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Live Streaming Is Still Playing Catch-Up to TV, Says VDMS: Video

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Troy Dreier: Hi this is Troy Dreier, coming to you from Streaming Media East, 2016. Where we're talking to thought leaders of the streaming video industry. I'm here with Daniel Sanders.

Daniel Sanders: Hello.

Troy Dreier: Vice president of video engineering for Verizon Digital Media Services.

Daniel Sanders: Yep.

Troy Dreier: And all the many companies that they have acquired, giant umbrella.

Daniel Sanders: We have a lot going on.

Troy Dreier: Now with AOL in their properties.

Daniel Sanders: Yep.

Troy Dreier: And people are rumoring that maybe Yahoo soon too, we'll see if that happens.

Daniel Sanders: Yeah, no comment.

Troy Dreier: No comment, nothing here. You were on a panel today talking about bit rate and squeezing video files down, and I know your company does a lot of live, and that has a special difficulty, right?

Daniel Sanders: Yeah, I mean today's panel was really about work flows as they exist today in the marketplace, and how they might develop into the future. Where algorithms and ways of compressing video are actually aware of what the content is, what's going on in the content. So if it's a talking head you treat it one way, if it's a golf game you treat it another way. There was a lot of talk about, from specifically you know, Jan Ozer was talking a lot about how these algorithms can evolve, and what I was really talking about was the importance of being able to fit all these things into your work flows, the importance of being able to get the right device to decode and, you know the encoder is not everything, you've got to be able to decode, package in the right DRM. If it's studio content you've got to be able to get the stuff through the CDN. You've got to be able to get it to the device to decode it.

I was providing the counter balance to the purely compressionist technology perspective. At Verizon we do a lot of live video, mass specifically, we do a lot of live and we do some VOD as well. In the past we've used MPEG a lot. We still do today. I'm involved in evaluating newer technologies that might get us further, put less strain on the network, deliver higher quality video at lower bit rates. That's very important to us, given that we operate EdgeCast CDN, one of the biggest CDN's in the world. We're constantly expanding, we have eighty POPs around the world. Every bit counts when you're pushing it through the network. I'm interested in those technologies, I've yet to see them really integrate into a lot of the existing encoders that people are using all the big ones. There's a lot of potential there.

Troy Dreier: For encoding and decoding, how is live different than VOD?

Daniel Sanders: Well, one of the obvious ways is a lot of these techniques, one of the techniques that was mentioned today was a seven pass process through the video, if you're doing live, and people are already complaining that the live stream is fifteen seconds behind what's actually happening, then you don't want to be introducing something else into the chain that's going to add more latency. Whereas if it's a Hollywood movie that you've received and your video ops team has received two weeks ago and you're not putting it into your store for another week, you can do seven hundred passes on it if you want. Yeah, it's just the time sensitivity of it. With live stuff the DRM considerations usually fall off, so that can be good for flexibility, but then the pressure you get from the liveness requirements really makes it more difficult, I'd say, overall.

Troy Dreier: How much latency will your customers put up with in live video?

Daniel Sanders: HLS has inherent latency in it, even in the best of times. You can sometimes see drift of fifteen seconds, up to a minute. Also if you're doing ad supported video, that can contribute. You know if you have a fifteen or thirty second ad break, you've got to catch up afterward. We have a lot of special sauce in that area of trying to compress the delay but I'd say up to a minute is acceptable but if it's a sporting match you don't want to hear the neighbors screaming and you wonder what's going on for a minute. That's another area I think that just has to evolve to catch up. One point that was made today is that we're always play- With all the IP models of delivery we're playing catch up with TV. TV is a better experience in many ways still. Hopefully we'll get to a point where that reverses and 4K delivered over the internet is just as good as over cable.

Troy Dreier: Hopefully, and soon. Well, this guy's going to make it happen. Coming to you from Streaming Media East, this is Troy Dreier.

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