In this day and age, online streaming is expected and a necessity for big events. But what’s also expected are glitches, buffering and dropouts. Whether it was last year’s NFL online game in London or the Super Bowl or the Grammys, Oscars, March Madness, there’s always some type of problems that mar the streaming experience. Many times, the blame goes to the lack of bandwidth or the large amount of demand that causing lags on the system.
But according to an article by Fast Company, it isn’t necessarily on bandwidth, but on the lack of money to invest on ensuring a properly-run stream. Dan Rayburn, a streaming video analyst for market research firm Frost & Sullivan has been looking into the online experience and he says TV companies spend a lot for online rights, but then don’t spend to make sure the online streams go uninterrupted. That’s not necessarily bandwidth says Rayburn:
“The biggest solution to keep these issues from happening is simple: Redundancy,” Rayburn says. “But in order to have redundancy, you have to spend a lot more money to put all the redundancy in place, which many companies are not willing to do, because they’re already not making money on live events.”
And Rayburn said networks are more concerned about getting people to click on their links, but not concerned about the overall quality:
As Rayburn points out, streaming providers are eager to point out how many viewers tuned into a live-streaming event (see CBS boasting of 1.4 million Super Bowl 50 viewers) but less forthcoming about the quality factors such as start time, buffering, and dropped packets.
So the obvious solution is to invest more money. But will there be a concerted effort to improve the online experience? Fast Company says Comcast, Fox, MLB Advanced Media and Yahoo have formed the Streaming Video Alliance to bring about better video and to come up with a standard that can be used by all of its members.
It’s a good sign that content providers are concerned with the quality of video streams and wanting to ensure an uninterrupted experience for viewers. But the proof will be the pudding when streams will be as dependable as turning on the TV and being able to watch a program without any buffering or any dropouts.