We expect some big changes in the video industry, and specifically in live streaming this coming year.
1) 4K streaming becomes common
In 2018, 4K live streaming will become more of a norm. As one analyst puts it, “4K is now formally, concretely, and fully here to stay.” As internet speeds increase and video compression advances, this shift is inevitable. H.265 is expected to deliver 4K video at 15-20 Mbps (megabits per second), a speed that many home broadband internet connections can support.
Last year, we predicted that 4K video would begin to emerge as a trend in the broadcast movement in 2017. That prediction has come true. On-demand video providers like Netflix and Amazon are already offering 4K content. YouTube also distributes in 4K, and many other broadcasters are coming on board.
If you’re a big broadcaster, you probably already have a plan for 4K. If you’re a bit smaller, it’s time to start planning. The world of content is changing, and we all have to adapt if we want to keep up.
2) Virtual reality, especially VR streaming, is becoming more widespread
VR refers to a wide range of technologies around video. The most common implementation is a headset that allows a user to “look around” inside a video or generated environment (like a video game). These headsets finally became widely and more than 12 million units were sold.
VR video is likely to be the future platform of choice. In the meantime, 360° video is a bridge technology that is coming into its own. At DaCast we support 360° streaming if your chosen video player, camera and encoder can support the format.
NBA games are now available via NBA League Pass and NextVR. In 2018, more video players, web browsers, computers, and providers will be adding support for this technology.
Gaming is likely to be one of the first areas to truly harness this technology.
Sony’s PlayStation-branded VR headset has already surpassed Oculus and HTC VR platforms. Look for more video pioneers to experiment and break new ground in VR streaming in the coming year.
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3) We’ll do it live-a new chapter in YouTube’s live stream
YouTube mobile live streaming will be baked right into the core YouTube mobile app. You won’t need to open anything else, just hit the big red capture button right there in the corner, take or select a photo to use as a thumbnail, and you can broadcast live to your fans and chat in near real time.
Because it’s built right into the YouTube app, mobile live streaming will have all the features your regular videos have-We think this will offer you an entirely new, more intimate and spontaneous way to share your experiences with your communities.you’ll be able to search for them, find them through recommendations and playlists and protect them from unauthorized uses. And since it uses YouTube’s peerless infrastructure, it’ll be faster and more reliable than anything else out there.
4) HTML5 video supplanting Flash entirely
The roots of Flash go back nearly two decades. Using Flash for video tends to require greater battery and processing power compared to HTML5 video. Flash has also been plagued with major security vulnerabilities for years. Thus, major companies have backed away from Flash. Neither iOS nor Android support Flash formats. The Chrome browser has also pretty much dropped support for Flash. More and more CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) are following suit.
Rising in Flash’s stead will be HTML5. HTML5 video is simply more lightweight, faster, secure, and compatible. It’s also open source, which is a big plus for many users.
5) Video trend: HDR/HFR is becoming the norm
In 2018, both HDR and HFR will become increasingly common. They are increasingly supported on 4K TVs and monitors that are becoming the default display technology.
This is partially enabled because HEVC and other next-gen compression standards make it possible to pack the extra data required for HDR or HFR into manageable file sizes. Over the coming year these technologies will begin to creep into more broadcasts and live streams. HDR (High Dynamic Range) is a technology that allows screens to display a wider range of tones, from bright to black. Whites are whiter, and blacks blacker. In between, there’s more detail captured.
High definition video doesn’t support HDR. However, 4K UHD (Ultra High Definition) video supports a wider dynamic range. These images appear much more life-like.
HFR, or High Frame Rate, isn’t a new technology, but it’s use is becoming more common. Traditionally HFR video has been used for sports. Delivering video at 60 or more fps (frames per second) makes motion crisp—and allows slow-motion replays. However, the effect’s usefulness isn’t limited to just sports. Some visual studies have shown that frame rates from 60-80 fps and higher result in a more life-like, clear, and smooth video.
6) Should Live Streaming be a part of your Social Strategy ?
We’ve steadily seen video take a higher rank in useful marketing tools over the last few years, and last year, the rise in popularity of livestreaming changed the game for marketers. Rather than having carefully scripted and recorded videos, you stream in real time, mistakes and all. People love the spontaneity of livestreaming, and brands are finding it a viable marketing tool.
So where does livestreaming fit in for you this year? What do you need to know?
First, is Your Audience There?
Livestreaming audiences tend to be younger (under 30), depending on the channel. And there are a lot of livestreaming channels right now (and counting): Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Twitch, and Periscope are just a few of the current livestreaming sites.
So it’s important to know your audience and determine which channels they’ll use. For example, my 12-year-old son thinks Facebook is for old people like me, so he prefers Twitch and YouTube for his livestreaming needs. Knowing you won’t reach the teen segment on Facebook is important if you’re considering livestreaming as a strategy.
What Do People Want to Watch?
I think we’re moving away from the voyeuristic desire to watch people do ordinary things on video. As it pertains to brands, here are some strategies that are successfully attracting audiences:
Question and answer sessions with a company representative
- Product demos
- Streaming live events
- Product launches
- Takeovers by influencers
You’re really only limited by your own creativity. Keep your audience in mind, and consider what sorts of content is resonating with them elsewhere. If people love your funny Friday Facebook posts where you share photos of your company hide-and-seek event, maybe try livestreaming it to see if you get any play that way.
Perks of Livestreaming
The cool thing about livestreaming is that it lives beyond the moment. So if you stream for 20 minutes on Facebook, that video will be archived under your videos on your company page, and people can continue to enjoy it over time.
Another perk is that people who wouldn’t otherwise know about your brand can find you through livestreaming. You have the potential to expand your reach with very little effort (and zero investment).
Livestreaming is definitely worth consideration as you amp up this year’s marketing strategy. It plays so nicely with social media and other aspects of your marketing!
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