Broadcast IP Transformation Report: SRT is Widely Deployed
When we surveyed over 500 broadcasters and video streaming professionals on the state and future of the broadcast industry for this year’s Broadcast IP Transformation Report, we knew the global pandemic would significantly impact the results.
The on-site limitations of producing live events have drastically changed the way that broadcasters work as they quickly adapted to facilitate staff working from home, leading to the rise of remote collaboration and decentralized workflows. This sped up transition to IP for broadcasters and has resulted in an increased reliance on new technologies and methods for producing live video content.
As our Broadcast and IP Transformation Report 2021 shows, one of the technologies that broadcasters leveraged during this shift to remote production and collaboration workflows was SRT, the open source video transport protocol. But how much did SRT usage grow and what other factors contributed to its rise? Keep reading to find out.
SRT Usage Continues to Grow
In this year’s report, 53% of broadcasters said they trust SRT to transport their content, up from 47% last year. This jump in users shows that broadcasters believe it can ensure secure and reliable transport streaming with low latency over unpredictable networks like the public internet. Due to the pandemic, live video contribution (66%) and remote production or REMI (39%), were the two main types of workflows deployed by those surveyed. Additionally, 43% of respondents said that unreliable networks are one of the biggest challenges they face, an issue that SRT was developed to help solve. As more workers were unable to be on site for live broadcasts, the industry’s agility to shift to these types of workflows was enabled by flexible and reliable technology like SRT.
Most of those surveyed still employ RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol) to stream content to CDNs for delivery. However, the issue with RTMP is that it doesn’t support HEVC encoded streams, which over half of respondents use for live video, especially for 4K content, leading broadcasters to adopt other protocols like SRT.
While some video transport protocols benefited from the broadcast industry’s move to IP, both HLS and MPEG-DASH saw slight decreases. However, while HLS dropped by 11% and MPEG-Dash dropped by 2% from last year, both remain the de-facto protocols when it comes to OTT delivery. As consumer protocols, they are not as heavily relied on in production workflows as SRT and are best suited for ABR streaming.
Broadcasters Trust SRT and the Internet to Deliver Their Content
The internet continues to be the dominant way that broadcasters and video streaming professionals transport live video with 82% of respondents saying this is their preferred method. This increase goes hand-in-hand with SRT’s growth, as the industry looks for ways to transport live video from one production location to another over the public internet securely and reliably, with the lowest latency. Fiber and satellite remain the second and third choices respectively, but both are showing signs of slowing down with decreases of 5% from last year. While a third of respondents are using bonded cellular and it was heavily relied on during 2020 election coverage, there was a slight decrease possibly due to the arrival of 5G mobile broadband networks.
With the need to move to IP workflows, more broadcasters are trusting the combination of SRT and the public internet to connect production sites over the internet. Even as the pandemic winds down, 76% of those surveyed believe that the move to IP is here to stay. This means that a secure and reliable way to share live video streams bi-directionally over the public internet will become increasingly important and these numbers show that more broadcasters are trusting SRT to transport their content.