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Mobile Versus Internet Streaming: 5 Key Challenges

Equally important is the ability to customize the DBA behavior based on the handset type and the network technology. Certainly a single configuration may not achieve optimal results on all handsets and networks, and some optimisations derived from empirical tests are often required.

Unfortunately many operators don’t have the experience necessary to identify these optimisations, and so should work closely with vendors that understand wireless streaming and the associated issues. In summary, DBA is a critical feature that can give significant improvements in the quality of the streaming services.

3. Handset Compatibility Issues
Media players on mobile handsets are generally standards-compliant (and implement the various technologies recommended by 3GPP such as MPEG-4 video, RTP and RTSP protocols, AMR audio, etc); however this doesn’t necessarily mean there is 100% compatibility between streaming servers and handsets. Currently, mobile operators invest substantial effort to ensure their servers are compatible with the handsets on their network.

Comprehensive interoperability tests are in fact conducted between the handset and server vendors but it’s not viable to exhaustively test all possible combinations in the test programmes. International interoperability testing efforts organised by bodies such as the International Multimedia Teleconferencing Consortium (IMTC) do go a long way to alleviate this issue, and having multi-national customers is an advantage for a vendor to resolve any problems that do occur.

Considering the handset compatibility issues, a streaming solution ideally offers on-the-fly settings to adapt its behaviour to a specific handset model (or version). For example some handsets do not properly implement a specific feature or the operator may find minor bugs when it’s already live on the network. In this situation, a workaround is required and in this case a streaming server that can alter its behaviour based on the handset type can solve many performance, quality and compatibility issues.

4. Handset Feature-Set
Customers are coming to expect a user experience on mobile comparable to that of other mediums (such an iPod-like music experience and the ability to change channels like a TV when watching videos). The majority of media players on a mobile offer quite a limited feature-set compared with most PC players, and it’s not possible to download a new feature and upgrade the player to handle new formats and features. As a result the overall experience is heavily dependent on the player implementation.

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