Video for the Universal Web
Guest Editors' Introduction • Thomas Stockhammer, Mark Watson, and Christian Timmerer • December 2011
Video streaming over the Internet has become omnipresent. Content providers such as Netflix, Hulu, Apple, and Vudu don't deploy their own delivery infrastructure, but use existing Internet distribution means to deliver their services. This streaming approach works surprisingly well without any particular support from the underlying network, even in heterogeneous access network environments, including mobile devices. This success is due to the use of efficient video compression, content delivery networks, and adaptive video clients. For example, according to Sandvines' Fall 2011 Global Internet Phenomena Report (PDF), "rate-adaptive video represents the majority of video bandwidth, with Netflix alone representing 32.7% of peak downstream traffic." About 55% of all real-time entertainment traffic within the home is delivered via the Internet to game consoles, set-top boxes, smart TVs, tablets, and mobile devices.
Audio- and video-related services therefore dominate today's Internet. Most of these services are delivered via HTTP to a plethora of heterogeneous devices within both mobile and stationary environments. In this month's theme, we provide an overview of this transformation in the media streaming landscape with respect to video on the Web and mobile devices. We both consider recent achievements and recall solutions proposed in the recent past.
In "Watching Video over the Web: Part 1," Ali C. Begen, Tankut Akgul, and Mark Baugher describe and compare push- and pull-based streaming protocols. In "Watching Video over the Web: Part 2," they focus more on applications, including end-to-end mobile and in-home streaming, current standardization efforts, and future challenges.
In "The MPEG-DASH Standard for Multimedia Streaming over the Internet," Iraj Sodagar presents the emerging MPEG standard for Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP. DASH aims to supersede existing proprietary solutions by supporting multiple DRM schemes, common encryption, and many other features.
In "Video in the Web: Technical Challenges and Standardization," Soohong Park and colleagues outline some World Wide Web Consortium initiatives regarding media annotations (for cross-community integration of multimedia objects), media fragments (for improved content access), and timed text (to enable online captioning).
In "Mobility Management for Video Streaming on Heterogeneous Networks," Chung-Ming Huang, Chung-Wei Lin, and Chia-Ching Yang describe means for the management of heterogeneous environments, including session mobility and adaptive streaming over a three-tier server-proxy-client architecture.
Finally, in "Dynamic Video Transcoding in Mobile Environments," Bo Shen, Wai-Tian Tan, and Frederic Huve address issues such as interactivity, packet loss, and client power constraints in mobile communication systems by using transcoders with dynamic feedback received from the terminals.
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Thomas Stockhammer is CEO and co-founder of Nomor Research, a privately-owned company specialized in R&D services and products for cellular communication networks and multimedia services. He is also a technical consultant for Qualcomm and is involved in and partially leads different standardization activities in 3GPP, MPEG, IETF, ITU-T, DVB and other organizations. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Watson is a senior engineer at Netflix. Contact him at email@example.com.
Christian Timmerer is an assistant professor at Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Austria. Find information about his publications and MPEG contributions can be found at http://research.timmerer.com. Follow Christian on Twitter at twitter.com/timse7 and subscribe to his blog at http://blog.timmerer.com.