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How Adaptive Bitrate Streaming is Changing the Game in 2024

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Imagine you’re scrolling through endless funny short videos, ready for a laugh attack, but then… BAM! The buffering strikes! freezes your bite-sized fun and Skyrockets your frustration. Sounds familiar? We all would have been through this.

Wouldn’t it be super cool if we had a technology that could wipe off buffering and keep our fun flowing? Many would have wished to have a tech-tinker fairy who took up the responsibility of banishing buffering.

You needn’t keep wishing for the same anymore. Explore the wondrous world of Adaptive Bitrate streaming. This new technology of adapting to your internet speed in real time delivers smooth and uninterrupted entertainment.

What is Adaptive Bitrate Streaming?

Adaptive bitrate streaming is a technique involved in making streaming better over HTTP networks. The term “bitrate” refers to how fast data journeys across a network and is repeatedly used to define an Internet connection’s speed.

A high-speed connection is a high-bitrate connection. Streaming is the method that makes watching videos online feasible. This takes up the role of transmitting video files hosted in a remote server to a client.

For example, in YouTube’s adaptive bitrate streaming, videos are made into smaller clips. This process of segmenting happens so that spectators need not wait for the whole video to load before they can start viewing it.

How Adaptive Bitrate Streaming Differs from Other Bitrate Streaming?

For a detailed understanding of the concept let’s make it even more relatable, Imagine you’re ordering pizza on a weekend movie night with your friends. Here’s how you can easily compare different streaming methods:

Fixed Bitrate: This is like ordering a single Large pizza. Irrespective of the number of friends and how hungry they are, you get what you ordered the same size large size.

If all of you are starving, this might not be enough. If it’s just you, a huge portion of the pizza(and calories too!) will be leftover.

Multi-Bitrate: This is like choosing among the different pizza sizes available, say Small, Medium, and Large. Your choice shall be based on your needs and must be done manually.

Watch out! If your internet suddenly gets slow, you will be stuck with whatever you choose, even if it keeps loading.

Adaptive Bitrate: This is the smart pizza delivery. You tell the system how many people are planning to eat it and how fast you want the pizza to be done. The system monitors traffic and adjusts the size accordingly in real-time.

When the internet slows down, to make sure of smooth streaming, it sends smaller slices (lower bitrate video). It sends bigger slices (higher quality video) for a better experience if things speed up.

Now, back to reality! Are you watching a hilarious short video? (because who doesn’t love those?) If your internet suddenly goes to a nap for a second and bounces back effortlessly to a lower-quality stream. Say thanks to ABR streaming.

ABR Adaptive bitrate streaming is responsible for ensuring that fun continues without any interruption. It’s simply goodbye to meltdowns and hello to unadulterated entertainment bliss.

But ABR’s magic doesn’t stop with smooth streaming alone. It also plays a vital role in keeping you hooked, making you scroll deeper into the short video compilations. Eager to find out more? Keep reading!

The Benefits of Adaptive Bitrate Streaming

As of 2023 December, YouTube Shorts – the most popular short-video feature -made over 70 billion daily views. Video streaming is an ever-growing platform that makes communication, advertising, education, and a lot more possible.

And, that’s why ensuring the quality of video playback matters a lot. ABR provides us with many benefits other than improved video quality:

Decreased frustration: No more anger quits. More time spent relishing content and less time throwing your remote at the TV.

Enhanced user experience: Smoother streaming leads to a more delightful and engaging experience, making you more likely to stick around.

Customized content delivery: ABR refashioned the video grade to your specific device and internet connection, ensuring optimal viewing on any platform.

So each time when you are captivated by the technology of a short video platform app, think of the silent hero working behind the scenes: Adaptive Bitrate streaming algorithm.

ABR video streaming is the reason behind our laughs at cat videos without interruption. It allows us to get lost in captivating documentaries, and binge-watch entire seasons before dawn.

ABR employs top-notch algorithms to closely monitor:

Network Situations: Our internet speed will fluctuate. It’s similar to the traffic on the road and Adaptive bitrate streaming tracks these changes.

Device capabilities: ABR is biased! It considers your phone, laptop, or TV’s processing power and streamlines videos. Not all devices are created equal!

Viewing experience: The goal is smooth, uninterrupted viewing. ABR works towards offering the best possible quality based on your situation.

So, The comparison must have helped you understand all about ABR video streaming. ABR exactly acts like the pizza delivery system mentioned above.

It adjusts to our needs in real time, and provides us with the best attainable movie-watching experience, just like the perfect pizza for our hunger!

Ready to swoop deeper into the exciting world of ABR and learn how it can revolutionize your streaming adventure? Keep scrolling to unlock the secrets of this technological splendor!

How Adaptive Bitrate Streaming Works?

First, you need to be clear about either doing it as live streaming or pre-recorded video. Both have various stages:

To get a fair idea of both live and pre-recorded video go through the following,

Video Preparation:

Encoding/Transcoding: Your video must be adaptable to the demands of various devices and network conditions. So, it’s important to convert your video into multiple versions with a focus on bitrates, resolutions, frame rates, etc.

Make use of online services or committed software to achieve this.

Segmentation: For better streaming and to be quick and adaptable, split each encoded version into short chunks (up to 2-10 seconds).

Streaming Protocol: HLS, DASH, or HDS, are a few prominent protocols that are compatible with adaptive bitrate streaming. Each comes up with its own strengths and compatibility concerns.

Manifest File: The video player will need a guide. So, create a file listing all video versions that are available along with their properties.

Delivery Platform: Your video content has to be stored safely and delivered without interruptions across varied locations. It would be wise to opt for a better Content Delivery Network as these networks reduce latency and improve loading times.

Additional Steps for Live Streaming:

Encoder Setup: Exactly as denoted above just by configuring your encoder you can create live streams with numerous bitrates and segments.

Streaming Server: Pick the right server that’s capable of regulating live streaming and ABR adaptive bitrate streaming protocols.

For Pre-recorded Video:

Video Hosting Platform: Make the best out of a platform that endorses adaptive bitrate streaming and works well with your chosen protocol.

Which Streaming Protocols Support Adaptive Bitrate Streaming?

The right streaming protocol for adaptive bitrate streaming must be finalized depending on various facets, so there could be no particular “best” answer. Here you will find the two main competitors along with their pros and cons to help you select the right one:

1. HTTP Live Streaming (HLS):

Pros:

  • Widely pairable with devices and players, particularly Apple devices due to its origin.
  • Reduced latency due to smaller chunk sizes.
  • Easier setup and encoding process.

Cons:

  • Short, flexible, and open compared to DASH.
  • Though it primarily uses H.264 codec, it can also support newer codecs like VP9 and AV1.

2. (DASH)Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP:

Pros:

  • Get more custom options with open-source and highly flexible.
  • H.264, H.265, VP9, and codecs are compatible.
  • Better applicable for complex scenarios and futureproofing.

Cons:

  • Few widespread device and player support approximated to HLS.
  • The complex setup and encoding process is a shortcoming. One needs to try to simplify it using modern tools and services.

Additional concerns:

Target audience: Though HLS has wider native support, DASH compatibility is rapidly growing, especially with HTML5 video players.

Technical expertise: Both HLS and DASH demand technical expertise for efficient implementation and optimization.

Codec intention: DASH is the only option for using newer codecs like VP9 or AV1.

Budget: The cost of implementing HLS or DASH depends on various other major factors including inherent complexity.

How Adaptive Bitrate Streaming Improves User Experience?

Keeping users engaged and hooked to the screen is like tackling the giant in today’s digital landscape. Adaptive Bitrate Streaming (ABR) is the key when it comes to churning and enabling a smooth video streaming experience – in the best possible way.

But how does ABR make the user experience so great? Know about the 5 key ways ABR adaptive bitrate streaming supercharges your user experience:

Buffering begone: ABR (Adaptive Bitrate) strikes out the frustration of getting distracted from captivating videos due to buffering. It’s done by effortlessly adopting video quality based on your internet speed. This assures smooth, uninterrupted watch time.

(Can’t wait to experience marathon movie nights without a single hiccup!)

Data delights: Keep watching a Lot, Pay Less: Are data caps your pain in the neck? ABR steps in and saves your data by adapting video quality to slower connections, it cuts off data consumption without sacrificing quality.

This means enjoying more content without any thought about running out of data.

Engagement outburst: Choppy videos are engagement killers so ABR keeps viewers glued to their screens by streaming a consistent, high-quality watching experience.

Goodbye to frustration: We will never start watching a video that pixelates beyond recognition. Not a pleasant experience, right? ABR video encoding says goodbye to frustration by dynamically adjusting quality.

It not only reduces loading times but minimizes pixelation and makes viewers stay happy and engaged.

Retention fuel: Churning users is the biggest drawback of any app’s existence. With ABR this can be ruled out as ABR streaming provides a super smooth viewing experience.

So users keep coming back for more. When doing this you are fuelling your app’s growth with the power of happy viewers.

Case Study

An Example of How Adaptive Bitrate Streaming Saved the Day

Meet VidSnap, a short video app was struggling with user retention. Choppy videos and buffering issues were leading viewers to turn away from the app faster than it became viral. In came ABR, the game-changer.

After implementing ABR, VidSnap saw a 40% increase in user engagement. This increase was measured based on watch time, likes, and shares. Take a look at what they’ve got to say about ABR

ABR was a lifesaver! Our users were frustrated, and it was hurting our growth. Since implementing ABR, our videos have played smoothly even on slow connections, and our users are loving it! Watch time is up, engagement is soaring, and we’re finally seeing the loyal community we always dreamed of – Sarah Jones, CEO, VidSnap

The numbers speak for themselves:

  • 40% growth in watch time
  • 35% reduced churn rate
  • 20% enhancement in user satisfaction

Adaptive Bitrate Streaming isn’t just a technical solution, it’s a priceless revolution. It uncovers a world of happy viewers, sustaining communities, and unstoppable app growth by prioritizing user satisfaction.

When are you planning to unleash the power of ABR with your short video app development?

Short Video Platforms: Ensuring Video Quality with Adaptive Bitrate Streaming

Every frame and every second counts in the fast-paced world of short video apps. Users are flooded with content, and their attention spans are dynamic.

Keeping them involved and coming back for more needs a clear, frustration-free experience. This is why Adaptive Bitrate Streaming is much sought after by developers.

The Pain Points of Traditional Video Delivery

Traditional video delivery techniques rarely don’t work in today’s vertical mobile landscape. Let’s see two other cheif reasons apart from buffering :

Quality Puzzle: One needs a great art of balancing to stream high-quality videos across various devices and network conditions. Submitting only one bitrate often means sacrificing quality for those users who are on a slow more unperceptive

Data drain Skit: High-resolution videos will feed on data, especially for users on limited plans. This can lead to pricy bills and prevent viewers from getting involved in their app altogether.

The Advantages of Adaptive Bitrate Streaming

Increased user engagement: Smooth, high-quality playback keeps viewers hooked and coming back for more.

More user satisfaction: No more pixelation leads to gain more happier users.

Less churn: By addressing pain points, adaptive bitrate streaming helps retain viewers and reduce app abandonment.

Wider reach: Cater to a broader audience with optimized video delivery across various devices and network conditions.

Improved brand image: Deliver a premium viewing experience that reflects positively on your app and brand.

The Role of Adaptive Bitrate Streaming in TikTok

Imagine watching your favorite TikTok video, only to have it constantly stutter. Frustrating, right? That’s where adaptive bitrate streaming (ABR) comes in.

Think of Adaptive Bitrate streaming as a smart video delivery system. It delivers video content in different quality levels, automatically adjusting based on your internet connection speed. Got blazing-fast Wi-Fi? You’ll see crisp, high-resolution video. Slower network? ABR seamlessly switches to a lower-quality version, ensuring smooth playback without annoying interruptions.

Here’s how TikTok uses ABR:

  • Multiple versions: TikTok prepares your favorite video in multiple resolutions and bitrates.
  • Network check: The app analyzes your internet speed in real time.
  • Dynamic adjustment: Based on your network, TikTok chooses the best quality version your connection can handle.
  • Seamless transition: The switching happens automatically, so you barely notice it.

Alongside, the personalized content suggestion in TikTok with the help of machine learning content curation, the app delivers a superior viewing experience for everyone, regardless of their internet connection. No more waiting, no more frustration, just uninterrupted enjoyment of your favorite content.

In short, ABR is the behind-the-scenes hero of the entire TikTok tech stack that ensures you see TikTok videos in the best possible quality your network can handle, making your scrolling experience smooth and enjoyable.

How Can Entrepreneurs Make Use of Adaptive Bitrate Streaming?

Are you an entrepreneur who has a stunning short video platform or is about to develop one? Then, don’t let subpar video delivery withhold your short video app. Make good use of the powerful adaptive bitrate streaming and unlock a world of luxury.

Happy users: Reduce frustration and churn, and grow a loyal tribe.

Growth potential: Reach a wider audience and dig out novel opportunities for your app.

One can never undo the fact that with the rise of short video platforms, every microsecond matters.

Make sure your app delivers an exceptional experience that attracts users and makes them come back expecting more by using ABR streaming.

Meanwhile, It can also be set up for live and video-on-demand streams using the best video streaming servers like Wowza Streaming Engine, Dacast, etc.

ABR streaming seems to be the golden key to unlocking that potential to tame wild streaming.

And, as developers, we know the constant battle for smooth video playback. Alongside we have also dealt with balancing quality with network conditions.

It proves to be a hero in this fight, dynamically adjusting to ever-changing environments.

This blog would have helped you explore its internal operations, from chunk selection to bitrate adaptation algorithms. Beware! The journey doesn’t end here.

Take your big step towards short video delivery excellence. Let me know your thoughts and facts on how adaptive bitrate streaming transforms your short video app!

Starting as an iOS developer and moving up to lead a mobile team at a startup, I've expanded my expertise into Project Management, DevOps and eventually becoming a COO in the IT sector. As a COO, I excel in team leadership, technical advice, and managing complex business functions, focusing on combining technology and operations to drive growth. I'm keen to connect for collaborations or to exchange insights in the tech world!


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