They both use cables from the wall to devices inside the house.