As we stumble into the third decade of the 21st century, there is no doubt that the age of digitization is strongly underway. The advent of digital broadcasting and networking technologies has increased the need for video content enormously. Nearly 85% of the data consumed on the internet are videos in the United States. So it’s fair to say that we live in a video rich-world. A big chunk of that consumption comes from video content streamed on over-the-top video streaming platforms. Video streaming platforms have made it possible to view videos anywhere and anytime. Back in the day, neither the speed nor bandwidth could make any of this work. But its different today. The way streaming service providers have efficient back-end data operations, user-friendly interfaces and complex cloud softwares, it makes the technology side of the video streaming landscape an interesting area to study.
It is important to note that the internet wasn’t invented to stream high-quality videos to a million screens simultaneously. It is not as simple as merely uploading static television content on the world wide web. The internet was not designed to physically handle this kind of load.
To briefly explain, the process of streaming video content over the internet can be broken down into 5 stages: Ingestion; Transcoding; Management; Delivery and Playback. If we go with live video streaming content, when a live video is streamed for example from Paris, the signal from Paris is the ingestion. That signal is then transcoded, which means it is converted from one file to another to work on the internet. The management part of it includes content protection, digital rights and dynamic advertisement insertion. And lastly, the final video stream is then delivered through the internet and played back on the viewers’ devices. This, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg. In reality, it is a lot more complex.
A Content Delivery Network or CDN system is one of the most vital components of the OTT infrastructure. A CDN is a network of interconnected servers that transport media files. They are responsible for the delivery of video streams quickly and reliably across the globe. Heavy video files in HD resolutions of 720p, 1080p or 4k rely on how efficient the CDN system is. No user wants to deal with buffering issues when they are streaming such videos.
Netflix spent years building its own globally distributed CDN network called Open Connect after having relied on third-party CDN companies. In 2016, Netflix completed a large-scale cloud migration from its in-house data centres to Amazon Web Services. Streaming applications need cloud technology for storage, cloud-computing and databases. Just like Netflix, content publishing houses have the option of leveraging the expertise of a tech partner such as Enveu who will provide seamless application and cloud migrations services.
The future of the technology of video streaming is a much anticipated one. Netflix, HBO, Hulu and the like are not just media houses but at the end of the day, are also technology companies. 5G, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and the rise of Esports will catapult video bandwidth consumption. The day is not far when an OTT platform will give its viewers something that is beyond reality. But no matter what it is, that can only happen with the adoption of the latest technologies to improve user experience and reduce video latency.
To wrap up, if your streaming business is to succeed in the market, delivering quality viewing to your viewers is a priority and there is no way around it. One’s domination in an ever-competitive OTT market is not only determined by the number of subscriptions one has but also by how they integrate new technology to improve user experience. Therefore, it goes without saying, smart investments in onboarding technical experts such as Enveu to take your digital product from the drawing board and turn it into a streaming media empire is the best decision any CEO or CTO can make.
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