Heavy Reading
Length: 46 Pages
Price: $3,995
Click here for the full list of included service providers.
46 pages of analysis covering the key drivers for multiscreen video and the growth of ABR technology
A detailed overview of the main technology elements required for multiplatform video distribution and the key video compression formats and protocols
Exclusive input from Heavy Reading's 2012 State of the Video Consumer survey of 528 U.S. consumers, delving into their preferences and interest in multiscreen video
In-depth profiles of 19 leading vendors in the multiscreen video preparation space, analyzing their flagship products and strategic strengths and weaknesses
Senior Analyst,
Heavy Reading
Leveraging his 15 years' experience in consumer media, Kishore covers digital media applications and services and their distribution over broadband networks...

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Length: 46 Pages
Price: $3,995
Lost in ABR: Can Multiscreen Video Survive Format Chaos?

Consumers are increasingly interested in viewing video on a range of devices, both at home and on the road. The key drivers for this trend are the proliferation of innovative digital devices, the growing awareness and popularity of Internet video services worldwide (such as Hulu, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, etc.), the licensing of high-value, professionally produced video titles for such services, and video compression, allowing for a good video viewing experience via the Internet.

Improvements in mobile networks will only facilitate this trend. The growth of out-of-home access via mobile broadband dongles (aircards) and smartphones and the launch of mobile optimized multiscreen video services will fuel additional awareness and usage.

The effective preparation of video will be an important part of this trend. Efficient compression and selection of the right video profile allows for smaller video file sizes, which in turn allows for smaller storage footprints on servers and higher-quality experiences, despite delivery via congested networks.

Most significant is the trend toward adaptive bit rate (ABR) streaming, which allows the video bit rate to dynamically adapt to network conditions, thereby improving end-user quality of experience (QoE). Lastly, the impact of cloud computing could be significant, eliminating the need for service providers to purchase and deploy transcoding equipment on-premises and instead lease what they need, as they need it, from a cloud-based platform provider.

However, even efficiently compressed video will add dramatically to network traffic, and it will increase processing requirements both on origin and client side, and force content distributors to manage an expensive, confusing array of codecs, protocols, bit rates, resolutions, players and standards.

Lost in ABR: Can Multiscreen Video Survive Format Chaos? explores the growth in multi-screen video delivery, reviews the various processes required for video preparation and packaging, and examines the leading trends and developments in this space. It also evaluates the status and impact of key standards and industry initiatives.


The report also includes profiles of 19 leading vendors working with service providers to prepare and package video for multiscreen distribution, analyzing their relative position in this fast-developing market.

In total, the report evaluates and analyzes the products and strategies of 29 leading vendors in this rapidly growing market, including almost 100 baseband, RF and application processor devices.

Click here for the full list of included vendors.

ABR streaming is a technology used for distributing video over the Internet. It allows for communication between the player and server, identifying the rate at which chunks are being delivered and correspondingly adjusting the quality of the video stream, all in real time. This reduces buffering delays, artifacts and interruptions in the playback of the video, thereby improving the end-user experience.

Typically an Internet video distributor will encode multiple versions of the content at different bit rates. Let's assume one version is encoded at 2 Mbit/s, one at 1 Mbit/s and a third at 700 kbit/s. Each version is then segmented into short "chunks" of a few seconds each and then wrapped in the appropriate container. The exact length depends on the type of ABR protocol being used but is typically between two and ten seconds each. These versions are called profiles. These three profiles are then stored on the server.

Distributors of multiscreen video have to go through an extensive process preparing and packaging video for distribution across multiple networks, to multiple devices. The video distributor deals with three primary distribution scenarios: live pass-through, where a live TV channel is being redistributed to additional screens; live event, where a unique live event is essentially being broadcast over the Internet; and on-demand, where previously prepared content is hosted and streamed when requested.

For the most part, preparation and packaging requirements are fairly consistent across all three scenarios, but live scenarios have higher reliability requirements, while live events raise some unique ad insertion issues. This process is described in the excerpt below.

Report Scope & Structure

Lost in ABR: Can Multiscreen Video Survive Format Chaos? is structured as follows:

Section I is an introduction to the report, with complete report key findings.

Section II examines the key drivers for multiscreen video, evaluates consumer trends and the growth of ABR video for multiscreen distribution discussing key findings from Heavy Reading's 2012 State of the Video Consumer survey.

Section III examines the main technology elements required for multiplatform video distribution and reviews key video compression formats, container formats, distribution protocols, etc., and the key factors influencing their selection and market impact.

Section IV provides an overview of the multiscreen video preparation process, summarizing the various steps required. It also lists the key issues for service providers to consider when launching a multiscreen video service.

Section V reviews selected vendors in the multiscreen video preparation space, including traditional telecom vendors, broadcast and online video technology vendors, wireless media technology providers and others. This section analyzes their flagship products, attitudes and perspectives on key issues and lists their most important strategic strengths and weaknesses.

Lost in ABR: Can Multiscreen Video Survive Format Chaos? is published in PDF format.