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Winter 2019
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Can Streaming Video Quality Be Too High? Yes, Says Brightcove
In a Streaming Forum panel discussion, Brightcove tells of a movie chain that wanted such high quality that not everyone could view it.
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As the video world moves on to 4K and 8K resolution video, it's time to ask when streaming quality can be too high. Speaking at the recent Streaming Forum conference in London, Luke Gaydon, vice president of media, EMEA, for Brightcove, remembered a customer that wanted stunning quality at the expense of actually being watched.

"We work with a cinema chain who do very high-end films -- they're a small, independent chain -- and we provided them with some advice and guidance around what their encoding setup should be in order to give the best possible user experience for the broadest number of people. And they ignored them completely because they did not want their content to be seen unless it was seen at absolutely the best possible quality," Gaydon recalled. "That meant that somebody who didn't have a good enough internet connection or a good enough device was going to get a lousy experience."

While movie purists might not like the idea of viewers watching low-resolution video on small screens, at least those viewers can see the video. When companies forget about weaker connections, they exclude a large group of viewers. But posting video quickly also involves quality trade-offs.

"They didn't care, because they only wanted it to be seen if it was going to be watched in absolute HD," Gaydon said. "On the other hand, if the importance is getting something out as quickly as possible, then you're going to sacrifice a little bit of quality for speed if you have a breaking news story."

For more on online video quality, watch the full discussion below.

Is HD the Real End of the Line for Quality?

UltraHD, H.265, 3D, 8K ... what’s the point? Are these new resolutions and formats simply technology for technology’s sake? If you can already watch great content on all your devices in great quality, is there an appetite for more? Panellists argue for and against going higher than high definition.

Presenters Luke Gaydon, Vice President of Media, EMEA,, Brightcove

Phil Haggar, Founder, Jukwa

Maria Ingold, Technical Consultant, Mireality

Genevieve Smith, Digital Marketing and Content Manager, BAFTA

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