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ETCA 2016: Live through the internet: Here today, better tomorrow -- Panel

June 28, 2016

While the day's first panel touched on the issues related to live streaming as part of the overall challenge of delivering TV content digitally, this session focused specifically on the challenges of streaming live events. Eric Grab of Disruption Wave moderated a panel from YouTube, Twitch.tv, Akamai and Media Melon. The rapid growth of live streaming and live streaming services is driving a large increase in internet traffic. Akamai is now service 33Tbps per-second, and extrapolates the current growth rate to 8.5 Petabits per-second in 10 years. CMAF (Common Media Application Format) was promoted as a better, and more standardized, format for delivering content -- as HLS and DASH can share the same source files. Similary, Google's QUIC provides a faster way to serve data over UDP. WAVE (Web Application Video Ecosysem) is an attempt to provide a unified, HTML5-based, player platform across all devices.

YouTube has made its live streaming platform available to everyone since 2014. It supports up to 1440p, although YouTube always transcodes all content into multiple resolutions so that it works well on all devices. Users can actually send two copies of the source stream for redundancy, and each will be processed in a different data center. One nice feature of streaming on YouTube is that at the end of an event, the stream is immediately available as a YouTube video. Going forward, YouTube is continuing to address challenges of playback quality, latency, and staying ahead of growing demand.

Media Melon aims to solve live streaming delivery problems independent of the choice of encoders. The company has an adaptive bit rate solution -- called QBR -- that analyzes content in real time to change the bit rate based on the complexity of the scene during both encoding and streaming. Twitch is a streaming pioneer, as it has been delivering online streaming for nine years -- focused on online gaming, with over 100 million unique viewers each month. Many of the streams are only viewed by a small audience, but there are many thousands of people creating streams. 

Panelists said that one issue for live streaming today is the challenge in reducing latency compared to broadcast. Currently, they are working to keep the delay at 8 seconds or less, but they are hoping to drive it down to 2 as the new technologies roll out, and network bandwidth and quality continue to increase.

Tag(s): CMAF , HLS , ETCA2016 , DASH

David Cardinal

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