Broadcast Quality? It's Still a Thing.

What has a stronger impact on an audience’s perception – a great experience or a singularly awful one? In a world where every viewer is also a social media publisher in their own right, we could certainly point out the consequences of poor video performance (like we did in our March eBook). As consumers, we really don’t need to look much further than our own behavior. If something’s not loading quickly, or playing without interruption, it’s not getting played.

The hunt for consistent broadcast quality across device types is the foundation of any long-term viewer relationship. Today, content can not only be viewed across devices, but also across devices via different platforms. For example, your living room smart TV can play the same piece of content through its own built-in platform, through your cable provider,  through a game console, or some other connected device.  Where folks choose to gorge themselves on video is an experiential thing, and more often than not it’s an experience that’s inexorably tied to other experiences. No matter where these experiences occur, broadcast quality is increasingly the standard. 

 

Technology leaders weigh in . . .

We asked over 200 technology managers in our industry to share their perspectives on where we are at in the quest for broadcast quality and what keeps them up at night. We’ve published the results in a whitepaper called Survive and Thrive: The Changing Environment for Content and Video Providers. In this paper, the quality question offers some interesting online/broadcast comparison: Over-the-air broadcast and pay TV linear channels are an important part of the respondents’ distribution strategy (with 44 percent and 34 percent of respondents, respectively),

When asked the question “when will online video meet / exceed TV quality and reliability,” the results showed pretty significant split between the respondents who think “we’re already there” and the ones who view parity as a next-decade thing :

 

Stats

 

Regardless of where they felt we were in the process, consumers are certainly happy with the across-the-board improvements to resolution, color, and overall playback quality: Ericsson ConsumerLab reports an 84% satisfaction rate with online video from their own study[1].

 

Exceeding (and shaping) tomorrow’s consumer expectations

With the accelerating commercial adoption of 4K / UHD / HDR screens, and the eventual arrival of consumer devices that can take advantage of the ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard, we are of course seeing a massive increase in available 4K programming across the entire provider ecosystem. While clearly a significant improvement in picture quality, the sheer size of ultra-high definition video files bring new challenges of their own. As consumers acquire more of a taste for (and an ability to play) “the good stuff,” every touchpoint in the delivery workflow is more heavily taxed by having to store, transcode, and deliver files that are up to four times bigger than standard. It’s a lot of change that needs to be managed all at once, especially when the premium prices for premium content create premium expectations. It’s no wonder that 92% of our respondents said that meeting or exceeding broadcast quality and reliability is still important.

To learn more about how our respondents feel about a wide range of topics, including the use of cloud technology and artificial intelligence, download the whitepaper here.

 

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[1] Ericsson ConsumerLab, “TV and Media 2017,” Ericsson, October 2017, p. 12.