4 Predictions for 2016 – Internet and Mobile Video

February 7, 2016

2016 has only started, and it has already been a busy year so far at Giraffic. We announced AVA Live at CES last month (which extends AVA benefits to live streaming video, see this article), and had good conversations with media, analysts and many others, one of which resulted in this article.
Since then, I’ve had the chance to reflect, and consider what might lie ahead for the rest of the year in mobile and streaming video. Please see below for my predictions.

1. 4K going Mobile

Some may think 4K video quality on mobile is a stretch – but this is already happening (e.g. see the SonyXperiaSony Xperia Z Premium). I think 4K on mobile will grow and eventually become mainstream, hitting the Samsung Galaxy and iPhone, if not in the next high end models, then the following ones.

2. Mobile Casting to Drive HD/UHD Consumption

Casting to TVs from mobile devices (meaning viewing mobile device content on the TV screen via Wi-Fi) will become mainstream and drive HD/UHD consumption. That’s because we’re addicted to our mobile devices, which are rarely out of reach (I referenced this at the Parks Connection Summit last year, and in this blog post). Also, TV UIs leave a lot to be desired. The mobile device is personalized, and great for searching and discovering media.Samsung

There’s been much talk about casting from mobile to the TV screens, but adoption has been slow. I think this year it will grow, and cross the chasm in 2017, aided by an improvement in connectivity protocols (e.g. DLNA, Miracast, Apple AirPlay, etc).
Here is my reasoning:

  • Device manufacturers are constantly seeking differentiation, and this is getting harder. When they do innovate, others must fall in line, at least on introductory models, to see if consumers jump on board.
  • As mentioned above, mobile devices are upgrading to 4K camera and video quality. But the viewing experience is much better on a big screen. Device manufacturers need to give consumers a reason to care about the value of 4K on mobile.
  • Studios and other content creators have a financial incentive to promote 4K content, and can’t rely only on Connected TV platforms. They see 4K as “the new HD” for charging premium on content consumption.
  • Many multi-play vendors with Connected TV and mobile offerings (like Samsung, LG, Sony, Lenovo, Xiaomi) will want to try to “Appleize” their customers, i.e. create a seamless end-to-end experience – via a device ecosystem that does not just rely on a standalone product adoption.
  • The growth of leading media streaming devices like Roku and Apple TV, and the entrance of other large vendors into this space (Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV) has distanced consumers from the integrated Smart TV platforms. We’ve seen stronger demand from TV manufacturers for casting capabilities, which I believe to be a defensive response to big players like Google, Apple and Amazon gaining traction in this domain (previously the realm of smaller startups like Roku).
  • People still prefer external media streaming devices (like Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, Chromecast, and Amazon Fire TV) over integrated Smart TV platforms. Consumer engagement on these external devices is higher than on the Smart TV Platforms. Sharing from mobile is the only way for the multi-player CE vendors to regain some of that consumer attention – assuming these vendors can’t do it only relying only on their Smart TV platform adoption.

3. VR (Virtual Reality) will go Mainstream

CES 2016 featured many demos and announcements about VR (e.g. Facebook’s Oculus, Google Cardboard, Samsung and Sony PlayStation VR, etc). It is making its way not only in gaming, but also education, tourism, media, and perhaps also business (e.g., VR-conferencing). Virtual Reality has been an unfulfilled dream for over a decade. Now it appears that the technology and ecosystem are there to make it happen.

SamsungVR Cardboard Archos

4. The Rise of Chinese Vendors

Chinese vendors like Huawei, Lenovo and Xiaomi have been gaining market share, at the expense Chineseof others. I believe this momentum will continue.

There’s no longer a significant quality difference between Chinese and Korean or Japanese devices. Samsung overtook Apple in market footprint and has solidified it leadership on multiple platforms (Mobile and TV). I believe Lenovo could become the “the next Samsung”.

Comcast’s Data Cap Seeks to Monetize Cord-Cutters Further – by Offering Nothing

December 17, 2015

Comcast is raising hell with consumers and media alike thanks to the new 300GB data cap on their broadband Internet. Sure, reaching 300 GB of data in one month isn’t easy to do for casual Internet users, but it seems that the new plans are directed at penalizing cord-cutters, binge-watchers, and most importantly 4K consumers. Consider that 70 percent of all broadband traffic in North America during peak periods belongs to audio and video – and most of that video isn’t 4K yet.

As we move towards 4K, it’s going to be a bigger problem. 4K content is more than 4x larger than high definition content. That means if consumers stream one episode in 4K, it’s equivalent to over four episodes in standard HD. These massive file sizes will quickly consume 300 GB, while consumers are charged an additional $10 per 50 GB they are over the monthly limit. Also, consider the wasted data from accidental streaming, background streaming (if on a computer) and streaming resulting from video advertisements.

In a recent article on Streaming Media, I discussed about how the lack of standardization in streaming media led to a costly experience for the consumer and this decision by Comcast only seeks to muddle those waters even more. The gains for Comcast are obvious – money and an advantage in a highly competitive market. If there was any thought that perhaps this was a congestion issue, Comcast quickly cleared that up.

This rollout comes at a particularly “convenient” time as Comcast begins to unveil their new streaming service, StreamTV, which won’t count towards their data cap because it streams through their cable service and not the Internet. Unlike mobile data caps which offer no option for unlimited data, there is still one for broadband Internet. Consumers can get the same service they have had for years by paying an additional $35 dollars on their monthly bill.

Terrific.

What can you do to prepare for this?

The first step is to know what you’re streaming, and from where. Our recent consumer streaming survey shows that people individually use more than 3 devices to stream video. That includes set-top-boxes, TVs, computers, mobile devices, gaming consoles, Roku and other media players. Each of these will contribute to the data hog at the same time in some use cases.

It shouldn’t just be your responsibility. OTT App providers that still deliver in-app advertisements must consider how much data consumption is delivered over time and how to reduce it. Otherwise they risk angering consumers by forcing unwanted data usage (e.g. Facebook auto-play video).

It will still be some time before the full impact of the Comcast data cap is implemented across all markets, or if other providers follow-suit. But this is a dangerous precursor to how easily it is to take advantage of the growth of fat 4K content and the growing reliance on broadband internet to watch all content.

Survey Says: Buffering Still the Chief Concern

December 9, 2015

Are image quality and buffering issues widely recognized by consumers in their streaming? It appears so. At least, that’s what a survey that we conducted at the GetGeeked show in New York City would seem to say.

Giraffic works with TV and device manufacturers, and it isn’t always able to speak directly with consumers and gauge their reactions to our technology. It’s difficult when we accelerate streaming video and enhance the user experience. That is why it was great to attend the show, a tech and gadget-fest, and talk directly with consumers, tech enthusiasts and influencers about their experiences.

We showed side-by-side comparisons of videos with and without Giraffic AVA and on a beautiful 55” LG smart TV that equipped with 4K resolution. The demos were for video delivered via progressive download and adaptive bitrate streaming, both which aim to boost quality. Yet the improvements were pretty stark with Giraffic and it was great to see the impressed looks on consumer’s faces. Below is the progressive download we showcased, highlighting the substantial reduction in buffering as a result of our technology.

The best part of the show was getting the direct feedback from people about their streaming media experiences and concerns. Almost 200 told us about favorite streaming media services, viewing habits and overall satisfaction with their services or Internet providers.

Most people surveyed subscribe to more than 2 premium services – Netlfix, YouTube and Amazon Prime (in that order) being the most popular.

Streaming most popular

But, when asked about their biggest streaming concerns, buffering and image quality were the most common complaints as illustrated by the graph below.

image

Could it be that consumers have low expectations when it comes to streaming video? Possibly. But we see the real issue is in where people experience the biggest barriers – that is in-home Internet. When networks slow down, consumers get a poor experience overall with the performance of their streaming service. That means, they need more products that can intelligently adapt to network conditions and deliver the content they want.

We’re continuing to dive into the data and will be sharing more soon.

Giraffic Speaks at Israel-China Innovation Summit

November 18, 2015

Recently, I had the chance to speak at the 2015 Israel-China Innovation Summit, which celebrates ongoing tech collaborations between Israel and China. It was a great opportunity for Giraffic to showcase how our adaptive video acceleration is revolutionizing the way Chinese manufacturers and consumers use streaming media.

The event was attended by approximately 20 Chinese delegations, mainly mobile and consumer electronics companies, a select few Israeli tech companies were invited to present on stage and network with the delegates for new business opportunities.

Yoel China

On stage discussing AVA at the Summit

Our invitation to speak comes from our successful ongoing work with major Chinese consumer electronics companies, like Nanli. In-fact, our collaboration with Nanli has been the subject of a number of R&D projects with China – with the Chief Scientist of Israel, Avi Hasson, visiting Nanli’s headquarters last year to discuss their investment in our technology and how the two countries can work together in the future.Israel-Jiangsu

Israel Chief Scientist Avi Hasson (Right) meets with Nanli company representatives

China is an interesting place for streaming media too. As one of the most congested, and highly controlled, Internet environments, there’s a real need to super-charge people’s experiences. In-fact, most apartment buildings or neighborhood blocks sometimes share WiFi with one another, meaning that there could be dozens of devices connected at a given time. As we continue to work with Chinese brands like Nanli, Hisense, Wipao and others, our technology will be able to help consumers get the optimal video streaming experience with their OTT apps.

I look forward to growing our opportunities with Chinese companies, and for some exciting announcements to come forth in the coming months. It is always great to come to these events and see just how many Chinese companies visit are interested in Israeli tech and investment opportunities.

Giraffic Adaptive Video Acceleration Boosts LG Electronics Smart TV Performance

October 21, 2015

TEL AVIV, Israel–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Giraffic announced today that LG has implemented Giraffic’s Adaptive Video Acceleration™ (AVA) technology in its 2015 webOS TV product lines to enhance digital content streaming, performance and delivery speeds, while eliminating buffering interruptions. Giraffic’s unique “stream-cleaning” technology exponentially improves the efficiency of video streams, allowing for a viewing experience in the highest possible quality.

LG’s webOS TVs equipped with Giraffic’s AVA exhibit outstanding performances for Adaptive Streaming, progressive download and UHD 4K. AVA guarantees a state-of-the-art video streaming experience with improved performance and robustness of adaptive streaming protocols including HLS, Smooth Streaming and MPEG-DASH, as demonstrated below.

giraffic-graphic

“We’re excited to partner with LG, a company that is at the forefront of innovation and technology,” said Yoel Zanger, CEO and founder of Giraffic. “With Giraffic’s Adaptive Video Acceleration technology, LG customers will own the most technologically advanced TVs that will provide the highest quality video streaming experience.”

LG’s 2015 webOS TVs with AVA will be available to consumers this fall, and previously purchased 2015 models can be supported with a firmware update.

AVA, has been deployed in over tens of millions of Smart TV devices across 120 countries, handling millions of daily video streams. The technology is the largest field-proven device-side video acceleration solution – bridging the gap between the broadcast TV experience and boundaries of Internet video.

For more information, please visit http://www.Giraffic.com

About Giraffic

Giraffic is the inventor of Adaptive Video Acceleration™ (AVA) – a new client-side network throughput optimization technology that enables consumer electronic (CE) devices to deliver High Definition video, without re-buffering pauses or streaming resolution reduction. With over 10 million activated devices in 120 countries, Giraffic’s ground breaking technology has been validated and benchmarked by the world’s leading manufacturers, including LG, Samsung and others. Giraffic’s technology can be found in the next generation of CE devices, including Smart TVs, Set-Top-Boxes, Tablets and Smartphones.

Contacts

ExceleratePR on behalf of Giraffic
Chris Michaels, 650-395-9004 ext. 101
cmichaels@exceleratepr.com