ott vs linear tv

What is Linear TV? The Difference Between Linear TV vs OTT

Discover More about OTT TV App

The traditional television industry is undergoing significant changes due to the increasing popularity of new content consumption habits among audiences. This shift is disrupting the entire linear TV market. According to statistics, the majority of linear television viewers fall into the category of older audiences, typically aged 35 or older. 

Turning our attention to the focus on mighty brands, it is crucial to consider that when contemplating linear TV viewership, these audiences are predominantly associated with affluent groups. Despite the emergence of newer non-linear TV technology causing a paradigm shift, it has not rendered linear TV obsolete.

Furthermore, there is a positive aspect to live TV events, as they attract and engage audiences of all ages, regardless of their geographical location. On a broader level, these live streaming events tend to capture unique viewing trends compared to any other marketing channel.

Moreover, linear streaming continues to play a significant role in broadcasting events with a broader audience, such as live sports and concerts. However, it is important to note that non-linear viewing remains in the ascendancy and is poised to receive unprecedented popularity.

Besides that, viewing habits and preferences tend to vary by age group in demographic studies. In fact, it has been later found that audiences who fall under the teenage category are increasingly shifting towards OTT platform for viewing live events and entertainment purposes.

What is Linear TV?

Linear TV, commonly referred to as traditional broadcast television, functions on a set schedule and delivers content through cable and satellite services. Viewers engage with programs at specific times by tuning in, distinguishing it from on-demand services that allow more flexibility in content selection.

what is linear tv

Top 3 Characteristics of Linear TV:

Rigid Schedule: Linear TV operates on a predetermined programming schedule. Viewers need to adhere to this fixed timeline to catch their favorite shows or events.

Real-Time Engagement: In contrast to on-demand streaming, linear TV unfolds in real-time. Viewers synchronize their watching habits with the programmed schedule to experience content. 

Limited Viewer Control: A distinctive feature of Linear TV is the restricted control. Unlike OTT streaming services, users lack the ability to pause, rewind, or fast-forward content. This limitation ties viewers to the linear progression of the broadcast.

Does anyone watch Linear TV?

According to Nielsen’s July 2023 report, linear TV viewership in the U.S. dipped below 50%, registering cable usage at 29.6% (a 12.5% YoY decline) and broadcast at 20% (a 5.4% YoY decrease). In stark contrast, streaming services achieved a remarkable milestone, reaching a record high of 38.7%, marking a substantial 25.3% increase over the past year. Key contributors to this surge included YouTube (9.2%), Netflix (8.5%), and Prime Video (3.4%).

The Benefits of Linear TV

The benefits of Linear TV include:

  • Alignment with live events.
  • Connection with older viewers.
  • Precise targeting by channel and airtime.
  • Repurposing ads for CTV campaigns.
  • Flexible budgeting for broader reach.
  • Channel integration facilitated through retargeting.

Non-linear TV has certainly has a tendency of disruptiveness on the television market, giving viewers complete control over television consumption. It arms advertisers with the best mode of targeting that’s powerful.

Several factors shield linear TV’s future for the current being. Live events are one of those which support continuous rely. Whether it’s to do with sports, or live game shows where audience can participate by casting their votes, linear television is still to be marked as undisputed leader.  

Since linear platform is traditionally an expensive solution & highly regulated medium, consumers are bought at a belief stating that linear TV advertisers are more trustworthy. And therefore, they attribute to a greater level of credibility to these big brands. 

However, TV providing a solution for brands, search for alternative growth as skepticism grows around the effectiveness of digital advertising that tends to have a rise. 

Advantages of Linear TV Advertising

The biggest advantage of linear advertising is reach. There is still no better place to reach a massive amount of people at one time than a big linear TV event. Just look at the Super Bowl, which garnered more than ​​112 million viewers in 2022.

What is Linear TV OTT?

Linear TV, at its core, represents the traditional television system that transmits content through cable or satellite connections. It stands in contrast to OTT, which delivers content over the Internet. The term “linear” reflects its method of content delivery, adhering to a predetermined schedule for all viewers. 

Does Linear TV Still Have a Future?

Major industry players understand the need of changing media landscape & show their willingness to adopt new technology. Some have launched their own OTT services to take a higher leap of repurposing themselves & get their piece of pie, such as Disney plus, NBC’s Peacock. And other companies like Vodafone, Viacom18 have decided to take linear TV entirely to a new level by transforming their platform to Cloud TV. 

Linear TV operators are now readily leveraging cloud TV that’s developed in cloud-based infrastructure to distribute their services as well as OTT streaming services. All the more, its beneficial as they can also get access to digital technology in which advanced audience targeting & personalization are major takeaways. 

But at the same time, they are also looking to maintain the scalability of linear TV. In simpler words, cloud TV brings the best of both technologies streamlined into one medium for operators. 

Thinking Of Creating Your Own TV App For Your Brand?

Transformation to Cloud TV:

Companies like Vodafone and Viacom18 take a pioneering step by transforming linear TV into Cloud TV. This strategic move involves leveraging cloud-based infrastructure for the distribution of services and OTT streaming. The shift to Cloud TV not only modernizes the linear TV experience but also opens avenues for enhanced scalability and technological integration.

The Synergy of Cloud TV:

Linear TV operators are actively looking to make the most out of cloud TV, integrating advanced audience targeting and personalization. This approach allows them to maintain the scalability of linear TV while capitalizing on the benefits of digital technology. Overall, cloud TV represents a synthesis of the best aspects of both technologies, providing a solution for operators. 

What is OTT?

What is OTT?

OTT, short for Over-the-Top television, encompasses content delivery in diverse media formats, spanning audio and video. Diverging from conventional broadcast practices, OTT content is conveyed through wireless Internet connections, adopting a live streaming format.

This pioneering method allows audiences to access content independently of cable or satellite service providers, assuming they possess a reliable network connection and a compatible hardware device proficient in streaming to televisions or other Internet-enabled devices.

Some of the examples of OTT devices primarily include Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, gaming consoles, etc. These devices are then required to pair them to HDMI port of TV streams where then relevant content is streamed from popular OTT providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc. Smartphones or connected devices can download OTT apps which allows streaming in real-time.  

Key Aspects of OTT:

1. Internet-Based Delivery:

Basically, OTT content is transmitted through wireless connections, making it independent of conventional cable or satellite services. In recent times, this freedom in content delivery has transformed the way audiences consume media of all genres, offering a versatile experience tailored to modern viewing preferences.

2. Increased Convenience: 

With a stable Internet connection, viewers can access OTT content at their preferred time, providing the flexibility to tailor their entertainment to individual schedules. This liberation from time and space constraints facilitates a global reach and also leads to a more personalized and immersive viewing experience for audiences worldwide.

3. Compatible Hardware Devices:

Illustrative of OTT devices are gadgets like Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and gaming consoles. These tools establish a connection with TV HDMI ports, enabling the effortless streaming of content from well-known OTT providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and others.

4. Mobile Streaming Apps:

OTT applications seamlessly install on smartphones and connected devices, providing real-time streaming capabilities. This flexibility allows users to enjoy their favorite content on the go, ensuring an on-the-move entertainment experience that aligns with the modern lifestyle. 

OTT services give viewers complete control over consumption and unlimited access to high-quality content that’s viewable across various devices. They can be customizable to enhance maximized viewing experience, & allow users to watch whatever they want to from available titles.  With varied OTT packages, they can now easily gain the freedom to watch from anywhere at anytime.  

Viewers can pre-schedule their show time, & leisurely watch any genre of content with zero interrupted service. This is very valuable for them, who can’t afford to view TV shows at a fixed time in a particular location. There is also a possibility to pause content when watching shows & provide flexible viewing space for continued watching if necessary. 

There are predictions that cable television industry in the U.S is forecasted to shrink by more than one forth by the year 2025. This clearly shows that the OTT market is expected to boom furthermore where video segment is going to mount up to 3,508 Million users by 2027. Indeed, this makes them one of the world’s significant sources of entertainment. 

The OTT Advantage

Over-the-top is defined as long form video content which is shown premium over the internet through an application or device such as TV, Smartphone, Web, PC, etc. There is no need to subscribe to a wired cable, telco or satellite service for users. OTT incudes content that is streamed via popular apps like Netflix, Sling TV, Hulu, etc. It’s a collection of video packages where anyone can access the high-quality of content once they pay for the subscription. 

There are thousands of programs that audiences can easily procure access to it via a monthly subscription. It doesn’t just stop there, but OTT media provides complete freedom to access international web series, live sports telecasts and favorite videos on the go. This is one of the greatest pros for any target audience furnished from OTT streaming platforms

Many consumers who devotedly watch linear TV, express their frustration at number of adverts interrupting in-between the content. While there are loads of ads occurrence a fact is predominant. Users have little interest in the ads shows & this is recognized by the advertisers as there more need for creative, data-driven & accurate target OTT advertising experiences. And OTT environment gives them this opportunity.  

Also, the higher playback speed is, it gets better with auditory & visual content as there is perfect sync due to smooth playability online. Also, you can customize the video & audio quality according to your liking. While you being the platform owner, you can manage entire operations on your own without any intervention from external sources & reap maximum profitability. 

What is the Difference Between OTT and Linear TV?

OTT and linear TV diverge primarily in content delivery methods. OTT delivers video content over the Internet, accessible on various devices with web compatibility. In contrast, linear TV relies primarily on cable subscriptions or free-to-air signals, representing the traditional television format reminiscent of earlier generations.

Despite their close resemblance, these terms are different from each other & aren’t interchangeable. To avoid confusion, let’s break them down into two sections.

difference between OTT vs linear tv

Linear TV 

Scheduled Content Viewing:

Linear TV, rooted in tradition, entails television broadcasts where viewers access content at specific times, exclusively available on particular channels. The shows are aired as live telecasts and are not digitally recorded. Viewers are allotted a specific time frame to consume the content, categorizing it as a traditional, time-bound viewing experience. Despite being the stronghold of the largest video advertising market, linear TV has faced scrutiny due to its recent decline.

Challenges and Transformations:

While linear TV continues to hold significance, its prominence is challenged by evolving viewer preferences and the rise of alternative content consumption methods. The decline in linear TV viewership indicates a shift towards more flexible and on-demand viewing experiences offered by contemporary platforms.

Navigating the Evolving Landscape:

When we look into digital innovation, linear TV is adapting to remain relevant to quite some extent. However, the challenge lies in balancing traditional broadcasting methods with the demand for more flexible and personalized content consumption. This adaptation journey determines the future trajectory of linear TV over the OTT. 

Over The Top (OTT)

Beyond Traditional Cable TV:

OTT, short for Over-the-Top, encompasses services that provide a diverse range of content within smoothly enabled delivery environments. At its core, OTT represents a departure from traditional cable TV boxes, delivering video or audio content through Internet sources. This departure allows for a more flexible and on-demand content consumption experience.

OTT as a Digital Medium:

The term OTT has evolved to become synonymous with digital content delivery. For example, OTT TV apps can distribute content to large-format screens, while the same asset can also be delivered in lower quality to older devices. This adaptability and versatility make OTT a dynamic and inclusive digital medium.

Rise of OTT Services:

OTT has experienced a notable rise in acclaim, fueled by the advent of platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and others. Prominent media entities have ventured into the OTT sphere, introducing their proprietary services to align with evolving consumer preferences. Offerings like Disney+ and HBO underscore the industry’s acknowledgment of OTT’s pivotal role in shaping the outlook of content consumption.

Also Read: How Does Amazon Prime Video Makes Money?

Hire Dedicated Developers to Develop Your Linear TV App

Developing a linear TV app can be complex due to compatibility requirements and the need to deliver content in real-time.
However, VPlayed’s hiring model simplifies this process, allowing you to assemble a dedicated development team tailored to your project.
We have a grand team of 300+ experienced OTT app developers who understand the intricacies of linear TV app development. With our streamlined development process, we reduce time to market, ensuring your app reaches viewers faster and more efficiently.

Here’s how this approach transforms your app development experience:

  1. Flexible Hiring Model: Our hiring model allows you to scale your development team according to your project’s unique needs. We always ensure efficiency and cost-effectiveness at any time during the development cycle.
  2. Ready-to-Work Team: Our expert developers can start the work anytime, minimizing project delays and accelerating development.
  3. 300+ Experienced Developers: Our extensive team brings unparalleled expertise to every aspect of OTT TV/linear app development, thus ensuring high-quality results.
  4. Intuitive UI/UX Designs: We have assembled an amazing design team. Our designers prioritize user-friendliness with simplicity, consistency, and mobile responsiveness, improving the overall user experience.
  5. Multi-Device Support: We ensure seamless functionality across various devices and platforms, OTT broadening your app’s reach.
  6. Customize Anything On Your App: Enjoy complete customization freedom to align your linear TV app precisely with your brand identity and unique requirements.
  7. Faster Time to Market (3 to 4 weeks): Our streamlined development process often results in your app going live in just 3 to 4 weeks. In other words, it gives you a big competitive advantage in reaching your audience on time.

Note: All in all, working with VPlayed’s dedicated developers allows you to create fully customizable, reliable, and scalable linear TV and OTT TV apps. Unlike other third-party developers, VPlayed ensures that your app seamlessly aligns with your vision, budget, and timeline, guaranteeing an exceptional streaming experience.


Remember the days when we all sat together watching TV on a few channels with set schedules? Well, those days are gone. Thanks to streaming services, things have changed a lot in the tech as well as in the entertainment field.

Now, we have better and constant Internet connections, and the way we watch content has totally flipped. We are not stuck with the old-style TV broadcasts anymore. People now use high end gadgets that have the latest tech – phones, tablets, computers, and smart TVs. Everyone can decide what, when, and where they want to watch, with just a click.

It’s no longer about families gathering around a TV; now, each person has their own smart device and can watch what they like, whenever they like. This change is making big TV networks or media companies think of new ways to attract viewers and give them the best service possible.

All in all, we can say that TV isn’t just for families anymore; it’s a personal thing. As tech keeps getting better, the way we watch TV is getting better and better. And big TV networks need to find alternate ways to keep people interested and hooked in front of the screen.

If You Already have an idea about launching a Tv App, Schedule a free demo and We’ll Get You On The Road To Video Streaming Success!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What are Linear TV Platforms?

Linear TV is the traditional way of watching a scheduled TV show on its original channel. Viewers can also record and watch later. While it still has a significant market share, the audience is spread out as TV competition increases.

2. What are the advantages of Linear TV?

The top 3 advantages of Linear TV are as follows:

1. Targeted audiences based on channel and time, matching demographics to programming.
2. Mass reach exists since users often pay for linear TV in addition to streaming subscriptions.
3. Linear TV dominates in sports or live game shows where the public participates by voting.

3. What is the difference between linear TV & OTT?

Linear TV is the traditional method where viewers watch a recorded show on its channel. OTT delivers content over the internet based on individual preferences. Linear TV caters to all ages, while OTT focuses on young adults aged 18 to 29.

4. What Is Linear TV Advertising?

Linear advertising follows a set schedule, running ads at specific times to target particular audiences. This allows advertisers to reach specific demographics by choosing channels and airtimes where their target audience is likely to watch.

5. What are the advertising benefits of Linear TV?

Linear TV still offers the largest viewership, providing advertisers with the broadest reach to introduce their brand to new consumers. Some of the benefits of Linear TV include Reaching undiscovered audiences, avoiding ad fatigue, testing and adjusting advertising efforts, and optimizing reach.

Blogger & OTT Expert at VPlayed. Interested in digging deep into video streaming media tools, and Love to blog, discuss and share views on the legal OTT app development' & latest technologies tips, and tricks. He's also passionate about photography loves to capture the pure essence of life.


  1. Angelina Reply

    We are in the process of developing a ott apps project with live support. Would you please guide me through the linear tv vs over-the-top and its service differences for our employees? It will make them understand our OTT project. Thanks

  2. Jiyaz Reply

    I would like to develop an ott solution with Android and iOS, For that, I need some details about linear tv vs over-the-top video streaming in a real-time scenario, Kindly share with me the complete factors on this.

  3. Eliza Reply

    I want to know about linear tv vs ott differences and why it is important for video-based content owners to generate revenues.

  4. Jose Reply

    Good to know about the informative one on the current trends, It will be the right time to get information on linear tv vs ott and its difference.

  5. Jason Hall Reply

    Please help us find what is linear tv vs OTT video streaming that lets us charge users to access ott streams and watch them again later. We would need two types of subscriptions, monthly and daily, and billing to be compatible with credit cards from South Africa. Can you help us with this?

  6. Cristian Reply

    Hey, Can you please explain more about the difference between linear tv vs ott and how it is different from the traditional cable and OTT services with its complete definition?

  7. Martin Joseph Reply

    Why OTT video streaming is becoming more trendy nowadays, User count may drastically improve day by day. That is why am more curious to know about linear tv vs over-the-top video streaming in terms of business perspectives.

  8. Dakari Reply

    Good one, Need an expert’s suggestion to know about linear tv vs ott and its difference? how it will be more helpful for video-based content creators to launch successful platforms.

  9. Johnny Wade Reply

    It’s really useful information & an article on linear tv vs over-the-top for video-based business owners to generate more revenue through the monetization models available in it.

  10. Violet Ross Reply

    Good day, I have requested a demo. We are looking for a scalable linear tv vs OTT for the video streaming platform. Looking for prices as well for licenses and customization

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Request Demo