April 12th, 2021
Over the years, many streaming video services have been deployed on iOS, Android, Desktop PC, Tizen, WebOS and proprietary platforms (e.g. Roku). One platform in particular, has been gaining market share behind the scenes, the Game Console.
Both Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation are now garnering more attention as more are being sold and their ability to host Streaming Applications has grown.
Consolidated Support for Gaming and Video Streaming
Video game consoles such as the PS5 will have top streaming apps pre-installed, which means that these devices are already designed for alternative media consumption, for example, PS5 includes Netflix, YouTube, Disney+, Spotify and others.
Another indicator towards consolidation of video game consoles with OTT video platforms is the creation of a multimedia controller for PS5. This new tool will improve the user’s experience on these devices by providing dedicated buttons that directly access streaming video Apps.
Newer generations of game consoles provide support for up to 8k UHD resolution and faster screen response time. These features are supported by more powerful processors than ordinarily found in Smart TVs and STBS. Demand by gamers for cutting edge performance requires state-of-the-art hardware that also benefits the multimedia experience.
In 2017, 88,6% of console owners were subscribed to at least one OTT service. This shows that the gaming consoles demographic is also interested in online video content. In addition, in many cases, it has been seen that gaming consoles are the primary method for accessing OTT video platforms. The use of gaming consoles as OTT platforms will continue to grow even more as new console generations are deployed.
NexPlayer, based on the HTML5 industry standard, has enabled/implemented many features on Xbox and PlayStation 4/5 that native players do not support such as:
- (CSAI) Client Side Ad Insertion support with Dynamic Ad technologies like VAST, VMAP, VPAID
- (SSAI) Server Side Ad Insertion support with Ad related events report. (SSAI can work natively, however the ads related events cannot be reported. Content and app providers need these events for recruiting the necessary data in order to study their apps, users and be able to earn money. Therefore, without Ad related events report, the Ad is useless).
- The possibility to add new SSAI methods from other endpoints, like AWS Media Tailor, which can provide a different data structure.
- Added Advanced API to control the Server Side Ad Insertion events.
- Fully customizable UI.
- Open new ways to provide thumbnails data (just the VTT file with images’ URI) and an improved algorithm for achieving the best efficiency while searching the corresponding images. It is also done for the subtitles cues search.
- Dynamic & Static Thumbnail support.
- The possibility to use external subtitles over streams that are already encoded and packaged without subtitles. It offers users the possibility to lower CDN expenses by avoiding the cost associated with re-encoding and repackaging of the same streams with the subtitles. If the content doesn’t contain subtitles, we fully support custom external subtitles.
- Advanced player analytics reporting.
NexPlayer SDK offers a uniform API for all platforms. It has been completely designed and developed by us and is not based on open-source code like most other players on the market. This means that there are no dependencies on any 3rd party SW and allows us to control the functionality of the entire SW stack. New features, updates and upgrades can be added very quickly thereby reducing time to market.
NexPlayer provides expert engineering resources that offer:
- Comprehensive set of market-driven high-quality player features that enable:
- Modular, scalable SW stack without dependencies on open-source
- Industry-standard streaming protocols / DRM / subtitling formats across multiple platforms including Android, iOS, TVOS, Smart TV, STB Game Consoles
- Extensive device reach / backwards compatibility
- Offline Playback
- Multi-viewer sync
- Expertise and quick turnaround time to response to questions and issues
- Custom development for emerging features and requirements
- Integrated support for 3rd-party Analytics reporting services
- Support for Industry-Standard Ad-Insertion Playback
A key consideration for game consoles is that of support. Game Console player development is provided by the manufacturers working at their own speed and based on their own priorities. This might result in varying degrees of player evolution with respect to supporting some stream configurations, sets of features and fixes that may or may not be integrated. On the flip side, certain features can be dropped as well with little warning thus impacting overall playback experience. In addition, the focus of game consoles is not on streaming video quality but on gaming video.
Game Console Project Management is controlled by the manufacturer who controls the integration process. Therefore, support for adding new code may not be forthcoming. The status of functionality, that is, what is kept or removed in the native game console video player is controlled by the manufacturer and there is no guarantee that a feature that is present today, might not be removed tomorrow.
One factor that might affect the ubiquitous deployment of streaming video services on these platforms could be that Sony’s and Microsoft’s developer support is focused on gaming and not streaming video services. Vendors for Application Development, DRM and Video Players may find it somewhat difficult to establish partnerships with both of those manufacturers which inhibits their ability to get the necessary SDKs and documentation that allows porting of streaming services to the devices.
Game console manufacturers do not provide roadmaps and a version of a game console player today does not provide assurances that in the future it has the features and compatibility with new OS versions. Sony and Microsoft might also deploy new OS versions that can have a negative impact on existing versions of media players.
So the next time you are considering which player partner to use, choose Nexplayer and then you can also say: Game On!