nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

nScreenNoise – managing streaming to broadcast quality standards

nScreenMedia Video Podcast

Broadcasters transitioning to online delivery are in for a shock. The broadcast operations center they’ve come to rely on to monitor and fix problems with broadcast delivery doesn’t exist for OTT. In this interview with Matt Azzarto of Akamai we hear how that’s about to change.

One of the biggest problems for content providers is figuring out where a problem lies when users are complaining of poor quality or interrupted viewing. In the world of traditional TV, the broadcast operations center can quickly zero in on the problem. Vendors are starting to build out the same functionality for OTT video streaming.

When trouble strikes with an online video provider (OVP) service it can be almost impossible to figure out where the trouble lies. This very often leads to a lot finger pointing since the problem could originate in either the content provider, CDN or ISP networks. For example, users may be experiencing frequent buffering when watching a live linear stream. The problem could be due to:

  • A problem with the encoder in the content providers network
  • An overloaded streaming server in the CDN’s networks
  • Insufficient bandwidth available in the ISP network.

All of these problems manifest themselves in the same way to video viewers: the picture freezes and stays that way while the player buffers more video.

At NAB 2016 nScreenMedia recorded this short interview with Matt Azzarto, Director of Media Operations at Akamai, discussing the problems content providers are struggling to deal with in real time. Mr. Azzarto is in the process of building a broadcast operations center (BOC) for Akamai which is aimed at addressing this issue for its content provider customers. The objective of the project is to help the industry move toward 99.999% reliability and availability with OTT video streaming.

The BOC solution will monitor all the equipment in the video stream chain of delivery, from initial encode all the way to the player running on the customer device. Initially the BOC will be used internally by Akamai to monitor and fix problem, although content providers will be able to use it too via the company’s BOSS (broadcast operations support systems.) Later next year, customers will be able to integrated the BOC functionality into their own monitoring centers.

If you want to learn more about achieving great quality with live streaming sign up for the free nScreen University webinar Broadcast Quality Live Streaming – Challenges and Opportunities taking place on Thursday May 12th at 2PM Eastern, 11AM Pacific.

Chapter 1: What Akamai is doing to open up the “black box” (0:30)

Chapter 2: How the BOC works (2:00)

Chapter 3: Measuring the video delivery path (3:10)

Chapter 4: When will the BOC be available (4:40)

Why it matters

OVPs don’t have enough information to determine where a problem lies when trouble strikes with OTT video delivery

They have had to rely on CDNs to tell them what’s going on

CDNs and solutions vendors are now building the tools to let content providers monitor directly the state of their OTT video service.

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