A Lesson In Stream Failure: The Australian 2016 Olympics Live Stream
Over the opening weekend of the Rio 2016 Olympics, Australian sports fans have slammed Channel Seven, an Australian TV Station, over a “woeful” streaming experience. Viewers were promised free and paid ‘premium’ access for $20, to the live coverage and on-demand replays. Disappointingly, technical glitches plagued the streaming service with a multitude of issues.
As their mobile streaming app and website crashed, angry customers took to venting their frustration on Twitter. Behind the scenes, engineers must have tried to hash out work-arounds under high pressure from stressed out managers asking “Why?”
Design for Worst Case Scenarios when Planning to Live Stream
Live streaming video content successfully is an exercise in designing for the worst case scenario. For example stream failure or loss of service during a live stream tarnishes a brand’s image, damages the organisation’s reputation, disappoints viewers and leads to loss of current and prospective customers.
One poor streaming experience should not be a reason for you to deem that streaming isn’t right for your organisation or that you should change service providers. It should, however, make you question whether your live stream event had sufficient technical, budgetary and human resources.
Streaming from the point of video capture to the point of display on a viewer’s device requires successful integration of cloud services, adaptability for varying networks conditions and compatibility with all kinds of devices and platforms. Cloud services can fail and outages do happen, so your streaming solution must be designed with multiple redundancies in mind.
Top Tips to Avoid Stream Failure or Loss in Quality
Ensure your server can handle the expected load. High profile large scale live streams typically experience fluctuating traffic. There is a high risk of failure if there is a spike in traffic to your stream. Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) in front of the server reduces the load on the server to deliver video content reliably. If you’re already using a CDN, then bear in mind that not all CDN’s were created equally, for example, Akamai has a history of failing live streaming events.
Be redundant. Identify any single point of failure systems or servers and work out redundancy or failover strategies.
Check your stream is secure. Think about how you are handling the security of your stream. Illegal streamers can affect the quality of your stream by overloading your servers with traffic generated through re-streaming to overseas countries.
Monitor your stream and respond in real-time. Use real-time analytics to monitor the health of your live stream. You should be tracking the status of your live event through parameters such as stream latency, traffic load and how your server is handling traffic. It’s best to take action in real-time as you start noticing issues rather than taking action when you have stream failure or loss in quality.
Implementing the above tips could mean you have to resource more technology, people and time towards your live streaming event. It could also mean you have to consider a service provider that offers you a complete end-to-end solution. Both options are cheap compared to dealing with a failed or poor quality stream which has far more expensive consequences.
StreamShark excels at reliable video stream delivery for global reach. Sign up for a free trial of StreamShark and see for yourself. If you’re not certain about what you require to successfully stream your high profile live event, contact us and we’ll do our best to help you out.