As it stands, the US is one of the most expensive places in the world to get internet. One in four homes are unable to get broadband-level speeds necessary for effective streaming, while the Federal Communications Commission continues to do awaywith plans to make high-speed Internet more affordable, writes Phenix Co-founder and CEO Dr Stefan Birrer.

Internet service providers (ISPs) can bid to expand service to rural areas, but there’s no set speed standard established that they need to meet.

Dr Stefan Birrer

Dr Stefan Birrer

The current state of the internet, coupled with today’s streaming video providers desperately trying to address and fix issues like latency, buffering and devices that are all out of sync, result in disappointing live-content viewing experiences. We haven’t yet been able to overcome the most fundamental aspect of live-streaming – one that is high-quality and in real-time – making it challenging to accept claims that the ‘future of streaming’ is here.

In fact, these issues are so widespread that nearly three-quarters of fans anticipaterunning into them when watching a live stream, especially during sports games, where a real-time experience is vital. These streaming issues impact viewers’ willingness to watch and invest in subscriptions, where 63 percent of viewers are reluctant to sign up or re-subscribe to sports live streaming platforms this year.

Fans are clamouringfor live-streaming to finally reach its true potential. Amazon,Facebookand Verizon, among other tech giants, are staking their claims in the live-streaming game. However, rampant latency issues continue to prevail, especially during high-pressure sports games, resulting in angry consumer backlash.

The evolution of streaming is less about hardware and big-screen TVs, and more about back-end technology that supports live-streaming anywhere, in real-time, without data limits, throttling, and lag. Better live streaming technology is set to be the main avenue for providers to expand their reach, connect with new audiences, and ultimately design new amenities for how content can be viewed, rewound, shared, discussed, and customized. This means working on enabling streaming to millions of concurrent viewers while reducing operating bandwidth costs and avoiding traffic bottlenecks.

The Streaming Wars are on. Providers are competingfor viewers and their precious subscriber dollars, and when consumers are only willing to spend a limited amount, only the highest-quality presentations delivering the greatest user experience will stand a chance of survival in the long term.

At IBC, we’ll see how faster, more dependable real-time streaming is laying the groundwork for more interaction, which leads to increased customer engagement and revenue. Allowing an infinite number of concurrent users to seamlessly watch any live content at the same time, regardless of location, device or OS, is critical for the success of this industry.

Phenix’s announcement of our Adaptive Bitrate technology for real-time that allows each viewer to receive the best quality stream based on current connection speed demonstrates moves to provide this universality. The industry needs to establish the next generation of content viewing – and the time for real-time is now.

Dr Stefan Birrer is Co-found and CEO at Phenix

IBC2018 Phenix are exhibiting at IBC2018 on Stand 14.B29