If you asked anyone 10 years ago who the winner would be in the over online video formats, you would have heard some strong opinions -- and some incorrect predictions. Video standards and formats will continue to change as long as users demand new ways to view content. AkamaiTV's Nelson Rodriguez recently met with Encoding.com President Jeff Malkin to discuss who can possibly win in the war for a common format and how the cloud continues to shape the industry.
Encoding.com President Jeff Malkin works with a team of highly-talented people who form the the trusted cloud-based video processing service provider. For more than 10 years, Jeff and his team have been helping major media companies transition from on-premises to the cloud to distribute video across a broad landscape of browsers, mobile devices and home entertainment platforms.
Over the past decade, Jeff tells Nelson that plenty of format standards have appeared to take hold -- but not before users change the rules. Companies that spent large amounts of money on hardware and software encoders, teams of engineers and R&D have time and time again seen their investments become outdated as these formats change.
A key component to the format war discussion, as Jeff notes, is the move from hardware to software, from on-premises to the cloud. Industry leaders are increasingly moving heavy-lifting tasks like compute utilization and job orchestration to the cloud. For example, Encoding.com's own cloud-based transcoding helps major media companies venture into new areas like moving from a CapEx to an OpEx model, and even reshaping basic operations like hiring more software developers versus traditional broadcast engineers.
The move to the cloud is ushering in a new way for major media companies to think about standards. When asked if there will ever be a winner in the format war, Jeff hesitates to prognosticate. He notes some momentum with formats like HLS, DASH, HDR and HEVC -- but like so many others, he's been wrong before and admits to Nelson that he'll likely be wrong again.
In the end, Jeff says, neither media companies nor users should have to worry about standards. The ultimate goal is to deliver the content users want they want without worrying about potential device conflicts.
For a better look at how standards might play out and how media companies are turning to the cloud, check out the video above. Next week, we'll take #OTTuesday into the virtual realm when we look at whether or not VR is ready for prime time.
Shane Keats is Director of Industry Marketing for Media at Akamai.