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A Wide Field
There are several product verticals within the streaming media industry, and one of the lesser known ones is stream optimization. While each vendor has very different solutions, the goal of all is the same: to reduce the size of video bitrates without reducing quality. Vendors in the market include A2Z Logix, Beamr, Cinova, EuclidIQ, eyeIO, Faroudja Enterprises, InterDigital, Sigala and QuickFire Networks (just acquired by Facebook). Some of these vendors would take issue with their being listed with others they feel don’t compete with them, but amongst content owners, they are all thought of as offering ways to optimize video, even if many of them do it very differently. They may not all belong in the same bucket, but many content owners do put them there.
Compression technologies are already being applied to images, where companies like Yahoo and Netflix use solutions to make images load faster and save money. In the course of researching this topic, we've been looking deeper at some of the vendors in this space as it pertains to video compression, and have had conversations with many OTT providers, asking them what they think of solutions currently on the market. Unfortunately, there appears to be a lot of confusion, mostly as a result of vendors not educating content owners and the industry on the technology, ROI, cost savings, and impact on workflow amongst a host of other subjects.
The Information Black Hole
Visiting the websites of many of the vendors provides little detail on use cases, case studies, target demographics, cost savings, technical white papers and customers. Instead, many companies simply highlight how many patents they have, make claims of compression savings, have nice generic workflow diagrams, use marketing buzzwords and all say how good their quality is. With some vendors’ websites, it is not clear whether they offer a service, a technology, a platform or a device. There appear to be no reports from third-party companies to back up claims that many of them make, which makes it hard for everyone to judge their solutions. We have yet to see any independent testing results from any vendor (except EuclidIQ) that compares their technology to others in the market, or even to traditional H. x /HEVC encoding.
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