CDN video: HLS performance measurement

HTTP Live Streaming

The recent Devoncroft’s 2013 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) shows multi-platform content delivery is the most important trend considered by the broadcast industry. It is not a surprising news when we review how much time we spend viewing videos on non-TV devices.

Video streaming on iOS devices is supported by HLS (HTTP Live Streaming). HLS democratises video streaming: everyone can now easily stream adaptive bit-rate videos to iOS devices by using a low cost HTTP servers.

In comparison, it is much more challenging to stream videos to other mobile platforms. Here is a good reference article from LongTail: The Pain of Live Streaming on Android

We can easily stream videos to iOS devices. How do we measure the video performance? How do we validate HLS videos delivered from CDN are much better than those from customer origin? Which adaptive bit-rate video stream in my demo page – HLS Performance Measurement – provides better experience?

HLS Performance Measurement by PocketProbe

Rather than subjective measurement by our eyes (目測法), PocketProbe Free from Bridge Technologies provides an objective measurement of HLS video experience.

PocketProbe

I did some PocketProbe tests around 12:30pm 20130626 HKT. Left is the test result of stream from customer origin (CO) and right is from CDN respectively.

PocketProbe test results

Analysis:
1.CDN stream was delivered more frequently at higher speed than the CO stream.
2.CDN stream was retrieved much faster than CO stream.
3.CDN stream was delivered constantly at the highest bit-rate while CO stream switched to lower bit-rates during the delivery.

We can SEE the CDN stream picture resolution and quality are better too.

iOS a great platform for video streaming. PocketProbe is a cool app for video streaming performance measurement.

Easy. Low cost.

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