bandwidth, have brought the performance for most services
within the range of acceptable, if not ideal.
The user interfaces are also fairly standard, though again
Amazon Prime’s recent facelift has somewhat improved its
look and feel. Most of the VOD offerings show a simple stack
or grid of available programs organized by genre along with
selections based on past usage. Live OTT services display
some form of horizontal or vertical grid showing program
data against local times along with a video window showing
the current live program.
Many of the live services offer nDVR with the ability to
scrub back in the current player window to the start of the
current program, and as mentioned, many of the services
with nDVR provide some number of days of pre-recorded
VOD content for each live channel.
Much less acceptable performance metrics currently
exist for other aspects of today’s OTT services. When
playing from file or live, the ability to navigate back and
forward easily in the program timeline is still relatively
poor. In most cases, viewers can scrub back or for ward at
1x to as much as 256x speeds—but slow response time and
poor screen updating (or none at all) during navigation
make the process imprecise and annoying.
Tulix’s unique nDVR capability includes instant scrubbing
to any point in a streaming timeline. This feature is more
advanced than the n DVR featured on any other commercial
O T T platform on the market. We believe that this ability
represents a huge competitive advantage for any OT T service.
It is a clear differentiator for the OT T providers who run on
Tulix and LivestreamingCDN.
Another important but often overlooked feature in OTT
systems is graphical overlay and lower-third rolling ticker.
Tulix’s implementation of this feature is unique in that
the overlay and ticker are “burned in” at the encoder and
therefore look and play identically on every platform from
web browser to smart TV.
THE FUTURE OF OTT
Any discussion of the future of internet video distribution
must address HEVC and 4K. These two enhancements—a
more advanced compression method and 8x resolution—go
hand in hand, as the latter is impossible without the former.
Most of the live OTT video streamed today is actually at
1280x720 pixel resolution. For the most part, only long-form
VOD content like movies are streamed at full HD resolution.
The leap from 1080p to 4K OT T is coming but will require both
more advanced video compression and somewhat higher last
mile bit rates to enable on a broad basis.
Another major area of development is in video AI. A number
of companies have developed methods for automating the
identification and classification of video content. While
these technologies are still relatively expensive, eventually
AI could be applied to the creation of real-time one-to-one
session management of each viewer as well as far more
accurate discovery and suggestion methodologies.
Two-way voice communication and even group voice
communication are also an important aspect of emerging
OT T platforms. Twitch and other socially driven entertainment
venues have already implemented group text chat to enable
and encourage a community viewing experience. This type
of feature will almost certainly find its way into other niche
OT T environments, though for obvious reasons it is far better
suited to browser-based viewing than apps, set-top devices,
or smart TVs. Enabling voice communication has the
potential to take social viewing beyond the laptop and onto
the bigger screen.
Because Tulix is based on a fully integrated ecosystem-wide OT T platform, adding features like two-way voice or
even group voice communication is relatively easy for us.
We control the entire platform from ingest to player, and
most importantly, we own the video CDN, so enabling SIP
protocol for voice is something we have been expecting to
be asked to implement.
Though Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon have hundreds of
millions of subscribers combined, OTT is still in its infancy.
Tulix is proud to be a leader in OTT technologies and is
looking for ward to an exciting and challenging future.
ABOUT TULIX SYSTEMS, INC.
Tulix is a premier global video delivery company. We provide
end-to-end streaming solutions for live and on-demand video to
any screen. Our tools power all your video delivery needs so that
you can focus on building your business.
Find out more at tulix.com.