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It’s Time to Stop Accepting Problems With Streaming Video

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While cord-cutting is on the rise, traditional broadcast still has some advantages over streaming. First and foremost: it ... works.

When you turn on traditional television and flip to a channel, you nearly always get high-bitrate video without rebuffering. In contrast, if you fire up an OTT or mobile app, problems are common. Rebuffering, poor picture quality, and errors are just a part of normal operating behavior.

Putting some numbers to it, the average video stream tracked by Mux Data (mux.com/data) has rebuffering every 67 seconds or so, and on average, about 5.5% of streams fail. Try going to market as a software vendor with a 94.5% SLA and see what happens.

The good news: it doesn’t have to be this bad. Platforms that invest in optimization improve these numbers significantly. It’s not uncommon for Mux customers to reduce failures from 6% to 1% based on insights from QoE data, or to cut rebuffering in half.

The best streaming platforms, like Netflix, deliver near-broadcast experiences. This sets the bar for everyone else. Viewers have more options than ever, and if they run into problems on one app or platform, they’ll go to the next one.

If you’re responsible for a streaming video platform, the wrong approach is to ignore or accept problems. The right approach is either: take quality seriously, and invest in optimization; or realize that you don’t have the time or expertise, and find a platform that handles both infrastructure and optimization together [like Mux Video (mux.com/video)].

I heard a story a few years ago from a company that built a product that measurably improved user experience while watching video. But the company was having trouble selling the product. They would get a major broadcaster excited, but then things would stall out. One time, a broadcaster told them this: “We have a hard enough time just taking thumbnails from our video; how can we focus on optimization?”

Let’s grow up and start focusing on optimization.


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