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OTTs fine-tune content quality as users take to big screens

As India’s online viewership increases and moves to large TV screens, homegrown and foreign streaming companies are investing in back-end technology to deliver high quality audio-visual fare and shooting shows in premium formats like 4K HDR. To deliver shows and movies in high-end formats to their audiences, companies are also tying up with smart TV firms that enable that experience.

Telugu streaming service Aha has introduced a Gold plan that will stream videos in 4K resolution, high-definition video that has four times the resolution of regular video, and Dolby, which is known for enhanced colour and contrast and brightness on the screen. Earlier this month, Bengali video-on-demand platform Hoichoi too tied up with Dolby Atmos for an enhanced audio experience. Netflix has already invested in features like 4K, HDR and Dolby Atmos earlier.

“With theatres closing down in the pandemic and video streaming emerging as the primary entertainment, audiences have developed a taste for watching content on larger screens to mimic the larger-than-life experience at home,” said Soumya Mukherjee, chief operating officer at Hoichoi. “Watching content on a large screen allows audiences to have that communal experience in their homes. This behavioural change has contributed to people being drawn towards watching content on a bigger device,” he said.

The platform that is available on devices like Amazon Firestick, Android TV, Apple TV, Mi LED TV, LG SMART TV, Samsung TV, and Roku has started streaming marquee properties like Feludar Goyedagiri, Darjeeling Jawmjawmat, Mandaar, Rudrabinar Obhishaap and Mahabharat Murders, with enhanced sound while all shows are available in HD (high definition), Mukherjee said.

TV became the single source of entertainment during the pandemic, said Baskar Subramanian, co-founder and CEO of Amagi, a media technology company. “With viewers increasingly choosing to consume content on connected TVs with larger screens, the benchmark for content quality, in terms of resolution, has become higher,” he said. The company is helping content creators and platforms address these demands by offering tech-based support systems that enhance their end-user experience, such as the ultra-high-definition resolution on cloud-based solutions. Amagi has introduced Dolby Atmos surround sound to content on connected TVs. The company is also working on offering optimized bandwidths for bringing quality content to consumers with varying internet speeds.

Ajit Thakur, CEO of Aha, said the transition to large home screens had started even before covid but has been fast-tracked because of the pandemic. The company is now actively shooting originals in 4K and Dolby to offer a premium experience to users.

A Netflix spokesperson said delivering a great Netflix (viewing) experience is just as important as creating great content. “Netflix is available on 1,700 plus internet-connected devices globally. Our focus is on providing a great product experience that works seamlessly for our members—one that is constantly improving and delivers an incredible viewing experience and recommendations tailored to their tastes,” the person said. Indian titles like Gangubai Kathiawadi and Mai are available in 4K HDR globally, and Netflix original Yeh Ballet was the first Indian film to be released in Dolby Vision in 2020.

Sidd Mantri, head of product for developing markets, Disney Streaming, said the platform offers consumers a wide variety of content and enhances their experience using state-of-the-art technology. “We introduced Dolby 5.1 surround sound design during the pandemic to boost our entertainment content and recently introduced an all-new audio feature to make cricket entertainment more inclusive with our ball-by-ball audio descriptive commentary,” Mantri said. Live Mint

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