Top 5 Live-Streaming Advancements to Watch in 2019

January 24, 2019 by

Streaming Advancements to Watch in 2019

 

Streaming has found its way into our living rooms, workplaces, mobile phones, and community spaces.

Today’s audiences demand high-definition content and smooth video delivery, no matter where they are or what device they’re using.

With an increasing number of videos being delivered live, industry leaders continue to improve streaming technology. Below we’ve compiled a list of the top live-streaming advancements to watch for in 2019 — all of which hinge on minimizing latency, maximizing quality, and improving connectivity.

 

Streaming Advancements Snapshot

Benefits Limitations
5G Higher speeds and better coverage. The rollout will be slow.
WebRTC Real-time interactivity without a plugin. Broadcast quality? Forget it. Scalability? Only with help.
SRT Smooth playback with minimal lag. Additional capabilities are still being developed.
CMAF Streamlined workflows and decreased latency. Still a work in progress.
4K Stunning resolution and clarity. Bandwidth-intensive for live delivery.

 

1. 5G

 

How 5G Works

Providers are rolling out the fifth generation of mobile communications in 2019, also known as 5G. This high-speed standard will eventually replace the 4G connectivity we rely on today. Cisco predicts that more than 422 mobile devices will be 5G-capable by 2022.*

A lot of hype surrounds 5G. In a recent article, Digital Trends writes:

“While you may be thinking that 5G is just a little faster, a little more reliable, and a little newer, it’s actually more than that. It’s a massive breakthrough that’s going to change the way devices connect to the internet, and more importantly, to each other. In fact, as 5G rolls out over the next two years, it’s going to change everything that uses a wireless connection; at this point, it is pretty much everything.”

But what does high-speed mobile connectivity mean for streaming?

  • Low Latency: The faster the download and upload speeds, the quicker devices can communicate. While human reaction time is more than 200 milliseconds, 5G is expected to send and receive information in 1 millisecond or less. When it comes to streaming, this means that digital objects will be able to replicate real-time interactions.
  • Energy Consumption: Improvements in coverage can help minimize the computing resources required to watch a video. 5G will allow viewers to stay connected to live streams in traditionally poor service zones — without worrying about battery life.
  • Expanded Use Cases: Connectivity improvements help remove barriers to using streaming for a wide variety of applications. Live video now lies in the palm of our hands through mobile and connected devices.

 

What 5G Is Great For

The industry is abuzz with speculation about how 5G connectivity will shape streaming technology. Applications that were once no more than science fiction — such as self-driving cars and surgical operations conducted remotely — will become real life once 5G takes over.

It may take some time for 5G to become widely available, but we’re excited to see what technology comes out of it.

For more predictions on how improved connectivity will transform streaming, check out our blog on the Top 10 Streaming Trends for 2019.

 

 

2. WebRTC

 

How WebRTC Works

Described by Mozilla co-founder Brandan Eich as a “new front in the long war for an open and unencumbered web,” Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC) enables browser-based streaming with real-time interactivity.

This free, open framework enables users connecting via Chrome, Firefox, or Safari to communicate directly — without requiring plug-ins.

WebRTC Streaming Graphic

WebRTC represents a protocol, as well as the combination of standards and JavaScript APIs that make it possible. When low latency is key, WebRTC is a good friend to have. But if scalability is also at stake, you’ll need some extra support from the Wowza Streaming Engine™ service.

 

What WebRTC Is Great For

From video meetings to job interviews, live streaming with WebRTC lends itself well to today’s professional settings. Other real-time streaming scenarios that could implement WebRTC include interactive game apps designed for small groups. For these one-to-one or one-to-few conversations over live video, WebRTC is the way to go

Additionally, using WebRTC with Wowza Streaming Engine offers broadcast opportunities that go beyond peer-to-peer. Watch our video below to learn more.

 

3. SRT

 

How SRT Works

Secure Reliable Transport (SRT) is an alternative to proprietary video transport technologies designed to deliver low-latency streams over suboptimal networks.

Packet loss. Jitter. delay. Bandwidth issues. All can get in the way when streaming with unpredictable network conditions. But with SRT, content distributors can achieve smooth playback, minimal lag, and pristine video quality.

Don’t believe me? Just watch this video:

 

What SRT Is Great For

Ideal use cases for SRT include:

  • Remote event production on less-than-ideal networks
  • Any streaming workflow complicated by first-mile challenges
  • Multi-site events being live-streamed across the globe
  • Broadcasters requiring low-latency content acquisition

 

4. CMAF

 

How CMAF Works

The Common Media Application Format (CMAF) is an emerging standard intended to reduce video format complexity. While development of the specification took place almost overnight, CMAF’s real-world appeal and long-term benefits are still playing out.

Features:

  • Single Format: Before CMAF, Apple’s HLS protocol used the MPEG transport stream container format, or .ts (MPEG-TS). Other HTTP-based protocols such as DASH used the fragmented MP4 format, or .mp4 (fMP4). Microsoft and Apple have now agreed to reach audiences across the HLS and DASH protocols using a standard transport container — ISOMFF in the form of fragmented MP4. Theoretically, this means that content distributors can deliver content using only the .mp4 container.
  • Chunked Encoding: CMAF represents an industry-wide effort to lower latency with chunked encoding. This process involves breaking the video into smaller chunks of a set duration, which can then be immediately published upon encoding. That way, near-real-time delivery can take place while later chunks are still processing.

How CMAF Simplifies Streaming

 

What CMAF Is Great For

CMAF will streamline server efficiency for serving most endpoints. But continuing to reach the broadest audience possible requires supporting additional video formats. For this reason, CMAF isn’t a one-size-fits all solution.

That’s where Wowza comes in. Wowza Streaming Engine supports video delivery across a variety of formats — including MPEG-TS, Apple HLS, and Adobe RTMP. That way, you can ensure video scalability as the adoption of CMAF-compliant devices continues to grow.

Wowza is also expanding our supported formats to include CMAF. Interested in receiving notification once this update is released? Sign up today and we’ll keep you in the loop.

 

5. 4K

 

How 4K Works

4K resolution describes the number of pixels displayed on a screen. Roughly 4,000 pixels go across the width of a screen when streaming in 4K.

Streaming in 4K Resolution vs. 1080p

1080p x 4 = 4K

This ultra-high-definition format trumps the resolution standards that came before it. In fact, four 1080p displays fit inside just one 4K display.

Who doesn’t love enhanced picture quality? Content creators and consumers were quick to get behind it. But while video on demand (VOD) streaming services have been delivering 4K content for years, adoption lagged behind in the world of live streaming.

That’s because one of the easiest ways to increase bitrate — or the speed of transfer from server to screen — is with a high-resolution stream. Without sufficient bandwidth, viewing a live video in 4K was once merely a pipe dream. Improvements in connectivity and latency are here to change that in 2019.

 

What 4K Is Great For

The live sporting event of the year. A giant screen with a stunning picture. Resolution so crisp that you can see each blade of grass shift as the ball goes flying. This is the stuff that 4K was made for.

If you’re confident that your audience will have sufficient bandwidth to accommodate a 4K stream — not to mention a device capable of rendering it — streaming in 4K is a no-brainer.

That’s why the 2018 World Cup was made available in 4K. And with the Wowza Streaming Cloud™ service, you can easily create a live stream with a 3840×2160 (a.k.a. 4K) resolution.

 

Take Advantage of Live-Streaming Advancements With Wowza

When it comes to WebRTC, SRT, and 4K streaming, Wowza’s got you covered. We’re also deploying support for CMAF in the near future. And once 5G becomes a widespread reality, our products and services will be your go-to resources for getting the most out of improved mobile connectivity.

Show us what’s next in 2019. Start streaming today with Wowza.

*Source: Cisco, Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Trends, 2018-2022