AT&T Video Optimizer
Think like a Viewer When Streaming Video
Streaming video over wireless networks is challenging. In spite of this, viewers have high expectations when it comes to watching video.
In order to meet expectations, producers, streaming providers and developers need to think like a viewer.
Today, more and more video content is being delivered on mobile devices. Video now accounts for more than half of total mobile traffic.
The average viewer today has spent a good portion of their life watching moving images on television, in movie theaters, in video games, and on computers. They see a lot. They know what they like.
They have high expectations for both performance and quality, even when they see it on a mobile device.
Viewers believe they should get video delivered just as fast, just as smoothly, just as clearly on wireless devices as on high bandwidth televisions or desktop computers.
Viewers just want video to work. They don’t understand issues like controlling radio resources, managing limited bandwidth, packet loss, or unstable connection speeds. Even if they did, they probably still wouldn’t care. That’s not their problem. That’s your problem.
It may not seem fair. But that’s the way it is.
Best Practice Recommendation
The Best Practice recommendation is to think like a viewer. Shift your focus from you and your problems to the viewer and their expectations. Walk in their shoes.
Nobody likes waiting.
Think about how you feel while waiting for a video to start, without knowing what is happening or how long you will need to wait. Would it be better if you were given more information, so you knew what to expect?
Or, instead of becoming irritated, would you feel better if you were entertained, or at least distracted while waiting?
How do you feel when a video you are watching stalls? Do you keep watching?
How about if there was a second stall? How about a third stall?
When it comes to waiting for a video to start, how long is too long? No one wants to wait all day for a video to play properly. Would you feel better if you knew why you were waiting?
Nobody likes being left in the dark.
One of the biggest problems for viewers is a feeling of not knowing what is going on. Is what I’m seeing supposed to be happening? Or is something wrong?
You need to pay attention to time here, too. The longer a viewer is left in the dark, the more impatient they become.
Nobody likes watching poor quality video.
How do you feel when you watch a video that is fuzzy, grainy, pixelated or poorly displayed. Would you accept a little more waiting time for the buffer to fill up with higher quality video if it would make the video look better?
Dealing with this takes work. The challenge here is that you must maintain a balance between performance and quality. If you push too hard for the highest quality, delivery performance may be slower. If you push too hard for faster delivery performance, the quality may go down.
The questions are - how good is good enough, and how fast is fast enough?
You need to test your video against a variety of network conditions and device types. How does the video look when you slow the delivery down?
If you can get inside the head of your viewers and experience the video the way they experience it, feel what they are feeling, you will probably work harder to achieve the right balance.