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Adaptive Bitrate Streaming — What is It and Why is Crucial?

by Techies Guardian
Adaptive Bitrate Streaming

Pursuing the aim of lowering video buffering, the technology has come a long way. Today, viewers don’t need to wait half an hour for a video to load as developers have created new ways for VOD streaming without interruptions, improving the viewer experience and optimizing video quality.

Adaptive bitrate streaming (ABS) can ensure the best video quality regardless of connection or device. ABS allows the video delivery process to adjust to internet speed changes preventing buffering. Let’s observe that in detail.

What is Adaptive Bitrate Streaming?

We’ll need to recall three terms: bitrate, bandwidth, and buffering. Bitrate refers to the speed with which data is transmitted through the network, while bandwidth is the amount of data sent within a certain timeframe.

Buffering refers to pre-loading data during playback. It is key for streaming as it provides a smooth viewing experience.

Many viewers think about buffering only when it happens slowly and with interruptions. Buffering occurs when the bitrate of a video streaming surpasses the bandwidth of the internet connection of the receiving device.

Depending on the Wi-Fi connection on the receiving end, the bandwidth may change. It also changes when a viewer travels or due to poor weather conditions. When the internet bandwidth is insufficient, the file cannot download fast enough to keep pace with the video playback. The result is the video pausing to buffer.

Here adaptive bitrate streaming comes. It is the process of transmitting data so that the video quality is the highest possible given the current bitrate and bandwidth.

How Does Adaptive Bitrate Streaming Work?

We have a RAW video file after capturing it on the camera. To make the file more manageable and suitable for delivery via the Internet, an IPTV encoder is necessary.

After the video is encoded, the video goes through the transcoding process — which means making some alterations to the video so that the receiving device accesses it. Transcoding can include resizing the video frame and changing the resolution. In the end, you have multiple versions of the video for various devices.

Then the chunking process is essential. It refers to separating streaming data into segments, or small chunks, before sending the video to the device. It helps to adjust the size of the file to a playback device.

Before the playback, the receiving device gets a manifest describing all chunks and bitrates. Then, it can begin streaming. A device can request a new bitrate during the playback based on new information.

Why is Adaptive Bitrate Streaming Beneficial?

The main benefit of adaptive bitrate streaming is an enhanced quality of experience. A content provider offers videos of the highest quality possible without interruptions in playback. The adaptive bitrate streaming ensures little buffering and a quick start time. Viewers can use any device they want and still receive high-quality video pictures.

Users tend to blame your service if they have a poor viewing experience. Adaptive bitrate streaming can help you deal with that.

Final Thoughts

Quality of user experience should be paramount for content providers. The more viewers are satisfied with your service, the longer they tend to stay on it. They are also likely to come back for more experiences.

An adaptive bitrate streaming can help you ensure the highest quality video streaming possible on almost any device. It gives you more control over end-users’ experiences with your services. As a result, you can ensure that your service is available to a wider audience.

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