Benefits and Challenges of Video Streaming Testing
Why Video Stream Testing Matters
While many companies have suffered in a year of lockdown and restrictions, some industries have seen significant growth — the OTT (over the top) video streaming segment is one of them.
Since March of 2020, millions of people have not just been working at home, they have been playing at home too. At-home entertainment has been delivered through televisions, computers, phones, and gaming devices. And while the popularity of these platforms for entertainment obviously existed before 2020, the COVID crisis has elevated the technology to an unprecedented level. People have become reliant on streaming for content that is constant, fluid, and a break from the disruption that the pandemic has caused.
Consequently, when something goes wrong, the failure is magnified, highlighting why video stream testing has become just as important as the platform and the software delivering it.
What Streaming Video Growth Looks Like
Even before the pandemic, the number of streaming video users was surging. And the growth is projected to continue significantly through 2025.
- Revenue in the Video Streaming (SVoD) segment is expected to reach $71.2 Billion in 2021.
- Revenue is projected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2021-2025) of 11.04%, resulting in an estimated market volume of $108.3 Billion by 2025.
- User penetration will be 14.3% in 2021 and is expected to hit 18.2% by 2025.
- The average revenue per user (ARPU) is expected to be approximately $66.29.
- In global comparison, most revenue will be generated in the United States ($32 Billion in 2021).
Considering these statistics, it’s important to understand what kinds of OTT streaming content is involved because along with the growth in users, there is also growth in streaming video testing needs based on which delivery device or service is used.
The growing number of streaming video platforms and services is reflected in acronyms like VOD, SVoD, TVoD, and AVoD. Each represent viable options for delivering content, and while they have their similarities, they also have their own streaming video testing challenges.
Let’s break them down.
- SVoD: Subscription video on demand refers to OTT monetized streaming video delivery through subscriptions like Hulu, HBO, Netflix, Disney, Amazon, and Apple TV, and many more. SVoD is expected to rise from 199 million subscribers as of August 2020 to 307 million subscribers by 2025.
- TVoD: Transactional video on demand refers to the purchase or rental of a piece of content. TVoD is often a supplement to the OTT SVoD but can be used by users who are not subscribers. Examples include Amazon Video or Google Play. In the case of live events like sports or music entertainment, TVOD also refers to Pay-Per-View (PPV).
- AVoD: Advertising-based video-on-demand refers to channels like YouTube, Vimeo, or RokuTV. AVoD targets a large audience or following as the service is typically free and relies on individual ad views and requires large volumes for a successful revenue stream.
We’re seeing five times more OTT channels being created now than this time last year, and those channels are seeing 20 times more subscribers — Anjali Sud, CEO, Vimeo
Along with the variety of channels, there are also different devices — each with different user priorities. Companies that deliver content need to take it all into consideration as they develop goals and operational strategies to ensure content reaches each user seamlessly.
What are the Goals and Why Video Stream Testing is Vital
As a user, you expect a flawless experience with no interruptions no matter what service you are using or platform you are on. That expectation means for the businesses providing the content, the goal is lofty, and the risk of subscriber churn is huge.
The goal is to deliver as close to perfection as possible and video stream testing is a vital part of that strategy. However, understanding what you can control in streaming testing is key in understanding how you can address the issues.
Let’s look at some of the common failures that we can test.
Top 10 reasons to Employ Video Streaming Testing
- Excessive buffering
- Programmed ads do not play
- Failure to return to video after ad playback
- Device orientation
- Scrubbing (Rewind/Fast Forward) does not work
- Closed Captions do not display
- Incorrect video plays
- Incorrect meta-data displays
- Poor video: Some testing can be done to ensure that the content is meeting maximum capabilities for delivery, but depending on many variables, achieving and measuring video quality can be challenging if not impossible based on the subjectivity of the user.
- Poor audio quality: The same subjectivity for video quality can be applied to audio as well.
Along with these top 10 common failures, there are some components that require testing and are often overlooked. A robust video streaming testing strategy should study and address the following:
- Ad counters
- Video player controls
- Slow connection testing
- Incorrect meta-data
- Closed Captions
So, with all that could go wrong, how can you make sure video stream testing will capture everything?
Start with implementing a third-party testing plan which is more likely to uncover bugs your internal teams miss.
At QualityLogic, we take a comprehensive approach that covers everything from test engineering and platform testing to bandwidth and network interruptions, but maybe the most important aspect of testing is based on the user perspective. The success of testing is knowing exactly how the user is experiencing the content.
The following is what our approach offers and what we think is critical in providing a well-rounded video stream testing strategy that finds system defects before your customers do.
Test Engineering Function and Features
We are experts at translating your specifications into functional test cases that exercise all your system features.
We test your software on a large variety of OTT platforms: Android TVs, AppleTV Generations 2/3/4, Roku, FireTV, Xbox360, and more.
Maximum Video Performance
Be sure your video playback is smooth with high image quality, adapts to available bandwidth, and recovers from network interruptions.
Testing from a User’s Perspective
We’ll verify that streaming accessibility, audio track synchronization and separation, and user pause, resume, and seek all function flawlessly.
Testing that is Smart, Exhaustive, and Uses the Most Up-to-date Tools
This video stream testing approach generates an extensive range of test cases from functional specs to verify every aspect of the product including:
- Precision verification of the design specification against actual app features.
- Test plan with cases that address every feature against exacting success requirements.
- Distribution of tests over a wide range of OS/platform combinations to ensure functionality is verified in the software and at the system level.
- Immediate reporting of test results through the test management and defect tracking system.
- Integrated defect regression testing.
In order to capture the right results, you need to utilize the most up-to-date tools.
So, with 2020 behind us and a hopeful future ahead, we will continue to make sure that the complications of systems, platforms, and tools provide an unremarkable delivery for the remarkable entertainment your customer demands. Additionally, our continued focus will be on ensuring that as the OTT digital streaming arena grows, you can grow along with it confident in your ability to deliver a seamless experience for all users no matter the platform, the software, or the system.
While you deliver the content, we will provide the video stream testing to keep your development team reassured and your customer delighted.
With a quick, informal call, we can help you assess your options and clear the clutter or quell the chaos for the straightest line to success.