One key observation is that “You cannot manage, what you cannot measure” and having insight into the video player behaviour is essential to optimise the viewing experience.
I was invited to present a joint case study by Sky and Conviva at the Future of Broadcasting conference in London. Where we describe how we saved up to 4,500 streaming sessions by automatically detecting and moving them to another CDN with our CDN selector capability.
For example, if a customer is unable to sustain a consistent 5Mbps throughput on their home broadband connection, the player will automatically step down to a lower bitrate and sometimes also to a lower screen resolution.
We take our customers streaming quality of experience very seriously and have four key streaming performance indicators that we constantly monitor.
- Buffering Ratio of under 0.4% per hour.
- Average Bitrate.
- Video Start Failure.
- Exit Before Video Start.
The slides are available below;
I’d like to thank Ed and Lindsey at Conviva for their assistance.
I was invited to speak on two panels at the Next Generation TV Forum conference in London on the 14th June with the second one on the topic of “Does network control make a difference for delivering a great TV over IP experience?”. This was a very technical panel and one of the interesting points that came up was the idea of extending network control to within the home. The reasoning for this is that in typical UK households with our colder winters, WiFi range especially at the 2.4Ghz band can be limited by the building. With the Sky Q box and mesh networking, your Q box becomes a wireless hotspot, thus extending the WiFi range and improving the customer experience for in home entertainment.
• What do consumers consider is a ‘good’ TV/video experience?
• Do you need to own a network to keep control over content delivery
• How to scale for large but volatile TV audience
• Nigel Walley, Managing Director, Decipher
My fellow panelists were;
• Anthony Berkeley, Business Development VP, Nokia
• Ben Schwarz, Founder & Owner, CTOiC
• Matt Stagg, Head of Mobile Video & Content, EE
I was invited to speak on two panels at the Next Generation TV Forum conference in London on the 14th June with the first one on the topic of “Next generation cloud technology in processing and delivery”. I really enjoyed the panel and one interesting point was the alignment of software engineering technologies such as the agile methodology with traditional engineering best practices. We also discuss whether CDNs are cloud based services (they are) and how using a combination of different approaches, you can reduce the time to build new channels from months to hours.
• The benefits of large-scale video processing in the cloud
• Virtualization vs. Cloud: Which one is right for “your” organization?
• Where can the cloud have the greatest impact on your workflow?
• Ian Trow, Senior Director Emerging Technology & Strategy, Harmonic
My fellow panelists were;
• Ed Silvester, Head of Video R&D, Perform Group
• Dom Robinson, Co-Founder and Director, Id3as
The second part of the fun interview with Aditya Kishore from Telco Transformation Magazine has been published, were we continued our wide ranging discussion on high quality online video streaming, CDNs, DRM and video compression;
- What would you say are your biggest challenges?
- You talked a little about your CDN options at TV Connect. Can we revisit that, What has been your approach to caching? (See article here)
- Are there any new technologies or solutions in particular that you are looking at in the next year or so?
As mentioned in a previous post, having a Multi CDN strategy is essential when operating at scale as not all CDNs are created equally and you need to understand the clients behaviour, making changes dynamically based on conditions.
One of my observations over the past 12 months is that the H264 video codec, has effectively run out of road and we’ll need next generation video compression to keep up with demand, delivering higher quality video with less bits.
I was recently asked to participate in a fun interview with Aditya Kishore from Telco Transformation Magazine and really enjoyed a wide ranging discussion on the following topics;
- What are your chief responsibilities at Sky?
- What are the key areas of focus for you today?
- How do you see the balance between the two services shifting?
- How do you see the video/pay-TV space evolving in the future — let’s say the next five years?
One of the key challenges with OTT services, is closing the gap with Satellite and Aditya says it best;
“Sky customers accustomed to digital satellite quality are unwilling to endure low-quality streaming experiences on the Internet; they expect a high-quality experience regardless of device or access network. And it’s Webb’s responsibility to create the best experience possible for streaming customers, despite the vagaries of Internet connections. As such, his goal is to “close the gap” between the video experience a customer has on a private, controlled network like satellite, on one hand; and the open and unpredictable Internet, on the other.”
In the second part (available in 1-2 weeks), we discuss CDNs, video compression and DRM.