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Defining Video Streaming In The OTT Era

There will always be a time when super high quality will absolutely matter. When someone’s chosen to pay to rent a movie in 4K UHD from an online video store, for example, they will demand it lives up to its billing.

But where people have invested less time and money, whether in a low-priced subscription or ad-funded online video services. Broadcast quality will be less important than access to content when, where, and how they want it.

Take Netflix. Videos usually start playing with a resolution somewhere below standard definition (SD), before increasing to HD. The adaptive bit-rate (ABR) technology that is used to dial resolution up and down is also employed by Netflix and other providers to keep streaming video over broadband networks with limited or unpredictable bandwidth.

Why do they do this? Because they know consumers would rather accept variable quality to start watching sooner and for longer than wait for a consistent broadcast-grade experience that ultimately might not be possible if network conditions are challenging. For most consumers, any video experience is better than no video experience.

That’s not to say online VOD services shouldn’t aspire to the reliability and consistency of broadcast TV. Of course not. But they shouldn’t let it get in the way of giving viewers what they want, whenever they want, and wherever they are.

Great video experiences will be determined more by the choices the consumer has made – what content, device, broadband speed, network, and ultimately why they are watching – than any industry standards body. Welcome to the customer-grade era.

Source : Ovum

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