Optimising Quality of Experience for viewers of live events

Slaying the vampire buffer

Live sport, concerts and media events are big business for providers, and major sources of frustration for viewers when the quality of video and audio transmissions is affected by delays, uneven data flows or data loss due to network speed, latency and jitter. It only takes one missed second during a critical game, or a few dropped frames during an anticipated event, to turn viewing pleasure into intense irritation.

For the operator this usually means that their network has been flooded with excessive amounts of video content, requiring them to invest heavily in network bandwidth without being able to charge for the services that are being delivered.

As this incoming traffic increases, operators’ own core and aggregation networks become congested, affecting not only their own video services, but also their internet services. There’s a real risk of losing video subscribers and valuable Internet subscribers to competitors.

Addressing these challenges is key, as the Internet becomes the default option in delivering live programming. Rather than using online merely as a time-shifted content supplement to live TV programming, broadcasters worldwide are streaming events live using IP to connect every
class of device.

Not only does IP technology provide an opportunity to deliver premium content to every screen; it allows programmers to supply much more content than can be delivered over traditional TV channels. This represents an important opportunity for programmers who have an abundance of high-quality content that doesn’t make it into their TV broadcasts but can be
used to fill potentially lucrative niche channels online.

These content providers and their advertisers recognise that the power to draw people passionate about a given topic from a global population base greatly expands the advertising dimensions for highly-targeted programming.

Choosing the right technology can mean the difference between offering a high quality, expansive service or being bound by limitations associated with bandwidth increases. The system must be able to cope with potentially highly profitable bursts of traffic such as a sporting or major event but without the cost associated with dimensioning the system permanently around the highest possible peak.

At Edgeware, we’re using the advances in technology to optimise the delivery of high quality content for live and on-demand services, minimising the risks of buffering and data loss as a result of latency or slow network speed.


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