This was especially evident when it came to controlling consistency of video quality across different viewers with different devices and access networks . Studios , already reeling from productions being shut down , were suddenly faced with monitoring the quality of more HDR / Dolby Vision content . These problems largely are being addressed with cloud solutions , such as software probes , that measure and help providers adjust video quality . Telestream : Covid caused an immediate change in how test and measurement products are used in many operations environments – from typical in-person use by multiple people – to remote use accessed by operations staff separately . Telestream test and monitoring products support full remote functionality , so operations can meet broadcast and delivery schedules on time whether working from home or social distanced from their office . For example , live OB Truck events can reduce intruck staff by half for distancing , with some staff working remote , a significant shift in on-site staff that could continue post pandemic . Torque Video Systems : In our opinion , the broadcast industry is very ‘ high touch ’ compared to other industries , and where close long-term relationships develop between sales people and their clients . It is a comparatively small industry , so these tight relationships follow the people - as the sales people move between different vendors , customers move between different operators over the course of their careers . Lockdown then , seriously hampers that relationship . Of course , keeping in touch with long-term contacts is possible over Zoom etc , but the problem lies in creating and developing new relationships . Cold calling someone you ’ ve never met will never develop the same depth of relationship that an in person meeting would . Lockdowns in cultures where face-to-face contact is the norm , especially in Asia , make the sales process much more difficult . VeEX : Residential and small business Internet oversubscription guidelines did not take into account massive lockdowns due to pandemics . The number of simultaneous active users grew almost overnight , creating bottlenecks in many places . Asymmetric last mile technologies ( such as DSL and DOCSIS ) and services focused on subscribers as being sporadic data consumers , found that multi-person video conferencing and working from home – all connected to remote PCs and servers , also created unexpected demand for scarce upstream bandwidth . We believe this may have caused some service providers to stop promoting DSL-based services while prioritising fibre closer to the homes .
The major SVoDs lowered bit rates in a number of territories at the start of the first lockdown . Did this make any impact ? Have they gone back to full bandwidth , UHD in particular ?
Mediaproxy : Whilst this was a general path to overcome the initial bottlenecks , most businesses scaled up quickly as required to accommodate all resolutions . Promptlink : In our markets , all are back to normal bit rates . Qligent : We have long been hearing about how major sports and live events were going to break the Internet , and the lockdown has finally proven this won ’ t happen . More people are watching more content online than ever , and SVoD providers have tried to control the quality of experience by targeting to manage overall quality through manipulation of bandwidth . They initially tried lowering bitrates in response to the sudden impact of customers wanting to use their subscriptions more often . Viewers learned to work with what their service providers offered , even if their individual experiences were impacted . These impacts were typically mild , and offset by the fact that these services continued to grow and offer compelling content . The beauty of OTT as a delivery mechanism is that it was designed specifically to address scale across quality , network availability , and network congestion . SVoDs have learned that managing their network and quality of experience needs to be done in a more holistic way . They are making individual decisions about how to best serve regions , cities and communities down to the neighbourhood , and they have grown more granular in how to handle content delivery . R & S : There was some noise in the press early on about network throttling , when everyone was stuck at home watching and downloading movies , however , there didn ’ t seem to be too many complaints from customers . That said though , broadcasters could use our monitoring devices and services to ensure the quality of the content they delivered to their CDN met the agreed SLA – and remember the SLAs were set up long before Covid arrived and we doubt the prices dropped because network traffic was heavy with the increased consumer demand during lockdown . SSIMWAVE : A one-size-fits all approach in which you take 25 % of the bitrate or take out the top profile does not work for several reasons :
• Different viewers have different access networks , some of which might have had ample bandwidth , so these subscribers would suffer unnecessarily .
• Taking 25 % off the bitrate from all content creates big variability in the quality of each asset , which can leave subscribers feeling frustrated and even cheated because some movies / scenes will be with very poor quality . Our 20 years of research into the Human Visual System shows that viewers tend to remember more the negative parts in which video quality has dipped ; this is reflected in a degraded viewer experience . You could see the frustration in the screenshots of poor video quality that were posted by subscribers .
• As an industry , we need to take the smart approach of adjusting video quality and bitrate only where needed . When there are access network limitations , bitrates need to be optimised using viewer intelligence vs . across-the-board cuts . Telestream : Broadcasters continued to produce flagship content in UHD , including a shift to use the latest UHD test products , regardless of the pandemic . Streaming services experienced significant viewership growth during the pandemic . In some regions 4K or UHD bitrates were temporarily removed to reduce local internet congestion . Telestream video stream monitoring products continued monitoring all the available bitrates . It ’ s likely this had little impact on the operators ; ensuring stream service delivery worked well during a pandemic was highest priority , even if 4K / UHD was temporarily unavailable in some regions . Torque : Honestly , we don ’ t think many people noticed . Well , perhaps some saw a slightly blurry picture , but were there any widespread consumer revolts ? None that I ’ ve heard of . In the early days of the lockdown , consumers in most countries were preoccupied with ... toilet paper . VeEX : Many users would not notice higher video compression , but they would notice data slowdown .
Has there been a greater reliance on virtualised / Cloud-based services under lockdown ? Interra : Cloud-based software offers unparalleled simplicity and flexibility compared with on-prem systems . Software that has a web-based UI can be accessed via any device , anywhere in the world . Those responsible for critical media operations saw tremendous benefits from running their infrastructure on the cloud . During this time , we have seen an increased interest in cloud-based QC , monitoring , and video analysis software . Mediaproxy : The cloud has been a clear winner in this . Businesses with a more mediumterm plan to virtualise and move services and workflows into the cloud greatly accelerated the planning and implementation . It ’ s also driven manufacturers to quickly enable their solutions to be moved to platforms away from traditional on-premises installations . Qligent : Companies that were already cloudbased and virtualised found that adding new services was a natural extension . Others that were in early transition stages , or just beginning to explore such options , were forced to deal with more immediate concerns . Without a functioning virtualised environment or cloud infrastructure , they had to focus on getting to their facility and maintaining operations , rather than adding new services . R & S : As in many areas in the broadcast workflow , Covid has simply accelerated a direction of travel that was already in progress ,