Decoding Roku: Is It OTT or CTV?

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Is Roku OTT or CTV? Top 5 Insights for 2024


When figuring out is Roku OTT or CTV, let’s get right to the point. Roku can be considered both an OTT platform and a CTV device:

  • OTT (Over-The-Top): Roku delivers content over the internet, bypassing traditional cable and satellite TV.
  • CTV (Connected TV): Roku is a device that connects to the internet, making it capable of streaming OTT content.

In short, Roku embodies both concepts, serving as a key player in the modern shift towards internet-based streaming.

OTT (Over-The-Top) and CTV (Connected TV) are transforming how we watch television. They offer a massive opportunity for businesses looking to leverage digital marketing through streaming services. By understanding their roles, you can make smarter marketing decisions and reach more customers effectively.

I’m Mark St. George, with over 15 years of experience in national television and digital marketing. I focus on brand recognition and making the customer journey seamless, especially in the realms of is Roku OTT or CTV.

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Understanding OTT and CTV

To navigate digital streaming, it’s crucial to understand the differences between OTT and CTV. Though they are often used interchangeably, they serve distinct roles in the streaming ecosystem.

What is OTT?

Over-the-top (OTT) refers to the delivery method of streaming video content over the internet, bypassing traditional cable or satellite TV providers. Think of it as a way to access your favorite shows and movies directly through the internet. Popular OTT platforms include Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+.

OTT devices come in various forms:

  • Game consoles like Xbox.
  • Specialized OTT boxes such as Roku TV.
  • Internet-connected smart TVs that can stream content from apps like Hulu and Netflix.

What is CTV?

Connected TV (CTV) refers to any television that can connect to the internet and stream video content. This includes smart TVs and devices like Amazon Fire Stick and Roku that plug into your TV, making it internet-enabled.

In simple terms:

  • OTT is about how the content gets to you.
  • CTV is the device you use to watch that content.

For example, you can watch OTT content (like a Netflix show) on a CTV device (like a Roku TV).

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Streaming Devices and Internet Connectivity

Both OTT and CTV rely heavily on internet connectivity. Without a stable internet connection, streaming high-quality video content would be impossible.

Common streaming devices include:

  • Roku: Offers a range of devices, from streaming sticks to smart TVs.
  • Amazon Fire Stick: Plugs into your TV and provides access to various streaming services.
  • Smart TVs: TVs with built-in internet capabilities and pre-installed streaming apps.

Key Takeaways

Understanding the fundamental differences between OTT and CTV can help you make informed decisions in your digital marketing strategy. OTT is the delivery method, while CTV is the device used for viewing. This distinction is crucial for targeting the right audience and optimizing your advertising efforts.

Next, we’ll dive deeper into the question: Is Roku OTT or CTV?

What is Roku?

Roku is a popular brand that provides devices to stream video content over the internet. These devices are known for their ease of use, affordability, and wide range of supported streaming services.

Roku Devices

Roku offers several types of devices that cater to different needs:

  • Streaming Sticks: These small, USB-like devices plug into your TV’s HDMI port. They are portable, easy to set up, and perfect for those who want to turn a regular TV into a smart TV.

  • Roku Players: These are small boxes that connect to your TV via HDMI. They offer more features and better performance compared to streaming sticks.

  • Roku TVs: These are smart TVs with Roku’s operating system built-in. No additional device is needed; just connect to the internet and start streaming.

Internet Connection

All Roku devices require an internet connection to stream content. You can connect via Wi-Fi or Ethernet, depending on the model. Once connected, you can access a wide variety of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+.

How Does Roku Work?

Roku devices work by connecting to the internet and streaming content directly to your TV. After setting up the device and connecting it to your home network, you can navigate through Roku’s user-friendly interface to select and watch your favorite shows and movies.

Why Choose Roku?

  • Ease of Use: Roku’s interface is simple and intuitive, making it easy for anyone to use.
  • Variety: Roku supports thousands of streaming channels, giving you access to a vast library of content.
  • Affordability: Roku devices are generally more affordable compared to other streaming options.

Roku is a versatile option for those looking to enhance their TV viewing experience with internet-enabled features. But is Roku OTT or CTV? Let’s find out in the next section.

Is Roku OTT or CTV?

When we talk about is Roku OTT or CTV, the answer is both! Let’s break down why.

OTT Delivery Method

Over-The-Top (OTT) refers to the way video content is delivered over the internet, bypassing traditional cable or satellite TV. Roku allows you to stream content from various OTT services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ directly over the internet. This makes Roku an essential part of the OTT ecosystem.

CTV Device

Connected TV (CTV) describes any television that connects to the internet to stream digital video. Roku fits perfectly into this category as well. Whether you’re using a Roku streaming stick, a Roku box, or a Roku-enabled smart TV, you’re using a CTV device. These devices connect to the internet and allow you to access OTT content.

Streaming Content

Roku provides a platform for streaming a wide variety of content. This includes on-demand movies, TV shows, and even live TV. Because it streams content over the internet, it falls under the OTT umbrella. But since it does this through a device connected to your TV, it also qualifies as CTV.

Internet-Enabled TV

If you have a Roku smart TV, it’s an internet-enabled TV that allows you to access OTT content through a CTV device. This dual functionality is what makes Roku so versatile. You can think of Roku as the bridge that connects OTT content to your TV screen.

In summary, Roku is both an OTT service provider and a CTV device. It delivers streaming content over the internet (OTT) and does so through internet-enabled TVs and devices (CTV). This combination makes Roku a powerful tool for modern TV viewing.

Next, let’s explore the key differences between OTT and CTV.

Key Differences Between OTT and CTV

Understanding the key differences between OTT and CTV can help you navigate the streaming landscape more effectively. Let’s break it down:

OTT Content Delivery

Over-the-Top (OTT) refers to the way video content is delivered. OTT content is streamed directly over the internet, bypassing traditional cable or satellite TV services. Think of Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. These services deliver content to any internet-connected device, whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

CTV Physical Device

Connected TV (CTV) is about the device. CTV includes any television set that connects to the internet and can stream OTT content. This can be a smart TV with built-in internet capabilities, or a regular TV connected to a streaming device like Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, or Apple TV.

Streaming Platforms

OTT platforms are the services that provide the content. Examples include Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. These platforms host a wide range of shows and movies that you can stream on demand.

CTV platforms, on the other hand, are the hardware or devices that enable you to access these OTT services on your TV. Examples include Roku, Chromecast, and gaming consoles like Xbox and PlayStation.

Viewing Experience

The viewing experience on OTT and CTV can be quite different.

  • OTT on Mobile and Desktop: When watching OTT content on mobile or desktop, the experience is often more interactive. You can easily scroll, click, and skip ads. This “on-the-go” viewing is perfect for quick, short-form content.

  • CTV on Television: Watching OTT content through a CTV device is more like traditional TV viewing. You sit back, relax, and watch on a bigger screen. Ads are less likely to be skipped, and the experience is more immersive, ideal for long-form content like movies and TV series.

In summary, OTT is the content delivery method, while CTV is the device you use to watch that content. Both work together to bring a seamless streaming experience to your home.

Next, let’s dive into the benefits of using Roku.

Benefits of Using Roku

Roku offers several advantages for both viewers and advertisers. Let’s break down the key benefits:

Non-Skippable Ads

One of the standout features of Roku is its non-skippable ads. Unlike traditional online ads that can be bypassed with a click, Roku’s ad placements ensure that viewers watch the entire ad. This creates a better opportunity for advertisers to get their message across.

Household Targeting

Roku excels in household targeting. By leveraging big data, advertisers can target specific households based on various criteria like demographics, interests, and viewing habits. This precision ensures that ads are more relevant to the audience, increasing the likelihood of engagement.

High View Rates

Roku devices boast high view rates. According to research, the view rate and completion rates for ads on Roku are nearly 100%. This is because the viewing habits on CTV devices like Roku resemble traditional TV, where viewers are more likely to sit through the entire ad.

Streaming Flexibility

Roku offers unparalleled streaming flexibility. Whether you want to watch on a smart TV, a streaming stick, or even a gaming console, Roku has you covered. This flexibility allows viewers to access their favorite content in the way that best suits their lifestyle, making it a versatile choice for modern households.

In summary, Roku provides a robust platform for advertisers to reach their target audience effectively. With non-skippable ads, precise household targeting, high view rates, and flexible streaming options, it’s no wonder Roku is a popular choice in the CTV ecosystem.

Next, let’s address some frequently asked questions about Roku.

Frequently Asked Questions about Roku

What are OTT devices?

OTT devices are gadgets that deliver video content over the internet, bypassing traditional cable or satellite TV. These include:

  • Smart TVs: TVs with built-in internet connectivity and streaming apps.
  • Apple TVs: A digital media player and microconsole developed by Apple.
  • Chromecast: A streaming device by Google that plugs into your TV’s HDMI port.
  • PlayStation and Xbox: Gaming consoles that also offer streaming services.
  • Amazon Fire Sticks: A streaming media player by Amazon that connects to your TV.

Each of these devices allows you to stream content directly from the internet, making them part of the OTT ecosystem.

What is the difference between smart TV and OTT?

A smart TV is a television set with integrated internet capabilities and built-in apps for streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube.

OTT, on the other hand, refers to the actual delivery method of video content over the internet, bypassing traditional TV providers.

In simpler terms, a smart TV is the device, while OTT is the way the content is delivered to that device.

Is CTV the same as OTT?

No, CTV and OTT are not the same, although they are closely related.

  • CTV (Connected TV) refers to any television that can connect to the internet and stream digital content. This includes smart TVs and devices like Roku, Fire Stick, and Apple TV.

  • OTT (Over-The-Top) is the method of delivering video content via the internet, bypassing traditional cable or satellite TV. Examples include streaming services like Hulu and Netflix.

So, while CTV is the device you use to watch content, OTT is the method by which that content is delivered.


At Zoplex, we understand that navigating OTT and CTV can be complex. Our goal is to simplify this for you. By leveraging AI-driven marketing, we can help your business harness the power of these advanced advertising platforms.

Local business growth is crucial in today’s competitive market. With our tools, you can target your ads more precisely, ensuring they reach the right audience at the right time. This precision leads to better customer engagement and more meaningful connections with your audience.

Moreover, using platforms like Roku for your advertising means you can benefit from high view rates and non-skippable ads, which significantly boost customer engagement. This translates to increased brand awareness and ultimately, increased sales for your business.

By integrating our services, you can take advantage of the full potential of OTT and CTV advertising. Our team at Zoplex is committed to helping you achieve your marketing goals through innovative solutions tailored to your needs.

Ready to elevate your advertising strategy? Discover how Zoplex can help you today.

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