Transforming OTT from gee-whiz tech to mainstream entertainment source requires continued quality focus

Samantha Bookman, FierceOnlineVideo

One of the key terms I've heard over and over again at INTX this week – besides "disruption" and "transformation," because those pretty much define the cable industry these days – was "immersive experience." That was exemplified by the number of virtual reality demos running in most of the larger vendor booths, such as Comcast's, where cable executives gleefully sat three at a time, peering through Comcast-branded VR goggles at the experiences the cable operator promises in the future.

But as Ericsson's SVP of Technology for its TV & Media solution area, Matthew Goldman noted in a conversation we had at the show, an immersive experience isn't just found in a 360-degree video. It's found in any high-quality video stream. But if that video stream experiences problems, that immersive experience blows away.

The emphasis here, of course, is on quality. And that's the issue FierceOnlineVideo looks at in a feature describing the quest for improved quality of service and better quality of experience for viewers.

A decade ago, watching over-the-top video on a small YouTube screen meant living with the attendant buffering events and slow load times, along with the low-resolution images required to stream across legacy DSL networks. Today, HD video on YouTube is de rigeur -- it's expected, and posting a video at less than 720p resolution could earn creators a few scornful comments on their channel.

For online video providers, the stakes are way higher: A slew of complaints across social media due to excessive buffering, video delay, or an outage could have a noticeable negative impact. Subscribers will easily cancel and take their business elsewhere.

In this new feature I take a look at how some OTT service providers and the vendors supporting them are tackling the never-ending issue of ensuring good quality of service and quality of experience – two factors that could make or break an OTT provider in a competitive market. Check it out here.