Video Streaming Technology in 2019: Our Experts Share Their Predictions
What can we expect from video streaming technology in 2019? There has been a lot of speculation over the evolution of technology for the coming year. On the consumer side, there is the much-touted arrival of 5G, foldable phones, and the ever-growing demand for live content. In the enterprise domain, companies are focusing more than ever on security, cloud computing, and connecting in a global market.
We know that video streaming, and video streaming technologies, will have a big role to play in 2019. For more specific ideas on what we can expect from 2019, we have enlisted 5 experts to give us their predictions for video streaming technology in 2019.
Bruce “Zip” Zieper: The Barriers are Down and the Door Open for Enterprise Streaming
I believe one of the biggest trends we will be seeing in video streaming technology in 2019 for businesses will be a mass experimentation with streaming. More businesses than ever will begin streaming their all-hands, town halls, some-hands, and special events.
This is largely being driven by Microsoft’s decision to include the use of Stream live events in the Microsoft Office 365 license. Simply put, Microsoft has not just lowered, but literally eliminated the barrier for its customers (which includes virtually every enterprise) to use live streaming for employee-focused visual communication.
This is going to be new territory for many companies. Personally, I think it might be a bumpy ride for some. And I do hope that the missteps that are so common with the adoption of a new technology, will be taken as lessons learned, and not taint the use cases.
Of course, there are those who have been waiting for the right opportunity to incorporate streaming into their strategy, and who will rise to the challenge. I am looking forward to learning about (and hopefully helping with) a few spectacular successes.
No matter what, the year is going to hold tons of lessons about scale, security, reliability, quality, use cases, support, and the benefits of media training and on-camera etiquette.
Mark Horchler: Broadcasters will Have Bigger Reach and Better Quality
2019 is going to be an incredible year for television broadcasters and viewers alike. As 5G services begin rolling out and fixed networks add more bandwidth, it will become even easier for broadcasters to deliver more live sports content to fans worldwide. This means that sports fans can expect more live content over all their devices.
Esports will continue to see huge success in 2019 while other types of live events will also adopt the SRT (Secure Reliable Transport) protocol for low-latency video contribution. While the past couple of years we saw the rise of personalized VOD content, 2019 will be the beginning of huge growth for personalized live sports coverage.
If 2018 was all about fake news, 2019 will be the year of real news. Serious news organizations will rush to adopt agile video workflows enabling instant delivery of breaking news content. The ability to stream high quality live and low-latency video, including bi-directional interviews, to any internet connection over SRT with Haivision encoders will enable journalists to keep it live and real.
With over a 100 million 4K TVs already sold and installed, 2019 will be the year that UHD finally makes it home. More and more 4K / UHD content, including live television and OTT, will be created and distributed thanks to highly efficient HEVC encoding and SRT, enabling cost-effective 4K content acquisition and distribution over the internet and cloud-based workflows.
4K is becoming the new HD, which means that HD will become the new SD. In 2019, we will see more and more high-quality HD content, especially for live events, being streamed from anywhere to audiences everywhere.
Finally, on a personal note, 2019 will be the year that I make the switch to a Microsoft Surface. As a member of the SRT Alliance, I can’t wait to see what Microsoft and Haivision have in store for live video streaming.
Peter Maag: Operating Expenses Overtake Capital Expenses
The trends are clear, but during 2019 the switch will be thrown. Broadcasters and enterprises alike will have the majority of their video infrastructure investments move from capital goods to operational services. In IT, the trend has been clear for years. Today’s IT capital budgets represent less than 20% of the overall budget.
Source: Data: Computer Economics / Chart: ZDNet
Video solutions within the enterprise and broadcast markets have not yet had such a dramatic shift due to the rigors of real time video capture and transport. Dedicated encoders, servers, and networks have historically been required to to handle compressing, transporting, and recording real-time HD video because of the sheer amount of data and the “must be real-time” aspect of video. As such, video investments have been capital intensive.
Over the past years, generally available networks and computer platforms have far surpassed the raw speed requirements of video. For example, 10-100 Mbps internet connections are common. Cloud compute architectures have scalable fabrics that enable services to address any demand. And, most importantly, technologies have been established to guarantee real-time performance over “imperfect” resources. Haivision’s SRT is one such technology, guaranteeing live video over any network.
Enterprises and broadcasters, can now really take advantage of scalable video resources that exactly match their requirements. For example, broadcasters can scale their operational costs to viewer consumption, as opposed to making capital investments in heavy infrastructure that would be amortized over the lifetime of the infrastructure.
This shift will really highlight the benefits of Software as a Service as opposed to permanently licensed software solutions. Solution providers know this. They have been investing in developing cloud services instead of on-premise solutions for years. And in 2019, OpEx will win out over CapEx in the broadcast and enterprise for video streaming solutions.
Marc Cymontkowski: Blockchain, Machine Learning, and Privacy
Blockchain’s transformation of the internet landscape will have a serious effect on video streaming technology in 2019. Blockchain enables direct participation in the network for consumers, content creators, and infrastructure providers. Rather than relying on a centrally controlled service provided by a dominant player in the market, anyone can become a broadcaster, run a streaming server, provide a transcoder, store data or just share network bandwidth.
Cryptocurrencies can be used to directly incentivize infrastructure providers or content creators, while consumers only pay for what they are interested in. Thanks to the development of second layer technologies such as Bitcoin’s Lightning network, it is possible to automatically send micro payments on a per minute or even per second base. Streaming money in exchange for streaming video.
Such a network can be trust-less and secure by design, utilizing encryption schemes that have been proven for many years. While centralized services can be censored, controlled, or even shut down by enterprises or governments, decentralized and encrypted peer to peer networks are highly censorship resistant.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) will continue to be a hot topic, as it will impact more and more aspects of our lives, including the video we consume. In reality, the term Machine Learning (ML) is much more suitable, as this technology is designed to process and learn from huge amounts of data. However, there are growing concerns regarding privacy and security. As many times, in the case of Machine Learning, this data is being used without user’s explicit knowledge.
Blockchain technology is an ideal fit here. It not only allows users to stay in control of their own data, but also enables them to share that data for machine learning in a trust-less way. What do I mean by that? Essentially, you are allowing an algorithm to process your private data without the need to pass your data to a third party.
Mahmoud Al-Daccak: Pragmatism over Propeller-Headed Debates
There has been a great deal of debate in the video streaming technology community lately. And frankly, this “war of the codecs” has caused more confusion than progress. Whereas H.264 had the chance to evolve and refine, HEVC was almost lost in the jumble of parallel efforts like AV1, VP9, and VVC.
Without getting into the geeky details, let’s look at the options. AV1 might be appealing to the likes of Netflix, but if you aren’t interested in paying the same electricity bill, then the bandwidth savings aren’t worth the dramatic increase in computing power. If you are dealing with video delivery to end consumers, VP9 might be attractive. If not, don’t torment yourself.
Is your business focused on broadcast contribution and distribution, particularly with live video workflows? You should invest your energy in making HEVC better. Put the nerdy debates aside for a moment – you have customers to serve. HEVC is baked into billions of chipsets from encoders to TVs, STBs, and mobile devices. Let’s work to enhance HEVC to deliver its promised value, (compared to H.264,) and see how VVC advances in 2019.
How can you enhance HEVC if you’re not a codec guru? And what is the value in waiting for VVC? I’ll start with the latter, and I promise to resist mathematician and engineering lecturing.
VVC promises a few evolutionary improvements beyond the brute-force rehashing and complexification of decades-old encoding techniques at the expense of a massive increase in computing power required. Refining block partitioning, introducing affine motion transforms, incorporating decoder-side search, and a few possible other advanced techniques are very promising. It suffices to say that these evolutionary steps will allow for a substantial increase in encoding efficiency with a modest increase in complexity, when compared to HEVC. (Roughly 400% encoding and 120% decoding.)
In the meantime, you can help HEVC (or any other codec) do a better job. Techniques include perceptual filtering and deblocking methods to overcome bit allocation between solid backgrounds and complex foregrounds, and bit allocation to objects-of-interest picture elements. Advancements in machine learning and the lightweight analysis algorithms that leverage machine learning models, open a world of possibilities to identify objects-of-interest and enhance how they are perceived or signaled. Content and network adaptive control, adjusting the encoding parameters to the viewing conditions, also shows a lot of promise to increase the perceptual encoding efficiency and quality of experience (QoE). Finally, applying visual enhancement techniques at the decoder end, derived from encoding parameters and conditions, also shows promise in improving the overall QoE.
So, here you have it! For 2019, let’s take control of our destiny and help shape the future by focusing more on adding value to our customers rather than engaging in ideological wrangling and propellerhead debates. Let’s understand our customers’ use cases and apply the tools we have today to address their needs.
If there is one thing that our video streaming technology experts agree on, it’s that 2019 is going to be an exciting year. Barriers are coming down, which means that more players are entering the video streaming world, bringing with them more new ideas. There will be a lot of lessons to learn, and improvements will be necessary throughout the year. As machine learning improves, the speed of innovation will increase, but at the end of the day, the technology world is still very driven by human demands.
Do you think our video streaming technology experts got it right? Think there were a few things were totally off? Do you want to see if any of these predictions bear fruit in the coming year? We plan on following up on these over the course of the year. Sign up to our blog today to be the first to stay in the loop!