Live video presents growing challenge for operators, ANGA COM attendees told

Intelligent caching deployed by network operators can deliver an improved online video experience and will be key to the success of growing live video on the web, according to Eyal Webber-Zvik, product manager at Israel-based Qwilt, which deploys caching devices for access network operators.

Addressing a session at ANGA COM this morning, Webber-Zvik pointed out that, while Netflix accounts for 57% of online video in the US, followed by Google with 17.5%. Twitch, the top live streaming site, which accounts for half of live streaming, now accounts for 1.5% of online video overall. Twitch, which offers live coverage of online ‘games masters’, has recently been in the news following rumours that Google could buy it.

Webber-Zvik said that Twitch presents a particular problem for network operators because its live coverage is continuous, with leading gamers playing for long periods.

“Apparently people are interested in watching gamers. Large networks can get congested,” said Webber-Zvik.

Other live events that have attracted big audiences online include WrestleMania, which was ranked number three in online video in the US, and China’s professional baseball league’s live stream.“They [the Chinese baseball league] are the first in the world to go exclusively online,” said Webber-Zvik.

If big events like the Olympics ultimately go exclusively online they will significantly overload networks, said Webber-Zvik.

Challenges for content providers include improving average video bit-rate during peak viewing periods, said Webber-Zvik. “This is when you get the worst viewing quality,” he said. Webber-Zvik said that Qwilt’s local caching technology had delivered a 146% improvement in video quality compared with the general YouTube average.