Video Multimedia and Entertainment Platform Buying Guide 2017

In 2016, the state of multimedia and entertainment video platforms could be summed up in four words: OTT or go home.

This philosophy has inspired many of the options and features added to today’s offerings, and this buyer’s guide will cover many of the most innovative.

Before we get into the most popular features, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: Facebook Live.

In 2007, when I was preparing the In the “Decade of Streaming Media” article, the question was whether content publishers should ditch all on-demand platforms except YouTube. In the 9 years that followed, however, YouTube’s dominance did not mean the death of innovation or other options.

It seems that it is the same today. While live streaming production tends to go to the platform with the most eyeballs, it feels like Facebook Live isn’t for all content owners. Ironically, YouTube must now compete for live eyeballs, not only with Facebook but with Twitch (Amazon’s platform for esports and performing artists), Twitter and a host of white-label solutions from Adobe, Brightcove, Kaltura, IBM (Ustream), etc.

Do I have to use a multimedia and entertainment video platform?

This question is widely asked, especially since cloud-based content storage and the use of HTTP-based delivery – from Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) to MPEG Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) – facilitates delivery to small audiences without the need for a specialized server environment.

But that’s not all these platforms offer. The best tend to cover security, delivery, content creation, and transcoding optimized for the dozens of new smartphones and tablets hitting the market every month.

A frame, a company that focuses on cloud-based acquisition and post-production workflows, sums up the differences between using a platform and using tools that can serve a small audience. The company compares applications that are only a small part of the total workflow with applications that reside on desktops versus servers and media-specific platforms to deliver a full multimedia experience.

“Applications are smaller than applications, specific to individual tasks,” notes Aframe, adding that applications can be combined or integrated with other applications to provide a larger solution.

“Applications can be part of the operating system or more specifically portable devices, for example smartphones and tablets,” says Aframe, “while applications are ‘stand-alone’ desktop software normally used on PCs or mobile devices. personal work places. “

The platforms have built-in applications or applications which are used to provide access to the platform. Examples of this could be the upLynk Slicer, which is found on a desktop computer and supports transcoding and uploading of content to the Verizon Digital Media Services platform.

“The decision to choose a lightweight application or a more robust solution,” notes Aframe, “is the volumes of content you work with, the security and capabilities you seek, and the range of professional features.”

The rest of this buying guide focuses on platform solutions.

Content quality

One area where EMPs generated significant interest in posting content in 2016 was streaming 4K (Ultra HD) content. While the number of devices to consume 4K in a set-top box or internet streaming OTT is still limited, the number of devices creating 4K has increased significantly. From the latest Android and iPhone offerings to sports cameras like the GoPro, as well as several specially designed 4K DSLRs offered by Canon, Nikon, Panasonic and others, the acquisition of 4K became widespread in 2016. .

Media and entertainment platforms have answered this call, more than entertainment or education video platforms, and several of the major platforms also offer high dynamic range (HDR) options, although most offer the additional color depth and extended exposure latitude of HDR for their 1080p content platforms.

Most of these efforts, at least for 4K, are in the area of ​​video on demand (VOD), as it is both expensive and technically difficult to stream Ultra HD content live. As the one-two combination of higher consumer bandwidth (e.g. 5G data rates) and lower price for UHD-capable tablets and TVs converge, expect to see broadcasts in Direct 4K move beyond traditional over-the-air (OTA) broadcasts, largely through the focus on the quality of content that EMPs are now emphasizing.

Speaking of quality, we continue to see advancements in VR, albeit at a slower pace than adopting 1080p HDR or 4K. Some EMPs focus on this space, others have demonstrated their ability to deliver low-resolution VR or 360 ° streaming, and a few have chosen to take a wait-and-see approach. Much of the uncertainty surrounding 360 ° streaming is the limited availability of quality VR gear at low cost.

If VR is important to your buying decision, join us at Streaming Media East 2017, where the Dan Rayburn show headline sets up a hands-on pavilion showcasing VR.

“We’re looking to add a big, practical VR component to the show at the upcoming Streaming Media East in New York City, May 16-17,” said Rayburn. “We are looking for companies who can contribute equipment, demonstrate and showcase the latest in VR technology. “

Content creation

The niche of multimedia and entertainment video platforms that offer content creation tools was quite narrow in 2015, but widened in 2015. Gone are the days when you could just cut entry and exit points. output an active VOD and schedule it for broadcast in a linear fashion.

Now the table stakes for platforms looking to offer raw content storage (a big money maker since storage is only exceeded by bandwidth in terms of revenue for them) include a long list of ‘content creation and collaboration tools.

Streaming covers

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