In another great talk from Demuxed 2018, Steve Robertson from YouTube sheds light on trials they have been running, some with Machine Learning, to understand viewer’s appreciation of quality. Tests involve profiling the ways – and hence environments – users watch in, using different UIs, occasionally resetting a quality level preference and others. Some had big effects, whilst others didn’t.
The end-game here is acknowledging that mobile data costs money for consumers, but clearly YouTube would like to reduce their bandwidth costs too. So when quality is not needed, don’t supply it.
The talk starts with a brief AV1 update, YouTube being an early adopter of it in production.