A seismic shift in video technology started in 2015 when chunked, connectionless, HTTP based modern video streaming surpassed legacy streaming protocols built on specialized servers. Video streaming platforms allow people to watch videos, anywhere, anytime at their comfort. The number of video streaming platforms is on the rise, which means the choices are limitless. When you consider how often people view the video via YouTube and binge watch Netflix, it’s even hard to think that some time ago, it was totally impossible to view or transmit videos over the internet.
Overview of modern video streaming
Shortly after the advent of smooth streaming, modern HTTP based streaming was put to test. In August 2008, the summer Olympic games were streamed online in HD quality and delivered through the Internet through a partnership between Microsoft and NBC. Unlike custom video streaming protocols that compete with the stateless and cache-friendly architecture of the Internet, the HTTP stream completely embraces the topology of its underlying network to deliver high-quality videos.
A couple of decades back, the speed and bandwidth we have today were not just available to make video streaming possible. However, today with smart technologies and fast Internet, streaming services have the best technologies to meet the expectations of evolving viewers and to remain competitive in the industry.
In this blog, we will be exploring the competitive video steaming landscape in-depth and understand the technology that powers your favorite video streaming services.
Characteristics that define modern video streaming
What are the characteristics that make a video streaming protocol modern? Here are the important characteristics that make up modern streaming.
Video segments are sent over the web with the help of standard HTTP protocols. Generally, all modern video streaming communication is based on TCP port 443 for encrypted communications, and port 80 for unencrypted HTTP communications.
With modern video streaming, video files are segmented into short multi files that are sent across the network. Based on the protocol, the video segments can range anywhere between 2-10 seconds in length or more.
When a viewer watches a video stream, each request for video fragment is sent separately without having any dependency on previous requests. In short, there is no connection between the origin server and the client during video playback.
Video delivery based on modern streaming protocols is encoded at different quality levels. During video playback, the viewer’s available bandwidth determines the quality level that delivers the smooth playback. Adjustments are dynamically made to reduce buffering while offering the best quality playback.
Passive network architecture
When video frames are in transit, intermediary nodes route the segments to the destination. The intermediary nodes never execute any specialized code or modify the segment. In some cases, it just caches the fragments.
The video streaming process and delivery challenges
The process of video streaming is resource-intensive for both the sender and receiver. To deliver a smooth video streaming experience, a constant data flow is a necessity between both parties. To facilitate this, modern streaming divides videos into several chunks. These video chunks can be encrypted, decrypted, and assembled back to original packets as well. This process gives video streaming more flexibility as many packs are required to form a single video. To aid video delivery further, video chunks are usually preloaded before streaming. This is called buffering and happens in both video streaming and live streaming.
Although the term buffering has a negative association, this technique helps in minimizing video playback interruptions. Instead of the video getting paused every time a video chunk is missed, the player instead, playback from preloaded chunks whenever it attempts to recover the lost or missing chunk. To deliver smooth video streaming experience to users, methods that allow to reduce latency, speed up delivery, and eliminate the impact of buffering, etc. is a major benefit. The most common solution to speed and secure video delivery is content delivery networks. To enhance the customer experience by ensuring high quality and speedy delivery, you can use Netflix clone scripts that feature flexible and scalable functionalities.
The role of content delivery networks in video streaming
A content delivery network or CDN is a network of servers distributed across different locations that work together to facilitate the fast delivery of video streams. The most popular video streaming platforms distribute its media content with CDNs to ensure speed and quality of video delivery are retained. CDNs fasten content delivery by caching the content to different servers and deliver it to the nearest users who request the content. It is primarily used for speeding up content delivery and to enrich the user experience by eliminating lag in video delivery. If you are a brand looking forward to learning how to create a website like Netflix, using a CDN will keep your platform in its best performance.
Benefits of using a CDN
Even though the advantages of using a CDN differ depending on the size and requirements, the primary benefits are as follows.
Improve load times and video playback
By distributing content close to the visitor by using a nearby CDN server, viewers experience faster page loading time and eliminate delays. Fast loading helps in reducing bounce rates and improves the amount of time viewers spend on your platform.
Reducing bandwidth cost
Bandwidth consumption costs for web hosting is a major expense for a video streaming platform. Through optimization and caching, CDNs reduce the amount of data a server must provide thereby reducing hosting costs for platform owners.
CDNs offer security from data loss through a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and other illegal access. CDNs constantly monitor the users of their system to immediately segregate illegitimate ones from legitimate users and eradicate the malware. CDNs help to keep a streaming platform secure with SSL certificates that ensure better standards of authentication, encryption, and security. As CDN has multiple access points several breach attempts will cause a failover.
Video streaming has advanced greatly and demands robust infrastructure for streaming the best quality videos. Brands are investing a lot of effort and money for the smooth delivery of videos to users. To be successful in the video streaming industry, delivering a quality viewing experience to the audience is very important. Viewers hate it when a video takes a long to get play. By using the right technology that suits the quality expectations of your video streaming platform, delivering a great user experience is easier. With the video streaming technology continuing to evolve at a fast pace, the user experience of streaming will also continue to get better in the coming years.