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Bitmovin Survey: HLS Still Dominates, but DASH is on the Rise
Bitmovin surveyed respondents across the globe, finding the lowest DASH usage in the U.S. and the highest in APAC and LATAM.
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Video infrastructure provider Bitmovin released its Video Developer Report 2017 today, which included the results from 380 survey respondents from major streaming properties around the world, including broadcasters, publisher, OTT streaming services, and online video platforms. The survey included a range of questions about current encoding and distribution practices, from codec usage to the biggest problems experienced in their distribution practices.

For some questions, like format and codec usage, the survey asked about current and planned usage, producing some interesting results. For example, today, 78% of respondents are currently using HLS, with 56% also using DASH, and 37% clinging to RTMP, primarily for contribution feeds and low-latency use cases like betting. The survey included regional variations for North America, EME, APAC, and LATAM, which showed that North America has the lowest penetration of DASH usage (46%), compared to 69% in APAC and 53% in LATAM.

Figure 1. HLS was the dominant format, but DASH was a close second, and much closer in the APAC region, where it trailed HLS 72% to 69%.

In 12 months, however, 31% of respondents predicted that they would start using DASH, which Bitmovin attributed to the ease of working with multiple DRMs. An additional 24% predicted adding HLS, which Bitmovin attributed to Apple's adding HEVC to HLS. The Common Media Application Format (CMAF) was on the 12-month radar screen of 19% of respondents, presumably in the hopes of creating a single set of files they can distribute to DASH and HLS. 

Regarding codec usage, 95% of respondents deploy H.264, which is no surprise, though 28% also use HEVC, and 10% VP9, and 6% were experimenting with AV1. In 12 months, over 40% of respondents plan to add HEVC, while 18% also plan to add VP9, and 14% anticipate deploying AV1. The survey does not divide usage between contribution and distribution, which would have been useful.

The survey also asked about the respondent's encoding practices. Surprisingly, on-premise software dominated with 54% penetration, followed by 46% encoding with hardware appliances, though this was primarily for live use cases. Thirty-four percent encoded with software in the cloud, while 24% used a cloud encoding service.

Other survey topics included target platforms and video players, DRM systems, monetization models, audio codecs, and ad technology, The final question asked, “What are the biggest problems that you are experiencing with video technology today?” Not at all surprisingly, 49% indicated that  getting playback running on all devices was their biggest problem, while 45% identified “player issues” on main platforms/devices. Next up was CDN problems at 27%, with only 15% identifying ad blockers as a significant problem.

The survey is available for free download at https://bitmovin.com/video-dev-report/, though registration is required.

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