Glossary: Get to know the new language of over-the-top television

by Eric Hoffert, SVP video technology, AppNexus

Unfailingly, emerging technologies come with a new lexicon for the technology community to absorb. The internet brought us words we now take for granted – “World Wide Web,” “browser,” “search engine,” and “Google.” The smartphone introduced us to the “app,” the “app store,” and the world of “mobile gaming.” And programmatic advertising has supplied us with a rapid-fire set of terms and acronyms like “ad server,” “DSP,” “SSP,” and “DMP.”

With the rise of over-the-top television, a technology that allows consumers to browse and watch streaming video programming over the Internet, we find ourselves with a new collection of esoteric terms. And since eMarketer predicts that 206.1 million users will consume their video content using OTT services by 2020, it’s time for our industry familiarize itself with the terminology today.

That’s why we compiled a glossary of 37 terms integral to understanding OTT technology:

CTV Device: Connected TV  devices that use a television as a display and can connect to the internet to access content (i.e., Roku, AppleTV, Chromecast)

SmartTV: TV with integrated internet access, specialized apps, and other features (i.e., Samsung SmartTV, SONY Bravia)

IPTV: Television content received over the Internet instead of traditional delivery systems (terrestrial over the air, cable box, and satellite TV) 

Programmatic TV: Buying and selling TV ads programmatically. Can refer to Connected TV inventory, traditional linear broadcast TV supply, or both

RIDA: Roku ID for Advertising; RIDA is a device identifier to track activity for development and marketing purposes and limits disclosure of users’ identifying information

TVML: TV Markup Language, used to create individual pages inside of a client-server app on Apple TV

Swift: General-purpose, multi-paradigm, compiled programming language developed by Apple Inc. for iOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, and Linux, can be used to build tvOS apps

VMAP:  IAB standard for video commercial breaks, acronym stands for “Video Multi-Ad Playlist”; VMAP is used to describe “ad pods”, one or more video ad creatives played in sequence 

Apple ProRes: High-quality lossy video compression format developed by Apple Inc. for use in post-production that supports up to 8K resolution; video files can have > 100 Mbps bitrates

2K: Video resolution of 2048 x 1080 (in some cases 1920 x 1080)

4K: Video resolution of 3840 x 2160

8K: Highest ultra-high definition television (UHDTV) resolution, refers to the horizontal resolution of 7,680 pixels, forming the total image dimensions of (7680×4320)

ACR: Automatic Content Recognition, identification technology to recognize content played on a media device or present in a media file, often used in Smart TVs to know what’s being watched

DAI: Digital Ad Insertion / Dynamic Ad Insertion, inserting a digital video ad into a video stream, often replacing the original linear broadcast TV spot with a more localized or personalized version

SSAI: Server Side Ad Insertion, inserting video ads into a video stream on a server, in order to provide a continuous single stream of content and ads to a consumer (provides “anti-ad blocking”); can be used for live or on-demand content 

WiDi: Technology developed by Intel that enables users to stream music, movies, photos, videos and apps without wires from a compatible computer to a compatible HDTV 

RAF: Roku Ad Framework, a universal video ad platform integrated directly into the core Roku SDK as a common software library 

tvOS: Apple TV operating system, used for the fourth generation AppleTV device, written in C, C++, Swift, and Objective C, with OS updates provided via over-the-air programming

Google CAST SDK: Google SDK for writing Chromecast applications to “cast” video content to a Chromecast device

Sender and Receiver Applications: Applications which are used to support Google CAST SDK

HDMI: High-Definition Multimedia Interface, the first industry-supported uncompressed, all-digital audio/video interface

HDCP: High Bandwidth Digital Content Protection

VAST 4.0: IAB standard with dedicated features for OTT / CTV such as mezzanine files

Codec: A device or program that compresses data to enable faster transmission and decompresses received data

Mezzanine File: A mezzanine file is a high-quality digital master that is used to create copies of video for streaming or download

Mezzanine Codec: Conversion or transcode of high-quality digital master from one codec into another codec, known as an intermediate or mezzanine, prior to editing or consumer delivery

Server Side Ad Stitching: Technology that lets publishers stitch their video and ad content together on the back end rather than on the level of the client side browser (synonym for SSAI)

MVPD: Multichannel video programming distributor, an entity that distributes multiple channels of video programming such as a cable TV network (example: Cablevision, Time Warner)

vMVPD: Virtual multichannel video programming distributor, an entity that distributes multiple channels of video programming over the Internet (example: SlingTVHuluTV, DirectTV Now)

SVOD: Subscription or Streaming Video-On-Demand (example: Netflix)

Addressable TV: One to one household targeting for advertising on traditional linear TV

TVE: TV Everywhere, authenticated online access to cable TV services from multiple devices such as desktop, tablet, phone, or CTV

AVOD: Advertising Video On-Demand

ASVOD: Ad-Supported Streaming Video-On-Demand (example: Walmart Vudu)

OTT: Over The Top (OTT), content delivered over the internet without use of a managed network (MVPD)

FEP: Full Episode Player video supply, typically episodic television programming, with advertising, delivered to a video player on multiple devices

Guaranteed Buy: Programmatic direct or programmatic guaranteed; publisher sales rep negotiates with an advertiser for premium inventory at a fixed price for a fixed number of impressions

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