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How Disney Streaming Delivers Consistent Media Experiences

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Learn more about CMAF, DASH, and HLS at Streaming Media West 2021.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Zachary Cava: Media experience is something that is coming through via the manifest play formats. That's where DASH and HLS interoperability actually becomes a very significant, topic. The manifest playlists are the things that define the media experience. And so you need to be able to represent those CMAF assets equally in any form that you're using. It's possible to go with a single-format deployment, and there are a lot of optimizations, and a desire to get to a single format for the manifest as well. But until we get there, being able to ensure that we have all the same media experiences across the board in both formats is a very big one.

We have worked a long time within the Hulu product to try and define interoperability between DASH and HLS. And there was actually a group that started up under CTA WAVE to help define this. And there's two points to DASH-HLS interoperability. The first is the constraints that manifest formats have on the CMAF files themselves, the inherent nature of how DASH and HLS were specified and came about first, actually further constrains the CMAF structure--not terribly so, but it takes away a couple of optional points. And a lot of those things were not well-known. If you have been doing it for a long time or your company has a history in deploying video, you understood how to deal with this and had it kind of well-tuned. But anyone coming new to the property was trying to figure it out. We wanted to make sure that we could capture this as part of the CTA WAVE group.

The other thing is cross-conversion between the two formats. When you're representing an experience in one format, it should be easy to represent it in another. That way you're able to maximize the delivery of that experience across numerous devices.

This is where the CTA 5005 DASH-HLS interoperability specification came from, and it's not focused on just constraints. It's focused on powering real-life use cases. So things like basic on-demand streaming and basic live streaming--those seem very simple, but there's actually very fundamental constraints that you need to place on the media in order to bring the content to both. But of course that's not the only thing people do.

We want to achieve new things like low-latency live streaming, encrypted media presentations, and then bring in things like presentation splicing, and to have bumpers and ads. These are all very key 

enablement cases that we wanted to ensure were captured and well-defined. And so we built a specification around this in the WAVE group.

I'm excited to say that it was actually published this morning and it's available at cta.tech/standards. it's completely free. You do have to go through a little storefront, but it is completely free. So I really invite everyone to check it out and learn a bit more about what you need to do to bring the same assets into both manifest forms.

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