Quality of Experience (QoE) has a wider meaning than Quality of Service (QoS) even though viewers have a worse time if either are impacted. What’s the difference and how are companies trying to deal with maximising enjoyment of their services? This panel from Streaming Media brings together Akamai’s Will Law, Robert Colantuoni from Disney Streaming Services, CJ Harvey from HBO Max. and Ian Greenblatt from JD Power detail the nuances of Quality of Experience.
The panel starts by outlining some of the differences between QoS and QoE. Ian explains that QoE is about the whole experience of the UI, recommendations, search, rebuffering and much more. QoS can impact QoE but is restricted to the success of the delivery the stream itself. QoS measures impairments such as rebuffering, macroblocking, video quality, time to play etc. Whilst poor QoS will usually reduce QoE, there’s a lot that a well-written player can do to mitigate the effects of QoS. Having good QoE is ensuring the viewer can put trust in each of their ‘clicks’, that they will know what will happen and won’t have to wait.
Measuring QoE is not without its challenges, afterall what should you measure? Rebuffering measured second-to-second gives you different results than measuring over 10-second windows. Will Law highlighted CTA 2066 which is a free specification. There is also a QoE best practices white paper from Akamai.
“Multi-CDN is the new norm” declares Will Law, as the conversation turns to how players should deal with CDN selection. The challenge is to be picking for the CDN which works best for the user. Robert points out that a great CDN in one geography may not perform so well in another. A player making a ping-based choice at the beginning of playback is going to make a much worse choice overall than a player which samples each CDN in turn and continues to pick the best. This needs to be done carefully though, giving each CDN time to warm up and usefully affect its pre-fetch capabilities.
Where QoE raises itself over QoS is in questions of perception. A good player will not simply target high bitrate, but take in to account colour volume depth, resolution and device to name but three.
There are plenty of questions from the audience covering load balancers, jarring changes between sharp, high budget productions and old episodes of 4:3 TV dramas plus a look-ahead to the next two years of streaming.
Chief Architect, Edge Technology Group,
VP Product Management,
Content Distribution Performance Architect,
Disney Streaming Services
Moderator: Tim Siglin