Video streaming has exploded in popularity in every aspect of modern business and leisure. However, despite major technological advancements over the last two decades, video providers continue to face distinct challenges. Viewers are unable to enjoy seamless video streaming due to bandwidth constraints, latency issues, and device compatibility issues. How can we make video streaming technology more trustworthy with continuing innovation across devices that can give 4K, immersive or augmented reality, and 360° video?
Challenges and Opportunities in the Video Streaming Industry
Broadband technology, high-definition video, and streaming media have all advanced significantly in the last two decades. Higher-resolution films and more bandwidth capacity, on the other hand, bring new issues, as networks are more likely to face a bandwidth shortage.
A 720p video, for example, is often delivered at 2.5 to 5 Mbps, whereas a 1080p video is typically streamed at 5 to 10 Mbps. However, with 4K and higher resolutions, that ratio does not scale. If video providers want to use H.264 AVC, they’ll need 40 Mbps of bandwidth. As a result, modern codecs such as HEVC, VP9, or AV1 are vital in today’s streaming video scene because they can reduce the size of H.264 AVC to half the size.
With the recent repeal of net neutrality and the wider cord-cutting movement, bandwidth restrictions will only become more common. We’re seeing an increase in the consumption of video material daily across a range of devices, and customers want to be able to see it in the highest possible quality.
Tight, lossless compression is the only way to deliver the highest quality video at any time and in any location. And this isn’t a simple task by any means. Dirac and other related compressions used to be the way to go, but that is no longer the case. Unlike the earlier two-pass VBR compression, today’s two-pass compression overcomes all these limits. Moreover, two-pass compression first compresses the entire package and then adds a secondary compression step to aid in transporting the higher-packed video inside. Instead of transmitting unique information once for each frame, you might think of it as eliminating a few lines of interlaced video while transmitting or removing information that is comparable. Overall, this allows companies to provide only what is required and then reconstruct the frame using the previously sent data.
New compression technologies have also advanced recently, but many are still a long way from being implemented or incorporated into more established codecs. A codec that processes video from the center out, for example, was just released. In contrast to the typical bottom-up or top-down approaches, it starts with a rough sketch and then fills it in from there. This method is appealing because it allows motion analysis and quantization processing to begin sooner, lowering overall encoding time and improving responsiveness.
Latency and Reliability Issues
Massive amounts of data are supplied with increasing resolutions and bitrates, and this volume of activity might cause latency and stability difficulties. As users, we’ve all witnessed the all-too-common situation in which the video stream delays or entirely disappears at a critical point. And, as video professionals, we’ve been on the receiving end of the challenge of delivering high-quality video to a large audience.
Using a multi-CDN or SD-CDN method to avoid latency is the solution. Streaming companies can utilize the best network with the shortest video packet delays when they need it the most by connecting to multiple content delivery networks. Intelligent players may study user activities and determine when switching networks will optimize the viewing experience with this approach. Multi-CDNs and SD-CDNs can be thought of as load balancing between CDNs and servers. Finally, this approach provides more ingest points and improved delivery, resulting in a more flexible and robust overall process.
Metadata and Search Challenges
Most errors we observe in video cataloging are due to human error. That mislabeled data then resides in archives indefinitely, making finding specific content a headache. Furthermore, metadata tagging is typically restricted to basic information about a video, such as the title, actors, and genre. This absence of information can result in poor search rankings and low-quality recommendations. However, advances in AI have made it possible to automate metadata tagging to provide improved search and discovery skills, which can be fed into facial recognition, object classification, and closed captioning features.
You can use AI to teach the system about individuals, places, spellings, and other topics. Useful metadata leads to more fruitful searches for your viewers and aids in recommendation creation, all of which leads to more monetization options for the providers.
Device Compatibility Problems
Another problem for providers is ensuring that video streams are compatible with and optimized for the wide range of devices on the market. Fully adaptive streams may now adjust to any bitrate and resolution, making it easy to send the appropriate stream to each screen. Video providers must still decide whether to transmit several streams to a service provider or to send one stream and have it transcoded.
The best way to provide high-quality video to various devices is to send one stream to a service provider, who will transcode it for the devices as needed. This method assures that the bandwidth required to match the best quality stream is accessible. Further, the stream can then be adapted to varying quality standards by distributors, which saves bandwidth and reduces overall delay while also lowering customer costs.
Today’s technology and improvements have made it feasible to bypass these obstacles and provide consumers with high-quality streaming video at any time and from any location. To keep viewers and boost profitability in today’s crowded media world, technology concerns must be solved. While we all know that producing high-quality content is a crucial distinction for streaming video companies, that content is useless if consumers can’t find it or can’t watch it smoothly once they do. A streaming provider’s success depends on ensuring that large video files can be transmitted quickly—without lags—and viewed on any device.