Industry Blog

Selective treatment for HD video – taking content and device capabilities into account

Not that long ago, mobile phones were mainly associated with making calls and sending text messages. Now most of us carry small and powerful mini computers in our pockets (that can also make the occasional phone call when needed). As screen size increases, and resolution improves, watching video through mobile devices on the go has grown rapidly in popularity. HD video is increasingly available to view on mobiles, and operators are facing the mounting pressure of managing the burden on their networks.

LTE has proved not to be the savior in this situation. Instead it has spurred subscribers’ insatiable desires for bandwidth-greedy HD video content. Faster data might mean faster content, but also drives higher demand.

Generation YouTube

Mobile users have come to expect reliable video and mobile access on their devices where ever they are 24/7. And social networking trends have meant that it’s not easy to escape from video. Facebook now automatically plays video clips posted on your timeline, and apps like Instagram and SnapChat all have video functionality.

Once you notice the sheer volume of video content around us, it’s really no surprise today that over 50 percent of mobile data traffic is made up of video. Like it or not, it’s expected to reach 84% by 2018. We’ve become a generation of YouTube and Vine “snackers” – expecting crystal clear, buffer-free, playback on our mobiles and tablets –just like the seamless transmissions we expect from our home televisions.

But it’s mobile operators that have to manage this mobile video explosion. And with the main driving force behind 4K Ultra HD purported to be mobile, it won’t be long until carriers have to contend with devices capable of supporting resolutions that are 4 times of what they do currently. Which is why, when it comes to mobile video data, operators need to get selective.

The multiple technique approach

Mobile video optimization can solve a lot of mobile operator headaches, and it no longer has to be the “one size fits all” solution that it once was. Intelligent optimization uses a range of network and device factors in order to tailor video optimization to each user in real-time.

Put simply, video optimization needs to be intelligent. It needs to be content aware and it needs to be format aware – to take into account if the video is HD. If so, it requires more optimization in order to maintain the end users quality of experience (QoE) expectation and faster playback. It also needs to be device-aware, as screen size and resolution can vary greatly from one device to another – this ensures that each subscriber has optimal play-back quality. Finally, it needs to be network-aware, capable of selectively optimizing the network in areas of congestion.

By using multiple optimization techniques such as translating and transcoding and recoding the video in real-time, not just simply through compression – the best possible user QoE can be provided to subscribers. Through these context-aware capabilities, operators can achieve a reduction in core network traffic and simultaneously improve user experience.

But it’s not just greater network speeds and improved QoE that video optimization can deliver. Mobile operators can also achieve cost savings by deploying intelligent, context-aware video optimization solutions. By doing so, operators achieve the most efficient use of RAN and network resources in order to reduce CAPEX and OPEX and the lowest TCO possible.

The rise of HD

Clearly mobile video is here to stay. Consumption and subscriber demand for it is only going to increase. Some operators tend to shy away from video optimization as a solution as it is wrongly assumed that it degrades the quality of video. When mobile video optimization was first utilized by operators, they adopted a one size fits all blanket approach to achieve cost savings at any cost. This resulted in degradation of the quality of the video they delivered. However, through utilizing a more sophisticated and contextually selective approach to mobile and HD video, QoE can be vastly improved. With this in mind, it’s now time for operators to take steps towards addressing the HD video tsunami that is heading their way.

This blog was published by Rapid TV Times on Sept 19. Click Here!