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Video: How Do You Achieve Consistent Quality for Live Streaming?

How can CDNs ensure consistent quality in the real-time, high-pressure environment of live-streamed video delivery? In this excerpt from his presentation at Content Delivery Summit 2016, Jeremy Bennington of V-Factor Technologies explains how to use QA solutions to recognize redundancies and prune out redundant encoding profiles in real time to streamline delivery and achieve consistent high quality without requiring additional bandwidth or increasing cost.

Watch How Do You Achieve Consistent Quality for VOD?

Watch Jeremy Bennington's full Content Delivery Summit 2016 presentation, How to Assure High-Quality Video While Reducing Bandwidth.

Read the transcript of Bennington's remarks in the clip above:

Jeremy Bennington: How do we achieve consistent quality for live video? You have a closed-loop encoding process where you measure the quality, you go back, and you refine the encoding. You can do that with VOD because you have time. You have a couple hours, maybe a day to get a piece of VOD content out onto your delivery platforms.

Live streaming is different. With live streams, you have seconds if not minutes of delay that you're willing to allow in your network, and so you need to be able to monitor things in real time and adjust as it were. If we were streaming out this video as an example, I've got  a 4.5 quality score from the piece of content coming into my network, and then I encoded it to a bunch of bit rates. I achieved a 4.3 at 4 Mbps and a 4.3 at 3 Mbps. Why would I transmit both? Today, we do. Today, we actually would with no quality controls and no way to actually look at these pictures. We would take those and go ahead and put those in our manifest files, stream them out there, and every little client can get as much bandwidth as possible is going to grab those and waste the bandwidth and the CDN and the access network, even though they could have perceptually had the same experience.

What do we do? We prune it out. This is not at the client side. This is way back when you're doing your encoding and you're populating your manifest files and you're doing your segmentation and population of the CDN, you say, "Wait a minute. I've got two profiles here that have the same user experience, so I'm not going to transmit one of them."

How has this actually happened in practice? Take like a normal broadcaster. They're streaming out content, and they're encoding it to different bit rates, and during the daytime, the content can be fairly benign. It's soap operas and cartoons and things like that.

The encoders don't necessarily yield any greater benefit by doing 4 Mbps instead of 3 Mbps in this example, so they prune it out. Then in the evening they've got the NCAA basketball game, and all of a sudden they need every bit they can get to transmit. What happens here is that as our tools watching these streams after they're encoded, before they're populated on the CDN, we work with the CDN workflow to say, "Hey, stream this and prune this out. Stream this, don't prune this out."

You have, again, a way to optimize on a pixel level. The quality you're providing to a customer and reducing your bandwidth and CDN requirements. We typically see in this environment a kind of 5-20% savings in overall CDN usage while still achieving the same user experience.

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