The Difference Between On Demand and Pay-Per-View TV


Pay-per-view (PPV) and VOD or video on demand TV are great services to avail if you’re looking forward to making your television viewing experience more exciting. Unlike in the past, these two services have taken us out of the routine of shows in channels. However, if you’re still trying to figure out which of these services to avail, this guide might be of help.

A Quick Look at the History of PPV and VOD

PPV and on-demand videos offer a touch of excitement to the usual routine of TV shows aired at a specific time daily.


Closed-circuit TV was the earliest form of PPV. And it’s initially designed for the airing of sporting events. The first fight to use this tech was Jersey Walcott versus Joe Louis in 1948. The use of closed-circuit TV peaked during the 1960s to 1970s during the height of Muhammad Ali’s boxing career.


VOD services, on the other hand, started in the early 90s. The proposal and research supporting this tech started in Japan in 1986. And this is designed to meet the people’s growing need for flexibility in their viewing experience.

Comparison of Features

PPV and VOD differ in many ways, especially in the content types, payment methods, technology, and viewing options they offer.


Types of Content

VOD and PPV also offer different types of content. PPV is perfect if you’re looking for the following content types:

  1. Sporting events (e.g., boxing, MMA fights, wrestling matches)
  2. Live concerts
  3. Live seminars, training, and conventions

These events are aired on TV in real-time.


Meanwhile, an on-demand TV subscription is an apt choice if you’re looking forward to the following video materials:

  1. Pre-recorded shows
  2. Movies and documentaries
  3. Online learning materials


Payment Method

On-demand TV usually requires monthly payments. Some providers also offer unlimited viewing of specific content within a set period. For example, some TV service providers offer recorded versions of live shows and concerts as VODs, which subscribers can rewatch within 12 or 24 hours after the initial viewing.


Meanwhile, the Pay-Per-View service needs one-time payment for a show or event that will be aired on TV in real-time. It does not include options for reviewing. The TV service provider doesn’t have any control over the schedule of the show. Hence, viewers need to take note of the schedule and be there when it’s aired.

The Difference Between On Demand and Pay-Per-View TV

Viewing Options

VOD and PPV TV also offer different viewing options. On-demand videos could be viewed at any time for an unlimited number of times so long as the viewing is within the allowed timeframe of the subscription plan. On the other hand, PPV service only allows access to paid content at a specific time and duration.



The airing of pre-recorded and live videos or shows also requires different technologies from the providers’ end. In a VOD subscription, the videos or contents need to be routed through an IP network. This technology ensures that the users will be able to view specific content whenever they want. But this is not the case for PPV.

In a Pay-Per-View service, the live shows are made available to the viewers via the traditional cable technologies. The provider just needs to set a specific channel through which the show will be aired and the people who have access to the content.

Ways to Maximize Your Pay-Per-View or On-Demand Subscription

Pay-Per-View and On-demand TV are both awesome services to avail. Aside from their entertainment value, these services might also offer some videos or shows with informative content. You can maximize your subscription to both services through the following tips:

  1. Instead of subscribing using your savings bank account, use a credit or debit specifically for the subscription. Monthly fees can drain a hole in your savings if you forgot to cancel your membership.
  2. Consider sharing the membership fee with a friend if you’re planning to watch the shows with your buddies.
  3. Look at different channel schedules first to ensure you’ll get a suitable timeslot for your viewing.
  4. Make sure you have subscribed to a reliable Pay-Per-View or on-demand TV provider to enjoy top quality service.


With VOD and PPV services, your TV viewing experience will never be the same. All you need to do is to plan out your schedule and avail of the timeslot and videos suitable to you.