18th June 2017 / Jeff Webb / Comments Off on Next Generation TV Forum – Does network control make a difference for delivering a great TV over IP experience?
I was invited to speak on two panels at the Next Generation TV Forum conference in London on the 14th June with the second one on the topic of “Does network control make a difference for delivering a great TV over IP experience?”. This was a very technical panel and one of the interesting points that came up was the idea of extending network control to within the home. The reasoning for this is that in typical UK households with our colder winters, WiFi range especially at the 2.4Ghz band can be limited by the building. With the Sky Q box and mesh networking, your Q box becomes a wireless hotspot, thus extending the WiFi range and improving the customer experience for in home entertainment.
• What do consumers consider is a ‘good’ TV/video experience?
• Do you need to own a network to keep control over content delivery
• How to scale for large but volatile TV audience
• Nigel Walley, Managing Director, Decipher My fellow panelists were;
• Anthony Berkeley, Business Development VP, Nokia
• Ben Schwarz, Founder & Owner, CTOiC
• Matt Stagg, Head of Mobile Video & Content, EE
I was invited to speak on two panels at the Next Generation TV Forum conference in London on the 14th June with the first one on the topic of “Next generation cloud technology in processing and delivery”. I really enjoyed the panel and one interesting point was the alignment of software engineering technologies such as the agile methodology with traditional engineering best practices. We also discuss whether CDNs are cloud based services (they are) and how using a combination of different approaches, you can reduce the time to build new channels from months to hours.
• The benefits of large-scale video processing in the cloud
• Virtualization vs. Cloud: Which one is right for “your” organization?
• Where can the cloud have the greatest impact on your workflow?
• Ian Trow, Senior Director Emerging Technology & Strategy, Harmonic
My fellow panelists were;
• Ed Silvester, Head of Video R&D, Perform Group
• Dom Robinson, Co-Founder and Director, Id3as
You talked a little about your CDN options at TV Connect. Can we revisit that, What has been your approach to caching? (See article here)
Are there any new technologies or solutions in particular that you are looking at in the next year or so?
As mentioned in a previous post, having a Multi CDN strategy is essential when operating at scale as not all CDNs are created equally and you need to understand the clients behaviour, making changes dynamically based on conditions.
One of my observations over the past 12 months is that the H264 video codec, has effectively run out of road and we’ll need next generation video compression to keep up with demand, delivering higher quality video with less bits.
How do you see the balance between the two services shifting?
How do you see the video/pay-TV space evolving in the future — let’s say the next five years?
One of the key challenges with OTT services, is closing the gap with Satellite and Aditya says it best;
“Sky customers accustomed to digital satellite quality are unwilling to endure low-quality streaming experiences on the Internet; they expect a high-quality experience regardless of device or access network. And it’s Webb’s responsibility to create the best experience possible for streaming customers, despite the vagaries of Internet connections. As such, his goal is to “close the gap” between the video experience a customer has on a private, controlled network like satellite, on one hand; and the open and unpredictable Internet, on the other.”
In the second part (available in 1-2 weeks), we discuss CDNs, video compression and DRM.
30th May 2017 / Jeff Webb / Comments Off on Sky Technology Conference 2017 – Why we should all care about video quality?
As a broadcaster operating in both satellite and OTT spaces, we have exceptionally talented developers who create amazing software that millions of customers use every day (Now TV, Sky Q, Sky Go, SkySports). Whilst the OTT software stack is critical to success, we are reminded that we effectively give it away for free, so that customers can be enjoy the industry’s best sports, movies, entertainment and news content on their devices.
I was invited to speak at the Sky Technology Developer conference on the topic of “Why we should all care about Video Quality?”. The main focus of my talk was to demonstrate that you need to have an end to end view of the whole ecosystem in place to achieve the quality of experience that our customers expect.
At Sky, we use Conviva to record millions of streaming sessions every day across our OTT clients. This highly valuable data is used to measure the viewing experience and make automatic changes, such as swapping CDN A with CDN B when conditions dictate.
With any OTT streaming service, the ultimate measure of success is to have the technology get out of the way of the customer experience. If we can achieve this, then our business will continue to grow market share and prosper.. Conviva is helping us with this goal and good software integration is critical to ensuring all devices get a consistent experience with four key performance metrics as a minimum;
Video start failure.
Exit before video start.
Below, I present what I believe to be the formula for running a successful streaming service;
Amazing Content + Super Developers + Great Network + Customer Service = Quality.
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy the talk.
If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section below.