Noam Geri, VP Sales & Business Development, North America, Giraffic
During last week’s Streaming Media West conference, I moderated a panel discussion in the Live Streaming Summit track. We covered quality of experience, and how to make it top-notch. The discussion included Mitch Singer of Digital 360 Ventures (formerly CSO of Sony Pictures), Matthew Durgin, Director Smart TV Content at LG Electronics, Brenton Ough, CEO of Touchstream and Kumar Subramanian, CEO of MediaMelon.
We started by agreeing that sports is the main driver in adoption of live streaming, although news and linear programming continue to play an important role as well. That’s not so surprising, because those are inherently live and happen at a set window of time. Also, panelists said that the array of new ‘skinny bundle’ media streaming services will contribute to the rapid growth of live streaming.
We addressed many of the technical challenges that plague the ecosystem. Mitch Singer highlighted the proliferation of services, standards and protocols that providers and OEMs need to support and maintain. Singer also advised that content providers should deliver the quality of a stream promised to consumers, especially if they are charging a few extra dollars a month for it. Minimizing latency of the live stream was also addressed, especially due to its importance in streaming live sports. In fact, one panelist shared a personal example of bar patrons electing to view the nearly unwatchable low resolution stream of a baseball game over the high quality screen because it was a couple of seconds more current. The panelists explained that service providers can achieve low latency in live steaming right now, however as latency is reduced- the risk of service interruptions increases.
Finally, the panelists affirmed the important role for 4K in live streaming. Matthew Durgin remarked that consumers have grown accustomed to high video quality from their cable/satellite service, and they will expect the same high quality video in live streaming, with 4K being included in the mix. LG invests in several technologies that enable a higher quality viewing experience for streaming of live and VOD content, and cited Griaffic Adaptive Video Acceleration technology as an example.
Live streaming will be adopted by the masses whether it’s ready for primetime content or not, that much is clear. But the panel demonstrated some promising advances happening in the background in order to help keep up with the global love affair of the medium, and to fulfill the steady, high quality consumption of content that viewers desire.