Is the Clock Ticking on Over-the-Air TV? Wait, What Is Over-the-Air TV?

Erik Keith

Erik Keith

Summary Bullets:

  • Over-the-air (OTA) free television has been a mass-market technology in North America and other regions for almost 70 years, but it may disappear altogether in the next five years, due to dramatically different TV/video delivery and consumption mechanisms, coupled with mobile operator efforts to acquire the current OTA TV spectrum.
  • The pending U.S. Supreme Court ruling on ABC v. Aereo may result in the U.S. network broadcasters accelerating their exit from the OTA market, ultimately putting the last nails in the OTA TV coffin.

Earlier this month, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) reported that only 6% of U.S. households rely on over-the-air (OTA) antennas, while 5% of households access their TV and video services exclusively via over-the-top (OTT) connections (which require broadband Internet access, e.g., Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV). More importantly, all indicators point towards OTT overtaking OTA within the next year. I’d argue there are a ton of devil-in-the-details factors that are more relevant than these two simple percentages, but the bottom line is OTA TV is likely to go the way of the dinosaur. Read more of this post