Advancing Streaming Standards and Collaboration: SVTA’s Q3/Q4 Meeting Recap

The Streaming Video Technical Alliance, SVTA, just held its Q3/Q4 meeting: the two-day event was hosted in Prague last week on the first and second of November.

The gathering included various working group sessions related to Open Caching, Privacy, Streaming, and more, as well as updates on Working Group initiatives and discussions on topics like content steering, cache management, and security. With Open Caching (OC) spearheading the STVA activities, the OC Working Group had a separate schedule focusing on sub-groups, architecture documents, and various updates, including security, networking, and configuration.

Overall, the Q3/Q4 event covered a range of technical and organizational discussions related to caching and content delivery

 

Advancing Streaming Standards and Collaboration: SVTA's Q3/Q4 Meeting Recap

What is SVTA again?

The Streaming Video Technical Alliance is a global industry group formed by leading technology companies and content providers to advance video streaming standards and technologies. It focuses on improving the quality, reliability, and efficiency of online video delivery, as well as addressing industry challenges and fostering collaboration among stakeholders.

The Q3/Q4 meeting

 

We were part of a group of around 80 people heading to Prague. Most of us were professionals and experts in IT, content delivery, and networking. In other words, engineers, researchers, developers, and decision-makers from various companies and organizations involved in streaming.

A diverse range of companies is being represented within SVTA, including major telecommunications providers, technology firms, media organizations, and content delivery companies. Together, we join forces to collaborate, share knowledge, and make impactful decisions that shape the development and implementation of content delivery and caching technologies.

The diverse backgrounds and expertise we bring to the table play a crucial role in  shaping industry standards and establishing best practices within the ever-evolving streaming landscape.

SVTA Topics That Caught My Attention

1. Content steering

While the concept of multi-CDN is not new, Content Steering proves to be interesting. It involves optimizing the distribution of content to viewers by making real-time decisions: outlining protocols and methods for dynamically controlling delivery, adjusting it based on factors like network conditions and user devices.

With Apple bringing back Content Steering to the top of the pile, it seems that many options are opening, both client-side and server-side on HLS and DASH.

2. Security

 

Streaming security remains crucial to protect digital content from unauthorized access, piracy, and distribution, safeguarding both intellectual property rights and revenue for content providers.

– We discussed the security of the open-caching API: how upstream and downstream CDN can trust each other’s?

– We had general consideration around the security of the overall streaming systems. Knowing that content protection with DRM is still very weak, topics like watermarking, and how the CDN can help shoring up the security levels were brought up.

– We had three guests from the Motion Picture Association, who talked about the market of illegal streaming services: how the content is being sourced – and how they focus their energy on stopping the sources of illegal content.

 

Advancing Streaming Standards and Collaboration: SVTA's Q3/Q4 Meeting Recap
Advancing Streaming Standards and Collaboration: SVTA's Q3/Q4 Meeting Recap

Irdeto talked about the standardization of the server-side (A/B) watermarking which involves embedding two different watermarks (A and B) within the same content. This sequence can be used to distinguish between legitimate and pirated copies. This is good news, as the current solutions implemented in the delivery networks are proprietary.


Nagra also talked about A/B watermarking combined with mABR, an elegant way to get around some potential bandwidth limitation.

3. Open Caching

Raft of OC updates, showing the technology is becoming more mature. I really like the summary slide mapping out the main OC activities.

Open caching SVTA

With OC, it feels like we now need more OTT services to be interested in using the OC technology, this will help steer OC in the right direction and based on real-world priorities.

The expertise and perspective brought by the OTT providers are very valuable insights that keep our conversations grounded in practicality and relevance to the actual challenges.

4. Multicast ABR and Open Caching

 

One new approach is to start the conversations about integrating  mABR into Open Caching, aiming to unlock multicast capabilities to OTT providers. This three-way relationship resembles OC, where  OTT benefits from the CDN infrastructure of the ISP.  

In this case, the goal is  to leverage mABR capabilities, resulting  in improved Quality of Experience (QoE), reduced network costs, and  enhanced energy-efficiency.

Guillaume Bichot, Head of Exploration at Broadpeak, coined the term of Open-Casting (open caching and multicasting).

 

Multicast ABR and Open Caching Open Casting
Guillaume Bichot during his presentation

What else is new in SVTA?

DASH-IF will likely be rehomed into SVTA: SVTA will likely host the DASH Industry Forum (DASH-IF) activities. DASH IF is a global organization that focuses on promoting and developing the use of the Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) standard. DASH-IF serves as a consortium of industry stakeholders, including content providers, service providers, device manufacturers, and technology companies. Going forward they will be rehomed under SVTA.
New Audio Streaming group to be launched.
Study group ‘Players and Playback’ promoted to full working group.

Takeaways from this week: what is the feeling from the market?

  • The interactions between the participants were very positive and productive. There is energy and appetite to build the right solutions: groups like ‘Networking and transport’ feel very dynamic with hot topics like QUIC, DNS, Multicast, Apple Private Relay discussions. Topics like sustainability are being discussed more openly. We move from the two-dimension world of cost and performance to introduce the third dimension of sustainability including energy consumption and reducing infrastructure.
  • The potential of multicast ABR technology, is becoming clearer to the ecosystem. A lot of talks mentioned mABR and the approach is seen as a valuable option to scale large OTT services, we’re moving from engineering curiosity to a more mature proposition, capable of solving scaling challenges while improving the QoE.
  • For OC and SVTA to be successful, we need more involvement from additional OTT/content providers, sometimes it feels like the conversations in the working groups can be relatively far from the immediate needs of the industry. But the drive might come from local content providers rather the global players.

With the positive energy and productive interactions observed, I’m looking forward to the next meeting in Denver in February, continuing our joint mission to shape the future of content delivery and caching technologies.

Author

Xavier Leclercq

As the Vice President of Business Development, Xavier Leclercq aims to further the position of Broadpeak as the premier provider of streaming technologies.

In his career spanning nearly 20 years, Xavier gained extensive international experience in the industry, specializing in tech consulting and sales to content owners and network operators worldwide. Before joining Broadpeak, he held leadership roles in IP Video at Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent, and Akamai.

Xavier graduated from Institut Mines Telecom Lille-Douai (formerly Telecom Lille) engineering school and holds a Master’s degree in Business from the University of Lille.

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