Video Streaming Outlook 2019: Post-NAB Show Check In
Back in January, we sat down with our top video streaming experts to hear their predictions for video streaming technology in 2019. We recently came back to the same experts to see if the first three months have shaped their views in any way, whether as to confirm their predictions or to point them in a different direction. We started by speaking with our three video experts in the broadcast streaming industry – Mark Horchler, Peter Maag, and Marc Cymontkowski.
This conversation came right on the heels of NAB Show 2019, the premiere conference for broadcasters and broadcast technology. NAB Show, with its many exhibitors and attendees, often serves as a gauge of where the industry is heading, and what trends we can expect for the rest of the year. And at NAB Show 2019, our video streaming experts observed some very exciting developments.
Mark Horchler: More, More, More
Though viewers may be threatening cable operators with cord cutting, they don’t seem to be cutting back on the amount of videos they watch. Quite the opposite. Cable operators are quickly adapting to changing viewer habits and demands while a plethora of OTT services are increasing the need for more bandwidth just as traditional cable operators morph into providers of high speed fiber to the home.
The new streaming services from Apple and Disney are surely going to shake things up over the next few months and give consumers more choice than ever before. We should also see a number of new and enhanced OTT services and innovative live streaming apps dedicated to live sports of all kinds so that viewers can watch their favorite team and their favorite sport from anywhere.
4K UHD is finally catching up with 4K TV sales. Over 150 UHD channels have now gone live. With the initial focus on premium content, I expect that 4K UHD will go further mainstream and include second tier sports and other special interest content. Further enhancements to the 4K experience will include HDR and faster frame rates as OLED screens and HFR TVs make their way into our living rooms.
By now it’s clear that 4K is not going away. Broadcast engineers, whether they like it or not, need to think about how to deliver 4K UHD services over lower cost IP networks, the internet, and over their existing HD video workflows.
One thing I learned at NAB Show 2019 – all major broadcasters are working towards all-IP workflows. Within production studios this means of course SMPTE-2110 as a replacement for SDI. Outside of studios, broadcasters are also looking to more efficient ways of streaming contribution video over IP especially for REMI workflows. Over 65 NAB Show exhibitors were offering SRT, which we open sourced two NAB Shows ago, as a great way to securely stream live content over the internet and in the cloud. Whether for uncompressed production or HEVC encoded contribution streams, IP networking technology is playing an increasingly vital role in television broadcasting.
Peter Maag: The Cloud is Ready
Op-Ex and Cap-Ex
More than ever, solution vendors are proposing cloud-based workflows and broadcasters are looking towards flexible production and delivery models. These are designed to specifically increase time-to-live production at reduced costs. At NAB this was evident in the demonstration by all major vendors, specifically the workflows I witnessed at Telestream, Avid, RedBee, and many others. The solutions are comprehensive of all broadcast requirements – the cloud is ready. The tipping point is the adoption of the “newsroom in the cloud,” which is happening now.
NAB Show 2019 Highlights and Surprise
It’s hard not to say SRT with over 65 SRT Alliance companies on the show floor, with 45 of them having booth locations in the highly influential South Upper hall. The biggest broadcasters and system suppliers came forward with their endorsement of SRT as demonstrated within the 3 panel sessions co-hosted by Microsoft and Haivision. After 2 years of being open source, SRT is truly now a broadly accepted industry de-facto standard.
The NAB Show surprise was the amount of creative applications and solutions that have been released supporting SRT, from RedBee’s 3 second end-to-end workflow with SRT on the contribution to CMAF (Common Media Application Format) on the delivery to the Cinegy Multiviewer pay-as-you-go service for stream monitoring. Finally, the BIG SURPRISE was the excitement about our new development on Azure – Haivision’s SRTHub. The lineups to see this new cloud-native tool were extensive – broadcasters understanding that SRTHub actually makes a cloud a true cloud, not a network of independent data centers around the world.
Marc Cymontkowski: Decentralization and Cooperation
The Evolution of Blockchain and Privacy
The evolution of blockchain and privacy is a long term play – it will change the internet and even the world as we know it now. Hopefully, it will dramatically reduce, if not eliminate, fake news and data leaks. But even if blockchain brings back our privacy, it won’t be for free. Many governments have concerns about technology that allows for 100 percent private communications – usually justified by security concerns or fears that such tools will become hubs for criminal activity.
The foundation is built for blockchain to become dominant, but not many people truly realize it, nor do they understand its impact. This development process will continue slowly, until there is a tipping point, creating widespread adoption. This tipping point is quite far off, as there are very few useful “web3” applications (decentralized apps/DApps) available as of now. In terms of adoption, we are probably where the current internet was in 1990 or so. However, there is a fascinating amount of talent being pulled into the development and promotion of blockchain – it is hard to determine a fixed timeline.
In very specific use cases with limited exposure (e.g. within industry consortiums) things are further ahead, like with enterprise blockchain. The reason for this, is that it doesn’t need to be 100 percent decentralized if only a limited set of participants are utilizing a shared blockchain and agreed on the conditions. Imagine a supply chain tracking system for clothing, where every step of the process is registered on the blockchain. In this case they are just using the blockchain as a decentralized and secure database.
NAB Show 2019 Highlights and Lessons
One observation I had at NAB Show 2019 was seeing that real-time video and post-production video are both moving to the cloud. (Luckily, that’s an area we want to help with SRTHub.)
Another interesting development I noticed at NAB Show was that SVDOE (Software Defined Video Over Ethernet) is beginning to pick up momentum. SVDOE will certainly be something to keep an eye on in the coming months.
If our video streaming experts can agree on one thing, it’s that things are looking up – and for many broadcasters, it’s looking up to the cloud. Security and privacy remain high priorities, but as we said back in January, the technology world remains very driven by human demands. Consumers want reliability and they want quality.
What do you think? Do you agree with our experts?
We will continue to follow up on our predictions over the course of the year, and don’t worry – we’ll be sharing updates for the enterprise and technologies world very shortly. Subscribe to our blog today to be the first to learn about new developments!