Announcing Onwards Multiplier – OTT Video Delivery Evolved
by Dan Karlin, Last updated: May 24, 2018 at 9:18 am
Over the last decade, we’ve seen a huge shift in the media landscape towards streaming services and away from traditional TV and cable subscriptions. Cord-cutters and cord-nevers are on the rise, and consumers don’t want to pay for a bloated cable package or sit through commercials on a live TV station. Cheap streaming boxes like the Amazon Fire, Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, and others, together with content providers and aggregators such as Hulu, Netflix, iQiyi and others, have made it easy for consumers to pick their content and choose the services they want à la carte without committing to a large cable bundle. In terms of devices, in addition to streaming boxes and smart TVs, mobile video is on the rise, but for HD content and any group viewing experience the large-screen TV isn’t going away anytime soon.
This tectonic shift in the media space means that more and more video content is being delivered through the internet instead of the closed systems used with cable and satellite systems. Cisco, which sells networking hardware, released a study predicting that video will account for about 82% of all internet traffic by 2020, and that total demand for network bandwidth will increase by 185% compared to 2017. Part of this is due to increased demand for 4K, 5K, and VR content, all of which require a higher bitrate for streaming solutions to work properly. Higher definition content combined with consumers moving away from cable and satellite means there will be more network congestion, heavier load on traditional CDNs and higher costs for data delivery.
For OTT solutions to survive in this new environment, it’s going to be more and more important for companies to review their whole video processing workflow and how they can deliver video in the most efficient way possible.
Traditional CDN model
Today, many OTT solutions use a content delivery network (CDN) to help deliver video to their users. Akamai, Amazon CloudFront, Microsoft Azure, and many other CDNs are available to deliver content, and in every case their business model is built around the idea of charging for every byte of data sent to your users.
For example, let’s say you have a 4K video you’re streaming to your users through a traditional CDN. To watch a 4K stream requires somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 Mbps (depending on the codec, framerate, streaming protocol, etc.) If you have 100 users all watching that same 4K video stream, every user is being sent their own copy of every byte of that stream and your CDN is charging you for the 5,000 Mbps that your users are eating up.
Traditional CDN: every user gets their own stream
This works out great for the CDN, because they are charging you for every byte that’s being sent, and they aren’t concerned if it’s causing greater network congestion or delivering the data in an inefficient way. This is where Onwards Multiplier comes in.
Onwards Multiplier is designed to deliver your video content in a new way. Instead of every user acting as their own isolated island, your users now become a mesh network. Once your video player is configured to use Onwards Multiplier, your users can source the video from multiple locations outside of the CDN’s edge network, including from other users who are watching the same content. You can still use the same CDN and keep doing everything you’ve been doing in your current OTT solution, but now with a less expensive CDN bill.
Onwards Multiplier: users can share content
With this new model, viewers watching the same content can share with each other. For my example earlier, we had 100 people watching a 4K video stream at 50 Mbps each. Using Onwards Multiplier, when the video stream can be sourced from multiple locations. This gives more redundancy to your network, reduces network congestion to your CDN’s edge servers, and can substantially reduce the data that needs to be delivered by your CDN. Even with a conservative estimate of something like a 50% CDN data reduction, that means your CDN can deliver the same high-quality 4K video to your 100 users with a 2,500 Mbps stream of data instead of 5,000 Mbps. That can have a huge impact of your CDN bill, and in turn on your operating expenses. For streaming services to compete in this new environment, this type of advancement is going to be necessary to stay ahead of your competition.
What about security?
Whenever any company brings up anything involving users sharing data or any sort of P2P technology, there is still a shadow cast by the days of Napster and when P2P technology was primarily used for piracy and other illegal activities. Today many of those fears have been addressed, but there are still lingering fears out there that any sort of user sharing is going to be associated with piracy or content being stolen.
Onwards Multiplier was built with security in mind, including an extra layer of encryption on top of any security mechanisms you have in place with your current OTT platform. Even if data is somehow intercepted when being sent from one user to another, that data will not be usable. Also the video data stored in each viewing device is only temporarily and not directly accessible by the user, hence there is no way for user to extract and keep the data.
What’s not to like?
Onwards Multiplier gives your OTT solution a boost. Your users get a more reliable connection to your video content, higher bitrate video content, and all with a reduced CDN bill. Onwards Multipier version 3.0 was just released, and integrating your solution is as easy as using our SDK with your player. It works with iOS, Android, web, and even set-top boxes. Interested? We’d love to talk to you.