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Streaming Forum 14: MPEG-DASH Is the ‘Young Turk’ of Online Video
The promising format is already splintering. Cisco, Akamai, the BBC, and Qualcomm offer hope for a standardized, unified approach.

Could MPEG-DASH be the one online video format to replace all others? In a Streaming Forum 2014 panel on the much-hyped format heavyweights including Cisco, Akamai, the BBC, and Qualcomm offered a shared hope that the industry could standardize behind DASH.

“To me, it’s the young Turk,” said Kevin Murray, system architect for Cisco, comparing DASH to HLS. Broadcasters are slowly centralizing on both options, he noted. DASH, however, lacks a maturity. The format still needs ubiquity (including the ability to play on iOS devices) and integration (DASH-IF needs to act as a gatekeeper). Keep it simple, Murray advised: A unified DASH is easier to deploy and test, and offers a better user experience.

Throughout the discussion, panelists balanced the need for standardization with the need to offer versions with special features. The format needs a consistency of choice or problems will show up, Murray said. “The way people do live differs,” he said, and so do the ways players support live video. Advertising video needs certain features that content video doesn’t. The solution needs a consistent framework that supports various options.

Murray added that his opinion was that DASH will give a better advertising and personal video viewing experience than whatever it will be measured against. He sees progress in how developers are working to improve the format.

Representing the BBC, Chris Poole, lead research engineer, also offered hope that DASH would stem the proliferation of media formats.

“DASH is a better technical solution,” Poole said. “We’re in a better position in 2014 to move forward with MPEG-DASH than we have been previously.”

Responding to an audience question from a BSkyB representative on splintering within DASH, Poole said that the finished product needs to be interoperable, but that playback doesn’t need to behave the same way on every device. Broadcasters and advertisers might prefer different approaches on different screens. The important thing is to have a core interoperable format. Developers can then build extensions onto that offer information to some browsers and not others.

Watch the full discussion:

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