Guest Blog: Bitmovin Says 80% of Our Streams are DASH

Editor’s Note: bitmovin is an Austrian company who built their business around the DASH format, including its cloud encoding service bitcodin (reviewed here), and its bitdash player. After reading the blog post DASH: The Most Popular Format (almost) No One is Using, which reported that only about 1% of streams played by the JW Player were in the DASH format, bitmovin president Stefan Lederer requested the ability to respond. Here is his guest post, and the opinions expressed below are all Stefan’s. 

Thanks for the opportunity to respond to your post about DASH usage by JW Player licensees. First, as you point out, JW’s implementation has only been on the market for a few months. Twelve months from now, you’ll probably see an entirely different result among JW users.  

In addition, JW has been an HLS – first player, rather than a DASH-first player. Players that prioritize the DASH format obviously will have a much higher percentage of users and streams utilizing DASH. While our numbers are much smaller than JW’s, we have several large users, including genflix.co.idflimmit.comkronehit.tvsonostream.tv, who have been using DASH for the last 12 months. Of our total user base, over 80% percent of streams are DASH.

While JW is undoubtedly the market leader, they are just dipping their toes in the DASH-space, so their player isn’t as well featured from a DASH-perspective as some others. For example our bitdash player (http://www.dash-player.com), supports multiple DRM system, captions for live and VOD, multi-caption and multi-audio, live streaming with timeshift/DVR, Firefox, HEVC for Microsoft Edge, all features not available in the JW Player for DASH (editor’s note: I have not verified these claims). 

On JW’s assertion that HLS will lead the MSE-charge, we simply disagree, for the simple reason: having a JavaScript HLS player could help here, but in this case one would have to do the transmultiplexing from MPEG2-TS to MP4/IBMFF in JavaScript on the client, which is performance-intensive and thus battery-consuming, especially when it comes to higher bitrates.

On the bitmovin side, we see most of our customers going for DASH + HLS combined. This is the best way to serve all types of devices in the best way, i.e. using DASH for HTML5 MSE-enabled browsers – which are already the majority – and in our Flash fallback for older browsers, and HLS on iOS devices which do not support anything else. Based on this, the viewers of our customers typically consume 80-90 % MPEG-DASH and 10-20 % HLS streams, depending on their country.

When it comes to studio/Hollywood/premium content with DRM protection, one really has to use MPEG-DASH today for most platforms – using MPEG-CENC with Widevine Modular and Playready, etc. using the HTML5 EME – and HLS with FairPlay for iOS/Safari (as it is not supported anywhere else). HLS alone is not suitable to reach the majority of platforms with DRM protected content, simply because it’s not compatible to the HTML5 EME and MPEG-CENC ecosystem. 

About Jan Ozer

I help companies train new technical hires in streaming media-related positions; I also help companies optimize their codec selections and encoding stacks, and evaluate new encoders and codecs.

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