Updated: Jun 27, 2020
Top video streaming industry trends of tomorrow Many of our predictions are extrapolations of current trends. Others we believe will come about by combining streaming with other emerging trends and technologies. Here is where we believe live video streaming is headed in 2020
1. 360-degree video, VR, and AR will pick up steam Just a few years back, 360-degree video, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) seemed to be off to an explosive start with alluring features like hologram video chat on our phones. In retrospect, these technologies haven’t taken off as quickly as initially hoped. Adoption has been slow. Although AR has found a lot of success with mobile social streaming apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, live VR still has a long way to go. It’s a struggle to provide sufficient frame rate for a quality user experience with existing mobile bandwidths and codecs. That said, we still believe this technology is bound to continue its stride forward. With 5G Internet and efficient codec support just around the corner, it’s only a matter of time before AR/VR and 360-degree streaming find their way into practical applications beyond social streaming. One such example is remote customer support. To assist their customers, companies might ship a VR or 360-degree camera kit that the customer is to set up. Once deployed, this support kit will act as the remote specialist’s eyes and ears on the ground. This kind of remote customer support could save companies a lot of time and money on personnel travel.
2. More of the live video experience will be automated Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to be top trends in live video streaming. They hold the key to providing outstanding results when it comes to streamlining encoding workflows, managing content production and distribution, and personalizing the viewer experience. In a world where the amount of video content grows exponentially, AI will help create, organize, and distribute more content to more viewers with less human effort (and money). The once manual tasks of metadata tagging, facial recognition, live transcription, and translation will soon be done by ML and AI. AI will detect specific cues within videos (changes in lighting, facial and speech recognition, etc.) to automate live video production, including switching, recording, and graphic overlays. “Smart” live video can start streaming automatically as soon as it recognizes a specific voice or person in frame. This technology will help track indexed moving objects, keeping them in focus (think presenter moving across a stage). Once the stream is done, the technology can automatically generate and upload highlight reels of the event based on cues like audience applause and lighting. AI will also play an important role in regulating unauthorized content by detecting copyrighted material in real time. Additionally, AI could be leveraged for more efficient encoding of streaming media. (Case in point: at IBC 2019, the company iSize announced a new codec enhancement technology that uses AI to optimize compression.) AI and ML will continue to play an instrumental role in applications like per-title encoding(i.e., encoding video streams and even individual video fragments differently based on aspects like pace of action and subject matter).
3. 8K will enter the mainstream There’s been no shortage of 8K products at recent trade shows and exhibitions. At IBC 2019 alone, multiple 8K cameras and TVs were unveiled. Still, some argue that true adoption of 8K is a ways away: 8K TVs are not yet widely affordable, and there isn’t much 8K content being produced. However, at its current growth rate, it’s only a matter of a few years until 8K becomes a standard top-tier encoding ladder offering from broadcasting networks and subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) platforms. Adequate encoding technology is available (i.e., HEVC codec, though some kinks around new codec royalties still need to be worked out) and ready to provide efficient compression and lower bandwidth usage. And with 5G speeds, delivering 8K content to home TVs will be easier than ever. The first true exhibit of the power of 8K streaming will be at the 2020 Olympics in Japan, where 8K screens all around the venue will be streaming high-pace content in the highest quality available today.
4. Remote production will become the norm for live video Remote production is on a clear path to becoming the prevailing way to produce live video content. The transmission of live audio and video signals over IP is a strong competitor to analogue AV transmission. Using AV over IP to produce live events remotely has the potential to save organizations huge amounts of valuable resources. We see a future where more organizations – including media, live event producers, corporate offices, and even higher education institutions – will choose to transmit and produce all audio and video through a network infrastructure. Remote video production is cost-effective, scalable, and highly secure. One use case that stands out is remote production video studios for enterprise. High-ranking executives, who may need to appear on live TV often, stand to save a lot of time if they could go live from the comfort of their offices rather than having to travel to each TV network. In an effort to optimize and streamline live production workflows, more live broadcasting companies will move to a remote video production model. Instead of bringing an outside broadcast (OB) truck full of production crew to an event venue, companies will send a small team of technicians to set up audio and video equipment. Potentially, this equipment could be set up permanently, especially at larger venues. All signals would travel through a robust IP infrastructure, and live production would be handled remotely from a well-equipped production facility.