Benefits of CMAF for CDNs
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Peter Chave: What's promising about CMAF is we started that journey maybe four or five years ago when Microsoft and Apple announced that they were going to collaborate on something, which was kind of like,people were checking Leviticus at this point, something about lions and lambs and stuff. I've looked across the device ecosystem to see how close are we to when we can have one format. Because obviously, as a CDN, having one format means there's only one object in cache, which means we can store more objects, which means they deliver more efficiently. And there's lots of good things for us, lots of good things for publishers too--a lot less storage, much more efficient, better start times. There's lots of goodness. So we should aim for that, no matter how many people come along and try to put a variant in our way.
So, CMAF--in my opinion, we're there. I think it's like this last event, it is like 97% of devices people care about. So these are not some old Android tablets stuck in a drawer somewhere that doesn't support anything anymore. CMAF is pretty much there apart from really old iPads, which people seem to hold on to for a long time. So about 20% of active users out there still have an old iPad that cannot support fragmented MPEG-4 in an HLS manifest. So CMAF's almost there; there really isn't a lot left. All browsers, all mobiles. They're all fine unless you've got a really old iPad. There's a few older Apple TVs, which if they were given away as part of a promo. We had one OTT provider that gave them away. So they've got a whole huge seed of older Apple TVs, which they can't then address.
But if you look at the big guys who launched this year--Disney+ just the end of last year, and they went to Europe' HBO Max, just as of yesterday, and Peacock--all of them went CMAF-only, across the board. They said, "Now's the time; new platform, let's go to CMAF."
The thing they couldn't get away from was DRM. You have to wrap it three different ways, but fundamentally you have to encrypt it two different ways--initialization vector for the cipher. So what we've seen is the big guys are launching with CMAF only, but they're also launching both Kantar and CBS variants with a plan that when that number of... We're probably at 87% advices you care about, that's probably 30% of people, but they really still care about those subscriptions. Once you get past the point where they think it's critical mass, they can just simply delete that legacy. So, make the move to a new format because the bulk of your audience will have all those benefits. It will be cash-efficient. You'll get better start times in the legacy devices, which are older anyway. They may have a slightly not as optimal experience, but you're still serving them something that works.
Neil Glazebrook: We're really excited about CMAF, especially the low-latency elements, chunk transfer encoding. It's interesting that it's sort of a tale of two companies at the moment, really companies that have been focusing exclusively on live events, have a time to think about advancing their technology from a low-latency perspective. So, certainly, customers looking at DASH low-latency, CMAF low-latency, other companies that have got a mix of live and linear and VOD content have just been too busy to worry about anything else. They're just keeping all hands to the pump. But we've done some early customer proof of concept. We're really excited about what the future might hold from a chunk transfer encoding perspective and we're ready to embrace that at whatever pace it happens.
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