Are you ready for FullHD videos on the web ? (part II)
I thinked to post this second part of my FullHD experiment a few days after the first part, but I have been completely absorbed by some projects regarding HD encoding.
First of all I want to comment on my previous experiment trying to give an answer to my question: Are we really ready for efficient HD video on the web ?
Indeed a lot of surfers mailed me sharing their user experence. It seems that when streaming a Full HD content trying to guarantee an high quality of service is a very difficult task. Full HD content decoding requires a very fast computer, a good video card, a good connection and a big monitor.
It seems that windows xp computers are the best performers when talking about dropped frames and general decoding performance. With a 2GHz core duo processor the quality and performance are very good. Sometime I found some strange problems in full screen performance, probably because of video card’s driver. Windows Vista absorbs a little more power and shows some strange behaviors at full-screen (on some systems). The strangest behaviour is on Mac. A lot of surfer reported me a number of problems, expecially poor performance. Only the more powerful models played the sample video smoothly… may be some problems in Flash Player’s implementation on Mac ? I dont’ know.
The required bandwidth is an issue too but not the most important. When you rise the required bandwidth you progressively reduce the number of internet users that can watch your video without problems. Unfortunately it is not only an issue of bandwidth cost but of service consistency. But in this case, achieving FullHD video at only 1.5-2Mbit/s bitrate is very very good.
The last notice is around the user’s display. From my blog’s log I have found that only a 30% of the visitors can fully appreciate a Full HD video on their monitor and how many people has a Full HD TV ?
In conclusion I think that today, we are not ready to deliver Full HD at a reasonable amount of clients with an high quality of service. Probably only a 15-20% of the audio will be able to receive and decode the stream without problems. A too low number.
On the other hand, I demostrated that today it is possible to deliver HD streams much more efficiently. In this case the audience rise well over the 50-60% (remember that the Flash Player 9 update 3, required for such challenge, has now a penetration of 80%).
Obviously this is only a temporary condition because every month the installed processing power and the available bandwidth rise substantially. Therefore the era of Full HD video on the web is only posponed…