Why is Adaptive Bitrate Indispensable for Video Streaming?

By Media Entertainment Tech Outlook | Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Why is Adaptive Bitrate Indispensable for Video Streaming?

Adaptive streaming presents the best opportunity for media companies looking to overcome network, device, and software limitations in delivering high-quality video content online.

FREMONT, CA: A report by Go Globe says that video streaming is going to constitute 82 percent of the total internet traffic by 2020. The popularity of online video streaming is quite evident from these numbers. To deliver high-quality video content to consumers, media companies are looking for advanced technologies. Adaptive streaming is one such technology that is proving impactful for online video streaming. With adaptive streaming, media and entertainment companies are being able to unlock the potential of video streaming to ensure customer satisfaction. Formerly, streaming services made use of Real-Time Transport Protocols (RTTP), but today, several factors have led to the growing popularity of Hypertext Transfer Protocols (HTTP), which media companies are leveraging with adaptive bitrate-based streaming technology.

Adaptive streaming technology works on the principle of creating multiple streams with different bitrates using a transcoder. When the streams are available in various bitrates, streaming higher resolutions becomes easier. On the other hand, streaming with one bitrate creates a host of problems that leads to buffering and unsatisfactory services. Modern viewers using video streaming platforms expect a smooth video streaming experience with no buffering. However, the inconsistencies in network architecture and the variety of devices in use make it difficult to deliver seamless streaming with single bitrates. Adaptive streaming allows the use of multiple bitrates, enabling better streaming quality.

There are several reasons that are contributing to the increasing adoption of adaptive bitrate streaming. One of the leading reasons why many media companies have turned to adaptive streaming is the variation of internet speeds across the globe. Today's streaming services cater to a global audience, and one cannot expect internet speeds to be even across different geographical reasons. When internet speeds vary, it impacts the delivery of high-resolution video content, and viewers experience buffering. When multiple bitrates are available, media servers can send the highest possible quality according to the connection speed, optimizing the viewing experience.

The variety of devices used to watch videos are growing. While some people use desktops and laptops, other people use tablets and smartphones. The screen sizes in all these devices vary greatly. With adaptive bitrate streaming, streaming companies can dynamically adjust video quality according to viewers' devices, ensuring zero disruptions. No matter where viewers are when they access high-definition videos or what device they are using, media and entertainment companies can guarantee the best rendition of video content.    

Today, adaptive bitrate streaming is empowering smooth content delivery by automated switching between different bitrates according to network capabilities and screen size at the user-end. The sophisticated technology is helping eliminate the term ‘buffering' from the context of streaming. Live streaming is also on the rise, and adaptive bitrate streaming technology is expected to be the enabler for this as well. To stay competitive and enjoy customer loyalty, it is imperative that media companies leverage this technique at the earliest.