Cost-Effective Content Streaming: Maintaining Delivery Quality While Managing Expenses

As consumers, we are addicted to video.
Publish date:

As consumers, we are addicted to video. Digital analyst Mary Meeker at VC firm Kleiner Perkins predicts in her 2017 Internet Trends presentation that video will make up 74 percent of all online traffic this year.

While we know that there is an addressable and willing audience for video consumption, the economics of video creation and delivery, as well as the traditional approaches to those processes, require a second look to help keep costs manageable for organizations that offer video.

Image placeholder title

Two approaches to adaptive bit rate encoding

The streaming format wars ended a few years back in favor of today's adaptive bit rate (ABR) technology. This approach enables communication between the delivery network and the consumption device—a smartphone, for example—to shift between rungs on the ladder of bit rate renditions when connectivity improves or degrades. Though this approach has been successful in reaching screens of all shapes and sizes with streaming technology that adapts to maintain a quality experience, it comes with the expense of a "one size fits all" approach. Taking the same approach for all content types isn't optimal, however, and it wastes storage and bandwidth.

Meet the New Mousetrap
Rather than using one ABR ladder for all content, new technology such as Brightcove's Context Aware Encoding analyzes each source video and intelligently builds a custom bit rate ladder for each piece of content. Then, going a step further, the technology takes into account the constraints sometimes associated with the delivery network and device being used to view the content—the improvement and degradation in network conditions. The system then decides how many renditions are needed and what resolutions and bit rates to use for each, while still maintaining a consistent level of quality across all titles. This results in massive savings on storage and bandwidth costs, while improving the playback experience for users.

Savings in Your Pocket, But Not in the Playback
Let's look at an example and the numbers themselves to see how this technology does its work. On the left of the image, we see that, using a traditional ABR approach, encoding video to all eight renditions of a static ABR ladder generates a total of 14,750 Kb/s of data. For a one-minute video, that's 885 MB. The ladder on the right generates only 4,950 Kb/s. For the same one-minute video, that's only 297 MB, which represents a savings of 66 percent in storage costs. Since the bandwidth used depends on the number of viewers and the duration of video viewed, bandwidth savings can be even higher than those for storage. Overall, a publisher can anticipate as much as a 50 percent savings on storage and bandwidth costs. By adjusting the bit rates of the renditions to the lowest rate necessary to maintain visual quality, viewers will generally consume less bandwidth during each viewing session, providing additional savings on bandwidth costs.

This advance means that publishers and media brands can expect to deliver visually compelling video but save significantly on their storage and delivery costs. Getting "more for less" doesn't seem to be standard practice anymore, but we are working hard at Brightcove to make creating and delivering great video experiences more cost-effective as video takes center stage in our daily lives.

Matt Smith is vice president and principal media evangelist for Brightcove's media business unit.

Brightcove on Twitter: Follow @Brightcove


More than 55 of the 2018 Fall Television and Streaming Series Rely on Blackmagic Design

More than 55 of the 2018 Fall Television and Streaming Series Rely on Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic Design today announced that the company’s production and post products were used to complete many of the fall 2018 season’s new and returning television shows and streaming series. More than 55 shows rely on Blackmagic Design’s digital film cameras; Fusion visual effects (VFX), compositing, 3D and motion graphics software; and DaVinci Resolve editing, color correction, VFX and digital audio software; as well as its switchers, routers, monitors and capture and playback devices.


Jingle All the Way: Luxul's XMS-1208P Managed Gigabit Switch is Available for All CI Integrators this Holiday Season

Luxul, the leading innovator of IP networking solutions for AV integrators, today announced that it's giving CI integrators the gift of enterprise-level performance at affordable price points this holiday season. It doesn't matter if they've been naughty or nice, the company's XMS-1208P 12-port/18 PoE+ managed Gigabit switch — that delivers high-speed performance while enabling simple network expansion — is now available for all. And to ring in the new year, Luxul will begin shipping its AMS-1816P 18-port/16 PoE+ L2/L3 managed Gigabit switch in early January.


HoverCam Transforms Classrooms Fit for Future-Ready Students at Val Verde USD

HoverCam, an innovative technology leader in the digital education market, announced that Val Verde Unified School District (USD) in Parris, California, successfully installed HoverCam's Pilot digital teaching stations and CenterStage interactive flat panels (IFPs) in new STEM labs in the elementary schools, with plans for an eventual rollout to the district's middle and high schools. As part of the district's goal to create future-ready students, Val Verde USD chose HoverCam digital education solutions to address the rising challenge of updating classrooms and introducing curriculum with advanced systems that will prepare students for a rapidly changing career landscape.


The Sigma Holiday Sale Is Back!

Nothing makes gift giving as enjoyable as special prices on award-winning Sigma lenses and accessories; get the lens you’ve always craved or surprise a fellow shooter with the perfect present.


Global News Agency Ruptly Relies on Riedel's MediorNet and Artist on Board New OB and DSNG Vehicles

Riedel's MediorNet real-time media network and Artist digital matrix intercom are providing the decentralized and redundant signal routing and communications backbone on board two all-new, state-of-the-art OB vehicles for Ruptly, a Berlin-based international news agency. Qvest Media, a world-leading system architect and integrator for the broadcast and media industries, designed and built the new broadcast van and DSNG vehicle.