OTT streaming is changing the way video is delivered, whether as IPTV, WebTV or mobile TV services.
One of the challenges in deploying Over-The-Top (OTT) services is in choosing which streaming technology to use.
OTT TV relies on the HTTP protocol, commonly used to transport web pages over the Internet. HTTP is already used as a transport solution for video on demand (VOD) media embedded into web pages, especially on Flash-based sites, such as YouTube or Dailymotion. However this solution does not involve real time streaming, but progressive downloading of one media file, where the browser downloads the file from the HTTP web server once it has a sufficient amount of data, starts to play the content while downloading the rest of the file. The main drawback to this approach is the length of time it takes to fill the initial buffer.
Another issue associated with HTTP is streaming quality, which depends on the IP connection used. Content streaming may be subject to frozen frames due to bandwidth fluctuations. As a consequence, it is nearly impossible to use the solution to broadcast live channels.
Currently, five industry players propose their own OTT solutions:
With this demo site, you can experience some of those OTT technologies, streamed directly from Anevia's ViaMotion server, located near Paris, France.
- Microsoft, with Silverlight Smooth Streaming;
- Apple, promoting its HLS standard;
- Google, pushing its own WebM technology;
- Adobe, with Flash HTTP Dynamic Streaming;
- a standard promoted by ISO and MPEG: DASH.
A comprehensive and detailed study on OTT protocols and their respective advantages and limitations is available on our downloadable OTT white paper
The key for a positive OTT experience is the use of "adaptive bitrate"
, which allows the video server to automatically scale video quality up and down according to the available bandwidth. All the demonstrations provided by Anevia's ViaMotion on this site are implementing adaptive bitrate.