If you follow this blog, you know we’ve mentioned before working with innovative customers to create a creative way to track video Quality of Service (QoS) metrics and make sense of them.
It’s exciting therefore to share that now anyone and everyone can track video QoS in Radar.
Video is fundamentally different to a lot of other online content: not only is it huge (projections are that in the next four or five years video will make up as much as 80% of Internet traffic), it is inherently synchronous. Put another way, your customer might not notice if a page takes an extra second or two to load, but they surely notice if their favorite prime time show keeps stalling out and showing the re-buffering spinner. So our new Performance Report focuses on the key elements that matter to viewers, specifically:
- Response Time: how long it takes the content source to respond to a request from the intended viewer. Longer is worse!
- Re-Buffering Ratio: the share of viewing time spent with the content stalled, the viewer frustrated, and the player trying to catch up. Lower is better!
- Throughput: the speed at which chunks of the video are being delivered to the player after request. Faster is better!
- Video Start Time: how long it takes for the video to start after viewer request. Shorter is better!
- Video Start Failures:the percentage of requested video playbacks that simply never start. Lower is better!
- Bitrate: the actual bitrate experienced by the viewer (bitrate is a pretty solid proxy for picture quality, as the larger the bitrate, the higher the likely resolution of the video). In this case, higher or lower may be better, depending on your KPIs.
Once you enable the tag for your account and add it to your video-bearing pages (see below), you’ll be able to track all these for your site. And, as with all Radar reports, you can slice and dice the results in all sorts of different ways to get a solid picture of how your service is doing, video-wise. Analyses might include:
- How do my CDNs compare at different times of day, in different locations, or on different kinds of device?
- What is the statistical distribution of service provided through my clouds? Does general consistency hide big peaks and valleys, or is service generally within a tight boundary?
- What is the impact of throughput fluctuations to bitrates, video start times, or re-buffering ratios? What should I be focused on to improve my service for my unique audience?
In no time, you’ll have a deep and clear sense of what’s going on with video delivered through your HTML5 player, and be able to extrapolate this to make key decisions on CDN partnering, cloud distribution, and global server load balancing solutions. The ability to really dig down into things like device type and OS – as well as the more expected geography, time, delivery platform, and so forth – means you’ll be able to isolate issues that are not, in fact, delivery-related: for instance, it is possible to see a dip in quality and assume it’s cloud-related, only to discover, in drilling down, that the drop occurs on only one particular device/OS combination, and thus uncover a hiccup in a new product release.
So here’s the scoop. Collecting these QoS metrics isn’t just easy – it’s free, just like our other Radar real user measurements. With the video QoS, you’ll be tracking your own visitors’ experiences, and be able to compare them over time.
The tag works with HTML5 players, running in a browser, and it’s unsurprisingly takes a bit more planning to implement than our standard tag, so you’ll likely want to drop us a line to get started. We’ll be delighted to help you get this up and running – just contact us by going to your Portal and navigating to Impact -> Video Playback Data, then clicking the Contact button..