Masood Parwez
Manager – Broadcast Technology Dept.,
Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.

Multi-Screen Streaming Technology

Linear TV or traditional TV (big screen) is an older and past thing now. Consumers do not fear missing their favorite shows anymore as they can now watch them anywhere any time on their mobile, laptop, iPad, tablet, or other gadgets. Video consumption has changed. OTT technologies have made the TV just one screen among many. The new reality has brought multi-screen options to consumers.

Today, content offerings have expanded to multiple screens and are targeted to viewers in many places according to their schedules, and we are barreling toward a world of personalized viewing moments, which are built for a single person, on any screen, at any time and in any way an individual viewer chooses what to watch as per their freedom. With this shift, audiences these days want to control their viewing experience. A recent study has revealed that video consumers want more flexibility, freedom, and convenience as to when and how they consume their preferred content. The availability of multi-screen has enabled these changes by converting the content into digital viewing device preferences from linear to digital. As technology has evolved, so too has the demand for information and entertainment to flow instantaneously.

So, these days all the broadcasters have started their own OTT services and the applications are easily available on mobile phones and other hand-held devices to download and to watch one’s favorite programs online.

Streaming technology

The economics of delivering content to multiple screens can be boosted by two standards-based bandwidth-saving technologies: the MPEG-DASH to provide adaptive bit-rate video, and HEVC, the next-generation video codec. OTT video providers will migrate to MPEG-DASH to unify their streaming services around a single format to deliver video to multiple screens. Dynamic adaptive streaming over HTTP, also known as MPEG-DASH, is an adaptive bitrate streaming technique that enables high-quality streaming of media content delivered from HTTP web servers. It works by breaking the content into a sequence of small HTTP-based file segments, each segment containing a short interval of playback time of content that is potentially many hours in duration, such as a movie or the live broadcast of a sports event. The content is made available at a variety of different bit rates, i.e., alternative segments encoded at different bit rates covering aligned short intervals of playback time. While the content is being played back by a client, it uses a bit rate adaptation (ABR) algorithm to automatically select the segment with the highest bit rate possible that can be downloaded in time for playback, without causing stalls or re-buffering events in the playback. The current MPEG-DASH offers both buffer-based and hybrid bit-rate adaptation algorithms. Thus, an MPEG-DASH client can seamlessly adapt to changing network conditions and provide high-quality playback with fewer stalls or re-buffering events.

DASH uses a TCP transfer protocol. it uses existing HTTP web server infrastructure that is used for delivery of essentially all world-wide-web content. It allows devices like internet-connected televisions, TV set-top boxes, desktop computers, smartphones, tablets, and the like, to consume multimedia content delivered via the internet, coping with variable internet-receiving conditions. DASH is codec-agnostic, which means it can use content encoded with any coding format, such as H.265, H.264, VP9, etc.

In summary, broadcasters should follow these steps for building a successful multi-screen video service in today’s consumer-driven, fragmented marketplace: Focus on the multi-screen consumer; secure key suppliers with proven track record and multi-platform approach; make sure to differentiate their service using personalization; Look to continuously improve their offerings; and establish an efficient application lifecycle that can support growth for their service.

Finally, the broadcasters should create a long-term vision and secure funding, processes, and organization for achieving their goals. With the help of this, all broadcasters can make their way to success in the new OTT world as well as in the linear TV.

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