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7 Posts authored by: nhoch


By Thibaud Regeard , Limelight Solutions Engineer

 

This article is the first out of three articles diving into the world of video streaming, and the challenges of providing a user experience that is consistent with the very nature of live content.


Why is that? You might have experienced watching a live soccer game through your favorite OTT app or website, enjoying smooth quality and cheering for your team getting closer and closer to the opponent goalkeeper… Then suddenly you hear your neighbor screaming, notifications are popping up on your phone: “GGGOOOAAALLL!!!” Wait, there is no such goal… Oh, there it is! 30 seconds later, you see it happen and all the fun is ruined. Does that ring a bell?

 

 

Latency is a term that is commonly used throughout the Internet. Something that is related to your connection with remote content servers and can make or break your experience with online content. Low latency makes sure that users can enjoy it to the fullest, and this is especially true when facing time-critical content, be it online gaming or gambling, live auction, security feed monitoring, or live video streaming.

 

So what exactly is it when we talk about Latency? A term often measured in milliseconds, latency - for the purposes of discussing delivery of online video -  is defined as the average total time that is takes the internet, or a content delivery network, to send video to whatever device you will view it on.

 

Taking it from the definition, it’s pretty straightforward that low latency is important especially if you are experiencing online content. Low latency can be impacted by many factors: the type of internet connection, your router/switch, Internet Service Provider, number of users, or the distance between your computer and the server. While a fair amount depends on the state of the network and the route used to reach the content, we will focus today on the inherent latency created by the technology layer used to bring the content online.

 

How live broadcasters can improve their speed

 

Time is money. Whether it’s high frequency financial trading or live content streaming, you want to reduce the time needed to transport you content from its source to your eyeballs. Distributing video content over the top has been an increased concern as it embraces a variety of use cases: you probably don’t want to learn about the latest touchdown on a live broadcast BEFORE you actually see it happen on Twitter? For scenarios like this, you would probably appreciate, if your security team would have video monitoring feeds closer to real-time in order to deal with disruptions or criminal activities.

 

For this kind of audience, low latency streaming is not only a nice-to-have it is also a necessity. Latency dictates the delay between the live event as it is happening, compared to when the video or audio appears on the device you are using.  Key audiences who can benefit from low latency video are:

 

  • Gambling and gaming users – get news before the odds change
  • Financial organizations – getting the breaking news first can mean being ahead of the markets
  • News organizations – breaking the news first
  • Live Broadcasters – reducing the delay of a live event when viewed across multiple devices
  • Auctions - no point in being too late!
  • Security monitoring – being able to react on time can save lives or valuable assets!

 

The end of Flash technology?

 

For years now, many companies have relied on RTMP (Real Time Delivery Protocol developed by Adobe and mostly used along with Flash) delivery for their streaming business. They needed the low-latency aspect of RTMP delivery, as HTTP-based live streams have larger overhead for playlist and video segmentation, which can delay live playback for almost a minute. This type of latency is not acceptable for real-time communication such as live auction feeds or video chat.

Did you know that Facebook Live uses RTMP in its mobile apps to push a live stream out to its CDN? Anyone who is streaming live content is very likely using RTMP to push the video feed.


The Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) was designed for transmission of audio, video, and data between Adobe Flash Platform technologies, including Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR. Companies who rely on the Flash plug-in for desktop browsers are becoming less, as most of the big web companies like Google, Mozilla, Apple and Microsoft are already pulling the plug on Flash, phasing out its support in their most recent browsers.


In most of these live-streaming scenarios, the Flash plug-in is not necessarily used in a desktop browser though. RTMP can be used as a transport in a mobile or desktop application without requiring the Flash plug-in.
So Flash is still there, flexing its muscle where the action is and keeping the data moving when there isn’t room for processing delays. Despite all its shortcomings, we must acknowledge that Flash can be better than the competition in some use cases.

 

While some CDN vendors have already shutdown their RTMP capacity, Limelight still maintains RTMP endpoints for ingesting live streams. In most of these live-streaming scenarios, though, the Flash plug-in is not necessarily used in a desktop browser. RTMP can be used as a transport in a mobile or desktop application without requiring the Flash plug-in.
As the popularity and footprint of Flash declines, RTMP delivery is expected to fall off and eventually be replaced by optimized HTTP delivery.

Live video streaming offers content distributors, broadcasters and other organisations a golden opportunity to excite and engage actively with their audiences. With live video streaming gaining steam from the likes of Facebook and Twitter, integrating this into your strategy is key to staying relevant and remaining competitive. However, audience numbers and behaviour are notoriously difficult to predict. The diverse range of devices make it more challenging than ever to deliver the glitch-free experience that today’s consumers expect. If traffic levels exceed the server’s capacity, you risk providing a sub-optimal live streaming experience.

 

On the specific challenge of implementing live streaming video, Steve Miller-Jones, Senior Director of Product Management at Limelight Networks states: “Broadcasters face increased pressure to make, deliver, and monetise live video to keep up with new competition from social media giants and microblogging sites. More consumers are cutting the cord and that is our new reality. For content distributors to stay competitive, they must prioritize their ability to instantly create a TV broadcast-quality experience for all users. Overcoming internet traffic obstacles for uninterrupted viewing is one way of tackling this challenge. Utilising a densely-architected, global content delivery that offers scalability, reliability, and can adapt to new business models, new markets, and increasingly mobile audiences will guarantee your live video strategy is a success.”

 

We will be at BVE 2017, at London’s Excel Centre, (February 28th– 2nd March). You can visit Limelight at stand K18. BVE is co-located with the Streaming Video Forum, where Limelight’s Steve Miller-Jones will be leading a session on ‘A broadcaster’s guide to optimising live streaming’, on Wednesday 1st March. The talk will offer tips and best practices for building out a live streaming platform to deliver a high-quality viewing experience, covering topics from transcoding and transmuxing to analytics and protecting the live stream.

Raised on X-box and PlayStation, Millennials have high demands when it comes to entertainment. The gambling industry has historically struggled to reach this demographic, with traditional casino games no longer fulfilling their demand for easily accessible, faced-paced, dynamic experiences. However, the rise of digital gambling experiences has transformed the overall dynamics of the global gambling industry. A recent report by the UK Gambling Commission highlighted a growing interest in gambling among millennials, revealing that 17.5% of 18 to 34 year olds participated in a form of gambling in 2014 compared to 10.6% in 2008.

 

The accelerated expansion of online and mobile gambling can be attributed to the rapid uptake in smartphone usage. In the UK, 91% of Millennials own an Android, iPhone or iPad device, representing a huge market for the gambling industry. But, to provide users with the best possible user experience, casinos cannot underestimate the importance of densely-architected content delivery network.

 

 

Commenting on this, Mike Milligan, Senior Director, Product and Solution Marketing, Limelight Networks  recommends: “Online and mobile casinos looking to draw in younger customers must embrace disruptive technologies to offer the engaging content that users want, but they must also guarantee that the customer’s user experience isn’t compromised by second-rate digital infrastructure. A high-performing CDN can guarantee that your website delivers on users’ expectations through fast downloads, superior streaming video delivery, cloud leverage and, of course, the highest-level site security. Gambling providers need to consider carefully these requirements as they look to their millennial outreach efforts and to the future.”  

 

Limelight will be at ICE 7-9 Feb at London’s Excel Centre where they will be talking about innovation within the gambling industry, as well as the gaming industry as a whole. Steve Miller-Jones, Senior Director of Product Management, Limelight Networks, will be taking part in the panel ‘Cross-Platform & Multi-Channel Gaming’ that will be looking at how the gaming industry can better understand how to design new experiences for new channels. 

Webinar title:

Key Strategies and Best Practices To Proactively Protect Digital Assets and Apps

 

Description:

In the last few months we have seen cyber-attacks on corporations as diverse as Deutsche Telekom and Tesco. From the boardroom to the backroom there is an increasing awareness of complex cyber-security attacks. Businesses need a proactive solution that not only protects digital content and properties but also keeps one step ahead of these evolving threats. 


Join us on 18th January for a live webinar with Limelight's digital security experts, who will share specific use cases to illustrate key strategies and best practices for a cloud-based security solution. 

 

Presenters:

Charlie Kraus,Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Limelight Networks & Kerrion Burton-Evans,Solutions Engineer, Limelight Networks

 

Duration:

60 min

 

Date & Time:

Jan 18 2017 2:00 pm

 

Timezone:

United Kingdom - London

nhoch

IBC Has it All

Posted by nhoch Sep 23, 2016

In the beginning of this month we’ve travelled to Amsterdam to attend the biggest broadcast and media show in Europe: IBC.

 

With bags of team spirit we started IBC on Friday morning, Sept 9 at our brand new stand, all in lime green.

 

 

Talking to visitors and walking through the massive exhibition with 14 different halls we could definitely see some consistent themes:

 

Long live OTT

Broadcasters and video providers of all shapes and sizes are launching hybrid platforms with some element of OTT/streaming delivery, whether live or on-demand/catch-up.
Everyone wants to be close(r) to the consumer, which is driving the growth in OTT platforms. Combined with more mature technology and business models, direct-to-consumer services are proliferating, even though there are still many challenges to resolve.

 

Security 

It was apparent that OTT provides a great opportunity for broadcasters and multi-channel TV providers reach a broader audience who want to watch video on a wider and wider variety of devices. However, digital video has to be protected from piracy and theft. People visiting our stand were keen to know not only how to protect websites from incoming attacks, but also how to protect video streams from unauthorized use.

 

Transcoding

OTT providers know they need to reach the wide variety of devices that their audience use to consume content. Creating workflows to transcode video to all the necessary formats can be complex to configure and manage. Providers are looking to companies such as Limelight to simplify the transcoding and delivery of these necessary formats.


From speaking with other exhibitors, it appears there’s a continued lack of standardisation of video formats across multiple devices. This is not just a short term issue, but will continue to be relevant in the future. Solutions to challenge of transcoding (MMD-OD and MMD-Live) were positively well received by companies we spoke to.

 

HTML Players

There’s a movement by browsers to manage a slow deprecation of Flash. OTT providers who have used primarily Flash encoded videos are seeking out an alternative for their websites. An HTML5 player is the path forward for providers to deliver their content to all browsers and all devices. 

 

Virtual Reality 

It was hard to escape virtual and augmented reality and 360 degree video, both across most halls and especially in the Future Zone, where users strapped into VR glasses were screaming over excitedly at a rides simulator.

That said, trends like 8k, VR, Green Screen (specifically for Virtual Studios) were exciting to see, whereas the real buzz was around 4k and 360° videos.

 

 

And we must not forget to mention, our prize draw to win a GoPro camera, this got lots of attention:  slip on one of our lime green T-shirts, smile and upload the photo to your Twitter account #LLNW. Yesterday we announced the lucky winner. He was thrilled and tweeted: “That smile was easy, facing the magnificent team of llnw!”

 

In total there were over 55,700 attendees over six IBC days from more than 160 countries. It was a new IBC record. The exhibition featured over 1,800 exhibitors, including 249 companies at their first IBC.


Our guys loved the show and we are already planning for next year.

nhoch

IBC 2016: Up Your Game

Posted by nhoch Aug 22, 2016

Let’s Talk OTT

 

Are you part of the rising tide that is sweeping the world of technology? If so, IBC will be a great opportunity for you to catch up with us and discuss some common OTT challenges that you might face. Our technical experts will be on-site throughout the exhibition, ready to explain what it might take to overcome some of those challenges.

 

Book an appointment in one of our private meeting rooms at the show, or visit us at Hall 3, Stand A23.

 

 

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Be social: Join us for some complimentary drinks at our IBC “wine down” on Saturday September 10, starting at 4:30PM at our stand in Hall 3, A23.

 

 

And don’t miss our prize drawing: Upload your photo with your biggest smile in one of our green Limelight t-shirts to your Twitter account with #LLNW and one of a go-pro camera might be yours.

nhoch

IBC 2016: Let's Talk

Posted by nhoch Jul 19, 2016

In September, leading media companies will gather at the annual IBC show in Amsterdam. Planning on going ? If so, make sure to stop by the Limelight team in Hall 3, Stand A.23 to say hello. It's a great opportunity for Limelight customers to find out what's new from our technical experts, and to connect with our senior management team as well.  Our experts will be on-site throughout the Exhibition (9 - 13 Sept 2016) to  answer your questions about what it takes to consistently deliver your video content at broadcast quality, everywhere in the world. Whether you want to talk about OTT, customizable cloud-based workflows, multi-format delivery for any device, security, or any other video delivery topic, we'll be ready!

 

Haven't signed up yet? Email ibc@llnw.com to book an appointment in one of our private meeting rooms at the show, or just come by at Hall 3, Stand A.23.

 

We look forward to seeing you!