Delivering content and services online has become increasingly important for EBU Members, but they face several challenges to offer a reliable service with a good Quality of Experience (QoE). Fortunately, as delegates heard at this week's BroadThinking conference in Geneva, there is light at the end of the tunnel, with technical solutions reaching maturity on many fronts.
EBU Members can access a summary report on the event, along with slides and videos of each presentation, by signing in on the BroadThinking event page.
For end users, the needs are clear: quick start-up times for online players, quality that's on a par with traditional broadcast, and avoiding interruptions for buffering. For live content, annoying delays related to the high latency of online delivery compared to broadcast also need to be eliminated. Solutions to all of these problems were put forward at BroadThinking, from improved player metrics – you can't improve what you can't measure! – to multipath adaptive streaming, the benefits of a multi-CDN approach and the increasing use of origins and caches.
There were also insights into how networks and workflows are becoming more intelligent, whether through the use of AI and machine learning to optimize video encoding or the new possibilities promised by 5G and IPv6. The ability to program the network to optimize content delivery shows great promise.
Standards are the common key factor across most of these areas. HbbTV is firmly established as an important enabler for EBU Members to have a strong presence on connected TVs – examples discussed at BroadThinking included the platforms in Sweden, Spain and the UK. Dialogue between 3GPP and organizations like DVB and W3C aims to ensure that broadcaster needs will be met as 5G networks start to roll out. For DRM (digital rights management) too, a standardized approach to exchanging content keys is enabled by the emerging CPIX format.