Tuesday, December 13, 2011

BBC Uses Adaptive Bitrate Optimization with its New iPlayer Over 3G/Wi-Fi App

The BBC announced that a new version of its iPlayer iOS application (for iPhone and iPad) now allows viewing content over a 3G connection rather than Wi-Fi only and uses Adaptive Bitrate technology. An Android application will be available soon.

David Madden, Executive Product Manager for BBC iPlayer on mobile, writes to the BBC Interent Blog that "We have worked closely with the network operators to introduce 3G streaming and create a great mobile experience so you can watch your favourite TV programme wherever you are or listen to the radio when you are out and about"

"We have also done a lot of work to improve the playback experience on portable devices and have rolled out HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) video infrastructure for the apps, which uses adaptive bitrate technologies. This enables us to detect the strength of your Wi-Fi or 3G connection and serve the appropriate video quality. If you have low internet signal strength then the video stream will adapt down to suit your connection speed; if you move onto a stronger signal then the video stream will automatically improve in quality. The idea is to give you the best possible experience wherever you are" 

Source: Apple

Earlier this year BBC said it will allow users to track their [fixed] ISP performance (see "BBC's Traffic-Light System will Test ISP's QoS" - here). I wonder if we will see the same over the new 3G access.
David provides some statistics on iPlayer - "There have been record figures for BBC iPlayer on mobile with 1.5 million installs on the Apple iPad and 1.2 million installs on Android devices since we launched the apps in February 2011. In October 2011 alone 16.5 million programmes were watched on mobile devices and tablets, up by 129% from this time last year"

See "BBC iPlayer: iPhone app and 3G streaming across all mobile networks" - here.

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