2018 was an eventful year for the video streaming industry as a whole and especially for us here at Bitmovin! We introduced many new cutting-edge features including launching one of the first publicly released commercial AV1 encoders, Per-Title Encoding, Three-Pass Encoding, a brand new modular player and more. We’re proud to be at the forefront of shaping the future of online video delivery. High quality VOD services, immersive live streaming experiences and the ever-growing importance of video on social media make this a particularly exciting time for our industry.
There is no doubt that 2019 will see even more demand for video streaming innovation. Driven by growing trends such as live sports streaming direct-to-fans and studios launching direct-to-consumer online streaming services, video streaming is poised for continued exponential growth. The role technology has to play within this process is to enable content owners to enhance and differentiate the experience for their consumers.
Bitmovin has been an innovative leader in bringing ground-breaking technology to mass-market applications. Our solutions form the backbone for content distribution ecosystems of all sizes and serve as a major driver in elevating content delivery quality to the next level. 2019 is going to be an exciting year in our industry, with a couple of major leaps in technology lined up to really impact the way we experience video online. Here are our top 6 picks of major trends in video streaming which we think will help shape the next 12 months:
1. Per-Title Encoding being adopted on a broad scale
Netflix-style VOD with high-quality adaptive streaming will come to the masses, leveling the playing field for consumer expectations. Per-Title Encoding, where encoding parameters are automatically determined by the type of content, was once only available for big names in the industry. In 2019, we expect to see it being used increasingly by everyone in order to optimize the quality for every single piece of content. Eventually, we see it replacing fixed bitrate ladder setups across the board. With the widespread adoption comes the need to implement new ad-supported use cases and new standards to support them. (Test your bitrate ladder here)
2. Low-latency streaming becoming a priority
Our industry has always been super-focused on video quality. Tackling latency will become a bigger priority in 2019, fueled by heightened expectations for live sports experiences. We expect low latency streaming over HTTP to get its first big deployments and start seeing support from the major CDNs. Up until now, we haven’t seen large-scale low latency deployments due to limitations in support. Every single component within the chain of delivery (encoder, CDN, player) needs to be optimized for low latency to ensure robust experience. Analytics are going to play a crucial role in the process, as real-time settings adjustments are required to keep latency times as low as possible. For viewers, low latency streaming will serve to provide an even more immersive viewing experience, especially for live sports, gaming and interactive streaming applications. With the tech in place, we expect to see exciting new use cases emerging before long.
3. Widespread access to AV1 in multi-codec scenarios
Now that practically all major browser vendors started supporting AV1 in their stable releases, we expect to see it shift into full gear. The very biggest players in online video will take the lead, with premium VOD services as forerunners, as they are able to spread the cost of computing resources. With improvements being introduced continuously, the required encoding times will continue to go down, turning the codec into a fully viable option for most usage scenarios. The shift towards AV1 comes in tow with the trend towards multi-codec environments, which we will see accelerating in 2019. Content providers will look to apply the best solution for each specific scenario and multi-codec is a great answer to this challenge.
4. Shifting towards multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments
Multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments have been a key trend for the past few years, as the move towards SaaS has continued to impact most industries. In the world of video content delivery, which is naturally heavy on the consumption of computing resources, cloud-based encoding has become a widely used practice. With the emergence of highly capable orchestration services like Kubernetes, making use of the technology is growing easier for IT departments and we are quickly seeing containerization becoming a big part of IT infrastructures. Container-based encoding solutions benefit from this overall trend and there is no doubt we will see it continue in 2019. With resources being put to use more efficiently, content owners will be able to provide a higher quality service while still keeping costs at bay.
5. AI applications augmenting encoding quality and efficiency
Encoding augmented through the use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is likely going to make a few more crucial steps along the way in 2019. Bitmovin has already demonstrated what AI-enabled encoding can do, with the implementation of ML into the Three-Pass Encoding procedure. Analyzing content during different stages of the delivery is one of the key applications, where AI can help to optimize the encoding process and unlock new levels of quality and efficiency. With super high-resolution content becoming increasingly important, efficiency is going to play a crucial role and we see the smart implementation of AI as a major driver in getting ready for a mass-market realization.
6. The rising importance of the developer influence
We love the new term “devsumer” coined by technology investor Elad Gil introduced in his recent blog post. We see the market growing to expand to all types of diverse “makers” who are replacing what used to be expensive consulting services to assemble developer tools together. These devsumers are growing in numbers and are smart more than capable of putting things together on their own. They don’t need pretty GUIs, instead they’re looking for reliable and well-documented tools. We’re looking forward to expanding our own resources and documentation to support this growing group of technology makers, stay tuned.
Be an early adopter to the video tech that will dominate 2019!
You can try most of the tech mentioned in this post right now by signing up with Bitmovin. See for yourself how our tech works with your content. Simply sign up and start checking it out! Yes it’s a shameless call to action, but we honestly recommend you try out the Ladder Benchmark Tool, it’s a simple way to see the difference between traditional encoding and some of our next generation improvements.