As we’re slowly coming to grips with the pandemic, certain effects of the global lockdown have lingered. For example, in the wake of COVID, OTT streaming services continue to grow in popularity. Providers fight for eyeballs by offering 4K quality, immersive sound, and access to fresh content. The insane demand for unrestrained availability and quality of streaming content puts enormous pressure on broadcasters, pushed to build scalable and reliable video streaming infrastructure that caters to the ever-growing needs of viewers – different devices, screens, and connection speeds. 


OTT deployment in the cloud is cited among the key solutions to this complexity. This article will discuss the benefits of OTT deployment in the cloud. But first things first.


The challenges of traditional OTT deployment

Today’s broadcasters are increasingly looking at building streaming infrastructure in the cloud, to ensure service continuity and offer a better viewing experience for the end-users. This is mainly because traditional architecture presents several obstacles to meeting the fast-moving needs of today’s OTT video consumers. 


Among other things, the TV experience is becoming increasingly app-driven. This presents a slew of challenges for broadcasters, pay-TV providers and content providers, and providing apps at scale to the millions of installed set-top boxes, and all devices going forward.

Extending OTT devices’ lifetime

No matter how advanced an OTT device is, it will inevitably become obsolete at some point in time. This can mainly result from the lack of software support, running out of free storage for new apps, or just. Once the device is abandoned and ultimately forgotten by its manufacturers, there will be no software updates to ensure the stability and security of the platform. This is where the cloud comes into play, granting the device a second life.

Deploying to traditional hardware-based infrastructure is slow

The planning, testing, and deployment at the scale of traditional hardware-based video infrastructure can take months – if not years – combined. Time-to-market is essential in such a competitive industry as video streaming. To win a share of the market, organizations that want to deliver new offerings in weeks rather than months or years must measure time-to-market for new offerings as competition increases and innovation speeds up. 


Hardware is costly to upgrade and maintain

Before a single second of video can be utilized, a traditional workflow architecture can cost millions of dollars to acquire and integrate. Costs accumulate when redundant infrastructure provides high-availability failover. As OTT innovations advance at a faster rate, dedicated video hardware’s useful life is shortened, resulting in a more frequent need to upgrade equipment. With a longer lifetime of OTT devices, operators can save substantial money – make the most out of their content partnerships while not upgrading the set-top boxes as frequently.

Hardware is… hard to scale

Predicting the volume of viewers that an OTT video workflow must support, regardless of whether it is life or VOD, is more critical than ever. A lack of sufficient equipment to cope with peak processing demands or an inability to scale with viewership can cause service failures that result in blank screens and frustrated users. Overprovisioned infrastructure wastes money that could have been spent elsewhere on depreciating assets. 

Hardware is difficult to adapt

Video workflows need to support an ever-increasing number of standards and protocols as a result of the expansion of end-user devices and the fast pace of change in video. The ability to manage video assets can become increasingly complex as video production standards evolve from HD to 4K UHD. In order to handle this data efficiently, a video workflow must be able to handle an increasing amount of data. 


For example, newly emerging standards such as fMP4 and CMAF for HLS and DASH are being supported by the industry and will affect millions of devices worldwide. It may be necessary to upgrade hardware-based video workflows, and even to refresh the entire infrastructure, to keep video services up to date. 


Video service providers switching to OTT deployment


The challenges mentioned above are almost completely gone with OTT app deployment in the cloud. Operators can install OTT apps in the cloud and deliver them to any device (mostly) regardless of its capabilities by using cloud-based OTT app virtualization. The OTT app always runs smoothly as it’s virtualized in the cloud, always up-to-date, and optimized by the provider.


In terms of end-to-end security, the DRM processes are still happening on the device, but the application is virtualized, providing a whole host of advantages for both user experience and operator scalability.


Here are a few reasons why service providers want to switch:

  • Faster updates. As far as speed, responsiveness, and cost optimization are concerned, cloud deployment offers significant benefits. Operators are known for lengthy development cycles and are slow to implement apps natively across their roster of set-tops. With cloud deployment, however, as all the heavy lifting is performed in the cloud, operators can add and update applications much quicker, shortening the time to market compared to traditional set-top software development cycles. Apps are installed without the limitations imposed by hardware. And, of course, cloud-based apps don’t occupy space on the end device, so there is no technical limitation to how many apps can be installed.
  • Performance. With almost unlimited power under the hood, cloud-deployed applications are simply blazing-fast.
  • Better monitoring and analytics: The user experience can be better controlled and monitored without the need for access to the set-top box. In addition to providing greater visibility into latency and startup time, the overall user experience can be improved. You can benchmark performance and ensure OTT video delivery at the highest standards in the industry by using the data and statistics generated in the cloud.
  • Device management. Apps deployed from the cloud allow fuller device management. The operator can freely control access or switch specific applications on and off to meet specific licensing or business requirements.
  • Focus on your business, not on maintaining complex technology. With cloud-based OTT, businesses can focus on delivering high-quality content for their audience instead of worrying about hardware, technical issues, or infrastructure scaling using cloud-based platforms.


Applications deployed in the cloud are faster and more reliable as they run in a more reliable operating environment. 


What are the benefits of cloud-native OTT platforms?

Cloud-native OTT systems that support end-to-end video streaming may enable enterprises to refocus their efforts on essential business objectives. Brands can simply submit videos to their OVP platform and provide VOD or live streaming content directly to their audience at a low cost with a few adjustments.


Cloud-based OTT platforms also provide brands with complete control over distribution. Broadcasters, for example, can utilize a white-label video player to customize the viewing experience and keep it consistent with their brand. Enterprises can also use comprehensive video APIs to integrate video content and cloud streaming features into their mobile apps, websites, and other applications.


Finally, OTT video streaming services are great for brands that want to create professional VOD and live broadcasting workflows without worrying about on-premise infrastructure or other technical needs.


In order to support core business objectives, companies can invest in cloud OTT platforms with end-to-end video streaming capabilities. That way, brands can simply upload videos to their OVP platform and, with a few configurations, deliver VOD or live streaming content directly to their audience at an affordable price.


Getting started with OTT deployment

Unburdened by the technologies, and many inherent compromises of hardware-based infrastructure, broadcasters can use cloud OTT deployment to build reliable services and distribute them in no time across all their devices. 


The benefits of cloud deployment are plenty – but foremost it unlocks flexible, cost-efficient, high-quality infrastructure. Many of today’s established media organizations are accelerating their transition away from traditional infrastructure to tap into the advantages afforded by the cloud for their OTT services


With video processing and delivery in the cloud, these innovators are ready to compete on a level playing field where success is achieved through business agility, service innovation, and competitive differentiation. 


Have questions about OTT app deployment or are Interested in launching your own? Send us a message – our experts will be happy to discuss your project, helping you assess the services you need to become a future-proof and truly cloud-native OTT content provider. With the support of the BSG development team, you can push the envelope of content, OTT service models, and viewing experiences.