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Revolutionizing Media Delivery: 5G-MAG & Dash.js

Revolutionizing Media Delivery – 5G-MAG and Dash-js

Based on the “Voices of Video” episode ‘Streaming into the Future: Open-Source Innovation in Media’ with Daniel Silhavy from Fraunhofer FOKUS, this article takes us to the fascinating world of open-source innovation. Discover how tools like dash.js and 5G-MAG reference implementations revolutionize media consumption. If you’re a developer or intrigued by the latest media technology, learn why these innovations matter and how they’re set to transform our viewing experience.

Understanding dash.js and Its Evolution

Dash.js began as a reference client for the DASH Industry Forum, closely aligning with DASH specifications and IOP guidelines. This collaboration between developers and spec writers ensures both parties benefit—developers gain insights into platform capabilities, while spec writers get real-world feedback. Dash.js isn’t just a theoretical tool; it’s the backbone of major streaming services like BBC iPlayer and Deutsche Telekom’s MagentaTV. These applications highlight dash.js’s reliability and efficiency, making it a trusted component in commercial media streaming. 

Researchers and developers love dash.js because it is open-source, allowing extensive experimentation. Whether implementing new algorithms or comparing different quality selection methods, dash.js provides a robust platform for academic and practical advancements. Dash.js thrives on community contributions and financial backing from DASH-IF. This support ensures continuous improvement and stability, making it a reliable tool for media streaming. Contributions from industry giants further enhance its features, creating a collaborative ecosystem where everyone benefits

Exploring Key Features in dash.js

Dash.js powers some of the most popular streaming services, ensuring smooth and seamless viewing experiences. Its widespread adoption underscores its reliability and versatility in real-world applications. 

The upcoming version 5 of dash.js promises robust improvements, including better ABR decisioning and enhanced throughput calculations. These advancements make your viewing experience smoother by optimizing performance under various conditions. One standout feature is adaptation set switching, which allows dash.js to switch seamlessly between codecs like H.264 and HEVC, ensuring viewers get the best possible quality without interruptions. Additionally, dash.js now supports different encryption keys for various quality levels, ensuring robust DRM. This means your high-definition content remains protected while delivering top-notch quality to viewers. By adopting a new XML parser, dash.js significantly speeds up the processing of large manifest files, ensuring smooth streaming even on resource-constrained devices.

The Role of CMCD and CMSD in Media Streaming

Dash.js introduces intelligent data sharing with CMCD (Common Media Client Data) and CMSD (Common Media Server Data), allowing clients and servers to exchange vital metrics. This two-way communication enables the CDN to optimize its behavior, reducing the need for cache refreshes and ensuring smooth playback. CMSD helps manage bandwidth more effectively by providing real-time bitrate recommendations. This dynamic adjustment ensures all users get a fair share of the available bandwidth, optimizing the viewing experience. Combining CMCD and CMSD allows the server to prioritize clients based on their needs, ensuring smooth playback. This intelligent coordination leads to a more balanced and efficient streaming environment, which is why Apple’s latest WWDC AppleTV+ announcement said an update to HLS, including support for CMCD, is coming.

Implementing Content Steering in Media Streaming

Content steering in dash.js allows seamless transitions between different CDNs, ensuring uninterrupted viewing. By switching streams based on performance, this feature optimizes both redundancy and quality. Content steering monitors real-time data to direct clients to the best-performing CDN, avoiding outages and ensuring the highest possible quality. It supports DASH and HLS clients with a single response, simplifying the process. Implementing a single steering server for DASH and HLS clients eliminates the need to duplicate information, streamlines operations, and reduces complexity. Combining content steering with CMCD metrics allows for more informed decisions, optimizing streaming to avoid outages and enhance the overall user experience.

Speeding Up Playback with L3D DASH

L3D DASH aims to reduce playback startup times by including more frequent IDR frames in video segments. This lets players start playback almost immediately, improving the user experience significantly. Implementing L3D DASH requires extensive testing across various devices to ensure compatibility. Differences in device behavior necessitate thorough testing to ensure smooth and consistent performance.

Navigating Device Compatibility

Streaming services must balance supporting older devices with introducing new technologies. Historically, the goal was to support every possible device, but this often slowed innovation. Many services target support for 85% of the addressable device market. This strategy allows for innovation while still reaching the majority of users. Faster refresh cycles of consumer devices mean more consumers utilize modern devices, enabling services to introduce advanced features more confidently.

Unlocking the Potential of 5G Media Streaming

The 5G-MAG organization brings together stakeholders to work on media-related topics in 5G, ensuring a standardized and innovative approach to 5G media streaming. 5G media streaming leverages the capabilities of 5G to offer smarter, more efficient content delivery. This approach integrates tightly with the 5G system, enhancing media consumption. Features like consumption reporting and dynamic broadcast enable more efficient content delivery. 5G can broadcast content to multiple devices, reducing network load and improving user experience

Implementing 5G Media Streaming Innovations

Metrics reporting in 5G media streaming allows tighter integration and optimization based on real-time data, enhancing the streaming experience. The 5G network can provide real-time recommendations and prioritize clients to ensure smooth playback, something not possible with standard OTT streaming. 5G media streaming offers dynamic policies to guarantee bandwidth reliability and service latency, ensuring optimal performance for users. 5G-MAG reference tools incorporate advanced features, leveraging existing open-source projects to meet the extensive requirements of the 5G system.

Embracing the innovations

The future of media streaming lies in the seamless integration of advanced technologies like dash.js and 5G media streaming. By combining open standards with open-source tools, these innovations ensure a robust and efficient streaming experience. Whether it’s reducing playback startup times with L3D DASH, optimizing data sharing with CMCD and CMSD, or enhancing media consumption with 5G, these advancements are set to revolutionize how we consume media. Embrace these innovations to stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of media streaming. Explore more about these groundbreaking advancements in media streaming. Watch the full episode of Voices of Video with Daniel Silhavy here!

Picture of Mark Donnigan

Mark Donnigan

is a veteran of the video ecosystem, working with disruptive innovation companies like NETINT to increase video codec standards and streaming video technology adoption. In addition to working at the forefront of building one of the world's first T-VOD services and driving early HEVC and AV1 adoption, Mark contributed actively to the development and growth of the digital locker initiative, Ultraviolet, breaking device-based content walled gardens, allowing consumers to enjoy video on any device, any time, and in any location. As a technologist and ecosystem developer, Mark's work building cloud-deployed and hyper-scale WebRTC, live, metaverse, and cloud gaming applications gives him a unique view of the OTT and video streaming landscape.


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