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#OTTuesday: Five Technologies Shaping the Future of OTT

The world of OTT is changing radically with new innovations, from player technologies to standards convergence, propelling the industry forward. As 2018 comes to a close, AkamaiTV sat down with DASH legend and Akamai's very own Will Law to get his pulse on the major trends and technologies that are driving OTT towards a "better-than-broadcast" future.

In order to meet the increase in viewer demand and quality of experience expectations, the OTT industry is turning to several "behind-the-scenes" technologies to help lead the way.

Akamai Principal Architect Peter Chave recently chatted with Will, the chief architect of our Media Cloud Engineering group, in the third episode of our #OTTuesday video series to talk about some of the most significant advances we've seen this year and how they will shape OTT over the year to come. Here are some of Will's top insights:

  • AOMedia Video 1 (AV1) - Developed out of the Alliance for Open Media and published in June of this year, AV1 is quickly becoming a popular alternative to video codecs like HEVC (whose royalties and patent limitations frustrate many media experts). Even as HEVC holds its ground through demand for 4K UHD stream quality and as AVC dominates the market, AV1 is enjoying adoption by a range of new devices and practically all web browsers. Will expects hardware enablement via chips to influence AV1 adoption toward the end of 2019.
  • Common Media Application Frameworks (CMAF) - CMAF recently exploded onto the scene thanks to its ability to let Internet video providers package video with HLS and MPEG-DASH while referencing a common set of media segments. CMAF is already seeing support from the likes of Microsoft and Apple, the latter of which is supporting HLS and fmp4 across 95 percent of its U.S. ecosystem.
  • Common Encryption (CENC) - Because CENC is DRM system-agnostic, it allows the same CENC-encrypted video content to be decrypted and played by any client device that interfaces with a DRM system over the Internet. Will thinks we're slowly moving toward a common implementation of CENC that we can combine with a CMAF container manifest to ultimately converge into one core presentation format.
  • Internet Media Subtitling & Captions (IMSC1) - For years, the industry has struggled with a variety of capture formats, making it difficult to deliver consistent content to and from different devices. As Will explains, IMSC1 is essentially a master version of the TTML branch of captioning. He believes this is the caption standard the entire industry will eventually get behind. Apple now supports IMSC1 across its ecosystem and all signs are pointing to it being adopted on a broad basis.
  • Chunked Transfer Encoding - As Will tells Peter, there's a broadly accepted notion that OTT is far behind broadcast in terms of latency. The reality is that latency is drastically being driven down by a new encoding technique called chunked encoding and chunked transfer. With chunked transfer encoding and transfer, broadcasters can decrease the latency with which an OTT stream is received without having to reduce the length of the  video segments. This narrows the performance gap between broadcast and internet video delivery. Akamai has already demonstrated better-than-broadcast latency using chunked transfer encoding, and this will be a major area of focus for us in the year ahead. In fact, today's #OTTuesday segment featuring Will and Peter was first live streamed around the world from IBC 2018 using this very technology.

We're going to take a break for the Christmas and New Year holidays. When we return on Tuesday, January 8, we'll explore artificial intelligence - what's working, what's still in the lab, and how the media industry can use it effectively. In the meantime, watch Will and Peter dig into how these five innovations are the ones to watch in 2019 and beyond in this week's #OTTuesday video.

Shane Keats is Director of Industry Marketing for Media at Akamai.