The Ultimate Guide to OTT Testing: Checklist, Challenges, and Best Practices

OTT Testing

OTT testing is a crucial aspect of the development of any OTT platform. It assesses the OTT platform for its functionality, performance, and compatibility with multiple devices and platforms.

Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Spotify, and HBO Max! You might have definitely heard of these names or used one or more of them. These are OTT media streaming services/apps that have taken the entertainment industry by storm. They have enabled people to access their favorite content from their smartphones or smart TVs over the Internet. 

Consider watching your favorite movie or web series on a particular streaming platform. 

What if the app takes a long time to load the content? What if you experience lag or have trouble downloading specific content to watch offline? These issues are common when millions of people across the globe concurrently use the app. On the other hand, what if the streaming platform works well on one device and fails to function efficiently on another device? 

All these technical issues lead to poor user experience. This is where the role of OTT testing comes into play. 

In this article, we shall have a detailed discussion of what OTT testing is, its benefits, and its types, challenges, and best practices. 

What is OTT Testing? 

OTT testing refers to assessing the OTT platform to ensure the quality of streamed content, performance (buffering behavior), and compatibility with different devices. It focuses on testing different parameters, such as streaming speed, buffering, audio and video quality, security, device compatibility, network speed, and connectivity. 

The primary objective of OTT testing is to ensure end-users receive an optimal experience with extremely high-quality OTT content on different devices. It assists developers in understanding how a specific OTT platform will function in the real world. 

Testers and QA professionals prioritize testing the streaming platform’s user interface and user experience. 

  • User Interface: It involves checking the app’s front-end elements and controls to ensure seamless user interaction. 
  • User Experience: It involves verifying that the app provides optimal performance and exceptional viewing experience so that users can’t resist using it repeatedly. 

OTT testing is generally a time-consuming process that requires and is carried out as a combination of manual and automation testing. 

Why is OTT Testing Important? 

Will you ever prefer any streaming platform whose content is of low quality or loads slowly? Obviously, your answer would be a big no! 

Currently, the Internet is replete with a plethora of OTT platforms, where each one is striving to offer an exceptional user experience. In this highly competitive era, it becomes challenging for companies to maintain the delivery of exceptional user experience. 

However, OTT testing has been a game changer in retaining the streaming app’s quality. It uncovers potential bugs and glitches in the streaming app, which may adversely affect the user experience. The development team fixes any bugs or errors before making the app live to end users.

OTT application testing helps companies ensure that their platform 

  • Is user-friendly
  • Offers a wide range of content 
  • Works correctly with several devices and operating systems
  • Supports multiple users on a single subscription
  • Enables users to download content and watch it offline seamlessly
  • Provides recommendations based on users’ history
  • Ensures the stable delivery of content 

In a nutshell, OTT testing is an essential aspect of OTT platform development to ensure maximum customer satisfaction by offering an unparalleled user experience. 

Benefits of OTT Testing

The following are some remarkable benefits of OTT testing: 

  • Improved customer satisfaction as OTT testing ensures an out-of-the-box user experience. 
  • Reduced downtime as it identifies all potential bugs and errors associated with content quality, buffering, lag, and other technical issues. 
  • Increased revenue as the OTT platform can retain existing customers and attract new ones with its quality and viewing experience. 
  • Seamless functionality of the app across various devices and platforms. 

In order to benefit from OTT testing, it is essential for companies to have a robust and well-planned testing strategy. Automation testing is a cost-effective solution to test OTT platforms, as manual testing can overwhelm testers. 

Types of OTT Testing 

An OTT platform is a complex application developed with a plethora of features and elements. To ensure its high quality, accuracy, and correctness, the testing team embraces the following testing types in their testing pipeline. 

1. Functional Testing 

Functional testing verifies that all the components/elements of the streaming app function as expected. It primarily focuses on evaluating front-end (UI) elements, such as buttons, menus, links, forms, etc., or the app’s functionality, such as the search function, playback, download content, etc. 

For instance, consider a playback button to play or stop a specific movie or web series. Functional testing verifies that clicking the playback button starts or stops the content. 

Functional testing takes care of the entire user interface, features, and application navigation. It ensures that users get the same experience when using the app across different kinds of devices. Different types of functional testing, such as unit testing, integration testing, acceptance testing, etc., are used. 

2. Compatibility Testing

Compatibility testing evaluates the streaming app’s functionality and performance on different devices, operating systems, and browsers. In other words, this testing type determines how the app functions on diverse devices, operating systems, browsers and their different versions, and hardware specifications. 

A few essential aspects to consider in compatibility testing are as follows: 

  • Check that the size, font, background, and other UI aspects are the same across all platforms.
  • Verify that all features work accurately and consistently across different devices and platforms. 
  • Check that issues uncovered while testing the app on one platform/device do not exist on other platforms/devices. If they exist, the testing team should get them fixed as soon as possible. 

3. Performance Testing 

Performance testing involves assessing the streaming platform’s functionality and correctness under extremely high traffic to ensure it can handle the load without any failure. It also verifies the app’s ability to stream content without any lag time or interruption, even if a large number of people access the app concurrently. 

The following are some necessary aspects to consider when performance testing the app: 

  • The app’s response time in different networks, such as WiFi, 4G, 5G, etc. 
  • The frame rate on different devices
  • App load time 
  • Page navigation time 
  • The app’s behavior under overloaded traffic 

4. Security Testing

Security testing ensures that user information (name, email address, mobile number, payment details, etc.) collected by the app is safe from all kinds of cyber threats. Timely security testing helps the app owner get rid of any privacy-related issues and create a safe environment for end users.  

Consider the following aspects while testing the app for security: 

  • Check the streaming app for different cyberattacks, such as cross-site scripting, SQL injection, memory leaks, etc. 
  • Ensure that users’ sensitive information is masked.
  • Verify that the app is compliant with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

5. Geolocation Testing

Geolocation testing refers to testing the application in various geographical regions to ensure it complies with legal requirements and functions as intended. 

Regarding the OTT platform, users from different regions and countries request different content. As a result, the testing team should perform geolocation testing on the application to verify its linguistic appropriateness, payment currencies, etc. 

OTT Testing Checklist 

Each OTT platform has a different UI and works differently. Here is a common checklist containing general functionality and usability aspects the testing team should consider regarding OTT platform testing.

1. UI, UX, & Functionality 

An intuitive user interface, smooth navigation, and content quality play a vital role in enhancing user experience. If the content quality is poor, navigation is a bit complex, or the UI is cluttered, users are more likely to switch to other available alternatives. Hence, testing the app’s UI, UX, and functionality is necessary. 

Consider the following aspects for testing: 

  • Evaluate the video recommendation algorithm by watching content as an end user.
  • Check the content indexing so that users can easily search for and find the desired content based on the title, genre, etc. 
  • Autoplay, ‘Skip Intro’, ‘Next Episode’, pause, mute, unmute, and other features should appear at the appropriate time. 
  • Check if users can add their favorite videos to the watchlist and view them later. 
  • Verify that the playback feature functions appropriately, allowing users to resume the video where they left it off. 
  • Test if users can easily share the video link with friends and family through different communication platforms. 
  • Look for detailed information about the video, such as the cast, director, producer, total time duration, number of episodes, and a brief introduction. 

2. Streaming and Performance 

Uninterrupted streaming and exceptional performance are two core aspects end users look for in any OTT platform once they choose what to watch. While testing the OTT platform’s streaming and performance, consider the following: 

  • Check whether the audio and video are in synchronization.
  • Ensure that the subtitles are easy to switch to different languages or turn off and are in sync with the content. 
  • Change the stream’s language and verify that it does not create any problems in playback. 
  • Check that the streaming quality does not suffer or degrade, as multiple devices could be connected to the Internet via WAN, LAN, or mobile data.
  • Change the network options and bandwidths to ensure seamless streaming. 
  • Verify that the downloaded content is viewable when the internet connection is turned off. 
  • Ensure the video streams as quickly as possible when a user clicks the play button. 
  • Finally, assess the platform’s stability using multiple users and letting them access content concurrently.    

3. Account 

Each OTT platform has its own membership plan. As a result, testing the platform using different roles based on the membership becomes essential. Users should be able to view the content they have paid for, nothing less or more. Additionally, do not forget to test account-related features as follows: 

  • Check whether the correct number of users can access the content through a single subscription plan. 
  • Verify that users can access detailed information about their plan, such as membership, billing, logged-in devices, etc. 
  • If the app supports multiple user profiles, check that each user’s watchlist, history, downloaded content, and recommendations differ. 
  • Perform geolocation testing so that users get appropriate pricing plans, content availability, and content rights based on their location. 

4. Security & Billing 

As the OTT platforms use the subscription model for payments, they store users’ bank details. Hence, security is paramount to avoid data breaches or other cyber threats, which may leave users at a significant loss. 

Consider the following aspects while testing the app’s billing process: 

  • Check that the streaming app supports major payment options, such as credit cards, debit cards, internet banking, digital wallets, etc. 
  • Verify that a user is taken through a secure channel throughout the payment process. 
  • Check different payment failure scenarios and ensure that users receive the appropriate support. 
  • Test the auto-renewal feature and ensure that it notifies users regularly.
  • Verify that the billing information is saved securely if a user opts to save it. Also, check whether the user can delete it as and when required.  
  • Test the correctness of the two-factor authentication feature. 
  • Check whether the payment receipt is downloadable. If it is sent via email, ensure the necessary details are encrypted. 

5. Cross-Platform Testing 

In this digital age, people use different devices according to their convenience. For instance, they prefer using a tablet or smartphone while traveling, whereas they opt for a laptop when at home. Plus, these devices can be powered by different operating systems. As a result, the streaming platform should be compatible with all major devices and operating systems. 

Besides devices and operating systems, verify the app’s compatibility with different browsers. 

OTT Testing on Real Mobile Devices with TestGrid

It is pretty challenging for the testing team to simulate the production environment for OTT testing. As OTT testing requires conducting tests on multiple devices, operating systems, and browsers, it is indeed difficult to cover all combinations. TestGrid presents an effective solution, serving as an essential OTT testing platform

TestGrid’s Real Device Cloud offers a combination of real devices and browsers to help you test your mobile app or website on the cloud. Plus, cross-browser testing capabilities ensure that your streaming app provides an optimal user experience across different browsers. 

Moreover, TestGrid integrates performance engineering into your existing CI/CD process. This helps you guarantee your app’s responsiveness, dependability, and performance. 

Challenges in OTT Testing 

Being a complex process, OTT testing requires a clear and well-defined strategy. Here are a few common challenges testing teams generally face while performing OTT media testing: 

  • Cross-Device Testing: Testers or QA professionals need to test the OTT platform on a variety of devices and platforms. The major challenge they face in cross-device testing is the availability of all devices and platforms.  
  • Response Time: Fast internet speed is essential for OTT services. If not, the content may take much time to load. Uses generally switch to alternatives if the app takes a long time to load content. Hence, testers assess the app’s content loading speed in different networks, which is one of the primary challenges. 
  • Cross-Browser Testing: We can access streaming apps from browsers. Performing cross-browser testing on the OTT platform ensures it can be accessed across different browsers. The challenge here is to ensure the app’s compatibility with different browsers and their different versions. 
  • Traffic Overload: While testing the app for its behavior under extremely high traffic, the assumption of traffic is typically challenging. 


Streaming apps have become go-to entertainment platforms. Today, the majority of people consume content through streaming rather than TV, radio, etc. As a result, it becomes a necessity for streaming app owners to provide the best quality services.

OTT testing ensures the streaming app is functional across various devices and platforms and free from errors and external disturbances. It detects and fixes performance bottlenecks and other issues, such as buffering, incompatibility, freezing, etc. This significantly improves customer satisfaction and user experience. 

It is important to remember that continuously monitoring the app’s performance and outcomes and making the necessary changes is crucial.