The rise of the streaming industry has led to rapid evolution of live streaming applications, platforms and products. As live streaming scenarios become increasingly diversified, the world is pressing for fast development of video streaming technologies. Among all the technologies that matter, the content delivery network (CDN) plays a critical role in delivering and ensuring a seamless streaming experience to users across different geographies. In this blog, we will take a close look at the most popular live streaming scenarios and zero in on the CDN technology requirements associated with each of the scenarios.
1. E-Sport & Game Streaming
Gaming and e-sports audiences are unique. They have no problem sitting in front of a screen for a long time while interacting with content. The sophisticated gameplay, community interaction, and the character of the broadcaster all work in different parts to make game streaming more engaging and compelling than many other forms of content online. As the community grows, game streaming has evolved to more than one-to-many live broadcasting. Game streaming nowadays involves chat rooms, subtitles, face filters, voice SDK, and more. At the same time, game streaming is more performance-sensitive than ever as any delays or lagging would directly lead to a loss in audiences. It’s crucial to select a CDN provider that has a globally distributed edge network with game streaming specific features to provide audiences a seamless and interactive experience around the world.
2. VR (Virtual Reality) Streaming
The main difference between VR streaming and traditional video streaming is that the bit rate for the former is much higher. While the bit rate for traditional video live streaming may be of several or dozens of megabits, that of VR streaming may start with gigabits. The main feature of VR streaming is the immersive experience and strong visual impact created by the surroundings. The viewers will experience nausea or disorientation if the video has low resolution with grainy pictures. Therefore, it requires the CDN to provide high quality and stable streams, allowing experiencers to participate in the 360-degree virtual reality fully. It also requires the CDN providers to support h.265 or h.264 encoding, which help reduce the bandwidth by half while ensuring the original video quality. Moreover, VR live streamers do not have to bear high costs as a result of the reduced bandwidth consumption.
3. User-Generated Live Streaming
User-generated live streaming involves a vast mixed-quality content library from individual streamers. As every country has its own content regulation law, content auditing becomes standard practice. Streaming platforms often combine manual review and programmatic auditing for sensitive content. The programmatic auditing is done by computers processing images, texts, and other components of the live streams using algorithms. CDN needs to have the capability of taking screenshots of the live stream regularly and feeding it to the auditing workflow to facilitate the auditing process without creating additional latency. If any content is flagged to be inappropriate, CDN needs to remove the content without impacting other streamers. Besides content auditing, user-generated live streaming is especially performance-sensitive as the streamers rely heavily on real-time interaction with viewers to gain viewership. It's crucial that the CDN provider has real global coverage to ensure there are no delays in the streamer/viewer interaction and to ensure viewing performance.
4. Online Education Platform
The advancement of live streaming technologies drives the growth of the online education industry. Various online education platforms have emerged over the past few years, which enable us to take a variety of classes at home at our schedule. CDN plays a critical role in optimizing web performance and making sure the online education content can be delivered cross-border without buffering, lag, or other quality issues. Besides the streaming quality, content copyright is vital for online education platforms. CDN provides edge authentication and access control to prevent content hijacking.
5. Event-based Live Streaming
Live events nowadays are being streamed online for remote audiences and are being recorded into videos for future playbacks. Many live events are hosted and broadcasted from outdoors or from venues with poor network environment. In this scenario, the capability to ingest the raw live feed onsite and utilize mobile (4G, or soon to be 5G) network to broadcast the event with minimal latency is the critical requirement for CDN providers. As the remote audiences view the streams on a variety of devices under different network environments, transcoding the feed in real-time to different formats and bitrates is another key criterion when selecting a CDN provider. Aside from performance, CDN providers should be able to stream real-time viewer statistics to you as viewer statistic is pivotal to providing the best user experience for your viewers.
Baishan CDN has successfully supported all above-mentioned live streaming scenarios for its customers. As a leading global cloud data service provider, Baishan operates an extensive global network capable of handling large audiences and deal with sudden bursts. Baishan also offers real-time transcoding, fast purging, and real-time analytics to provide a seamless live streaming experience to users anywhere on any device. Find out more about BaishanCloud at www.baishancloud.com.