Over-the-Top television services continue to evolve

Lower production costs for video and movies—thanks to digital video production tools—has given rise to more successful indie producers, distributors and content outlets. Many years ago, when there was black and white television and three networks, there was little choice for someone who produced content.

Just take a look at Redbox, which is chock-full of movies that have never seen the inside of a theater. Going straight to DVD is a realistic and often profitable strategy, especially for low-budget producers; and providers have been working hard to get content on as many connected devices as they possibly can. This is of course, a mixed blessing—I checked out a horrendously bad movie (I won't give the title here) just this week out of Redbox, which attempted to mimic the success of the Blair Witch Project, but yielded only shaky camera work, a lot of screaming and not much of a plot. Nonetheless, the market has opened up, and along with the unfortunate fact that there will be a lot more dreck, there will also be a lot more quality entertainment available.

According to an Informa Telecoms & Media report there is somewhat of a new environment evolving, made up of content providers and device manufacturers, which is aimed at allowing content to get onto as many devices as possible. There is however, still not much in terms of consistency in terms of what's now called OTT (Over-the-Top) video—a new category that departs from the traditional cable TV model in which the infrastructure provider is in control.

The discussion has been going on for some time, that the cable model (expensive, and giving you far too much programming that you don't want and will never watch) is becoming obsolete, and according to the Informa report, there are nearly 3,800 OTT video services deployed on connected devices (primarily the television).

One of the most common OTT services of course, is Apple TV, which has gained attention mostly just because it's Apple—not because it's particularly revolutionary or disruptive. The platform is very limited, doesn't allow transactional services that compete against iTunes, and consequently users of Apple TV will never see many of the smaller movie services and productions that are available on other television-based platforms. Apple is still the largest in terms of premium video services on the iOS (but my guess is, not for long); followed closely by Android, which is destined to overtake Apple in short order.

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