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Haivision, Wowza, Mirror Image, Cisco Offer Multi-Screen Advice

Streaming video to smartphones and set-top boxes is an essential nowadays, but doing so successfully has many companies in the dark. To help them out and offer best practices, representatives from Haivision, Wowza, Mirror Image Internet, and Cicso Systems took part in a webinar yesterday hosted on StreamingMedia.com.

The hour-long webinar kicked off with Peter Forman, vice president of business development for Haivision, who focused on the challenge of streaming live video. While live video doesn't have the same codec concerns as video-on-demand, network challenges are bigger.

For encoding or transcoding live streams, Forman recommended making sure that horizontal and vertical resolutions are divisible by 16, and recommended against creating custom renditions for every screen. He suggested that companies use live cloud transcoding where they need it and listed reasons to do so: lower uplink bandwidth requirements, lower capital costs, and ease of operation.

From the server perspective, the biggest challenge is streaming for different screen sizes, said Chris Knowlton, vice president of product management at Wowza. Knowlton showed a graphic illustrating a common workflow for streaming to multiple formats, one that uses multiple servers. He then showed a simplified workflow where the camera connected directly to a Wowza server, which handles all needed formats. DRM is available as an add-on, he said., and users can add a management and billing layer on top of the system.

Brain Weeks, the video stream sales engineer for Mirror Image Internet, offered reasons why companies should use a CDN (content delivery network), such as reducing infrastructure and operating costs, and avoiding internet congestion.

The modern approach to video delivery is to move complexities off the origin server and over to the CDN, Weeks said. He showed how Mirror Image can perform device detections to ensure the correct video is served, and how it prevents link-sharing with a token validation system.

Getting into the business side of multiscreen delivery, Mike Barros, global director of ABR sales, marketing, and channel partners for Cisco Systems, said that even though many companies are doing multiscreen initiatives, few are making money at it.

Reach, engagement, and agility at the keys to a successful deployment, said Barros. Reach means the number of viewers or subscribers, engagement means the time spent watching, and operational agility refers to the new world of partnerships. Barros highlighted this year's Super Bowl, which was streamed for the first time. He called the online experience better than the television experience, although some would disagree.

Finishing up, Barrow offered best practices such as increasing content stickiness and experimenting now for future growth. A sustainable business model will emerge, he said.

During the question and answer session, webinar attendees asked about live streaming over low bandwidth and streaming to a small location, such as a stadium.

For more, view the entire webinar online. It will be archived for the next 90 days.

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