Over the top. It is a strange phrase with many meanings, the most common of which is that something is excessive: This party is over the top, you might say. A 1980s Stallone movie about arm wrestling turned it into a power play, an expression of dominance: He went over the top! And at its root, the phrase comes from World War I, when soldiers leaping out of trenches to charge the enemy directly were said to be going over the top, almost certainly to their doom. They were crazy. Over the top.

So it’s fitting that the tech industry has chosen over the top as its preferred term for delivering video content to your TV over the internet. What Apple and Microsoft and Amazon and everyone literally mean is that they’re going over the top of traditional cable television by using broadband internet, but their strategies and relative success span the entire rich history of the term, from excessive indulgence to raw power grab to insane gonzo suicide mission.

Your living room is a battlefield that’s killed every would-be conqueror for the past 50 years, and it’s driving the tech industry insane. Over the top.