Bleacher Report’s Live PPV Stream of Tiger vs. Phil a Massive Failure

What is being billed as the first ever live PPV event for golf is going down in flames as Bleacher Report’s live stream of the Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson match is experiencing massive failure. The stream, which costs $19.99 to watch, is having a long list of authentication issues, app problems and missing audio amongst other complaints. From what I can tell so far, the issues all appear to be on the front-end and not with the CDNs delivering the video as you can’t even get to the video to watch it. Whichever vendors(s) are responsible for the failures are costing Bleacher Report a lot of money and will need to issue massive refunds.

I’ve tried to get the stream on multiple apps and desktop and have gotten errors of “oops, something went wrong. Please try again later,” along with blank screens, no options to actually purchase the event and a message saying “check back closer to the event time”, even though the even started more than 30 minutes ago. Also a message of “this video cannot be played” is a frequent message many users are reporting. On the desktop, I was asked to sign in with my Google account, but when I tried, got an error 403 message saying “This app has exceeded recommended rates of users signing in with Google.”

Looking at Bleacher Report’s Twitter feed, users are fuming with the most common comment being that even after purchasing the event, a message of “this event is not purchasable yet”, appears. Other errors users are reporting include:

– Says too many devices are streaming
– Error retrieving assets for commerce
– I purchased and went back to app and it says not purchasable yet
– Stream isn’t working on computer or Roku TV app
– We paid for the match on the app but the app isn’t working
– Stream is not working at all on smart phone or Roku!
– There is no buy button

While Bleacher Report is using many third-party vendors for this failed webcast, that’s no excuse for the company to not even acknowledge the problems they are having. Two hours into the problems they haven’t posted a single Tweet updating users and many are leaving comments that the support number provided is busy and they can’t get through. I also haven’t seen Bleacher Report reply to a single user and their strategy of just ignoring the problem is about as bad as you can get. Making matters worse, all week Bleacher Report has been promoting the event on social media saying “Because watching live sports should be easy”. Ouch. But this is what happens when you don’t plan properly, don’t use vendors that know how to execute large scale webcasts properly and have a failover strategy. This PPV webcast now equals the MacGregor/Mayweather PPV from a disaster stand-point.

Updated 4:49pm ET: The stream is now working, for free, via the website at https://live.bleacherreport.com/tiger-vs-phil/

AV1, A Win For The Open Web: Demos by Google and Mozilla

At the Streaming Summit, taking place as part of the NAB Show New York on Oct. 17-18th, Jai Krishnan, Product Manager at Chrome and Nathan Egge, Video Codec Engineer at Mozilla will share a look at AV1, the royalty-free video codec finalized by the Alliance for Open Media earlier this year. AV1 offers a generational improvement in coding efficiency over any web codec, and comes backed by nearly 40 companies, including some of the largest in the internet, tech, and video industries.

Their talk will cover why Google and Mozilla invest in web codecs, the benefits of AV1, where the codec stands going into 2019, and demos of AV1 already available in browsers today as well as on different platforms and for different use cases. (session details)

With 100 other speakers and 40 presentations and discussions, it’s going to be a great two days covering the entire streaming media technical and monetization workflow. Use my personal discount code of dan18 and get a pass for only $595. #streamingsummit

Learn The Best Practices For Live Webcasting Production, at Streaming Summit

You can get the same result from a well-produced mobile phone stream as you can get from a production truck, satellite backhaul and encoding in a NOC. So how do you decide on which equipment and workflow pieces to use for different situations?

At the Streaming Summit, taking place as part of the NAB Show New York on Oct. 17-18th, one session of seasoned webcasting professionals will discuss what decision factors go into producing a live stream from a remote location, with a week of lead time with can’t-fail expectations. They will also outline how to arrive at a solution based on budget, allowable risk and fault tolerance while still producing a high-quality webcast for viewers. (Session details)

With 100 other speakers and 40 presentations and discussions, it’s going to be a great two days covering the entire streaming media technical and monetization workflow. Use my personal discount code of dan18 and get a pass for only $595. #streamingsummit

Learn About Aggregation and Automation with Cloud-based Content Lakes for Media Workflows

As media organizations collect and analyze increasing amounts of data about their viewers and subscribers, traditional on-premises solutions for data storage, data management, and analytics can no longer keep pace.

At the EdgeNext Summit, taking place Monday October 15th in NYC, Ian McPherson, Sr. Partner Development Manager at Amazon Web Services, will show how using cloud-based content lakes increases agility, ability to derive more insights and value from data, reduced time to personalization and monetization, and capability to adopt more sophisticated analytics tools and processes as needs evolve.

Held in association with NAB Show New York, the one-day EdgeNext Summit will focus on content distribution at the edge and all that is taking place with CDN, WAF, DDoS, DNS & more. With a focused lineup of companies showcasing all the new decentralized ways services are being brought closer to the eyeballs, you’ll hear how the Edge is improving the end-user experience. From the last mile to the last inches. What’s next at the Edge?

Use my personal discount code of edge18 and get a pass for only $495. #edgenext

Here’s Why Today’s Video Infrastructure Is Not Ready For 5G, And How Edge Technologies Can Help

In a prior blog post I wrote entitled “The Current Infrastructure Strategy To Support OTT Services Isn’t Economically Sustainable“, I detailed the OTT capacity gap – the looming challenge of delivering streaming video to consumers when the performance improvements of current streaming video technology are fading as market demand for delivery capacity is skyrocketing. This post will discuss how promising new hardware technologies such as 5G and SPUs can be configured and deployed to help solve the OTT streaming video capacity gap.

The main driver of the capacity gap is the incredible growth in streaming video, which is also becoming more and more of a mobile data phenomenon. In the U.S., over 50% of streaming video is consumed on mobile devices and this percentage is increasing rapidly. While a significant portion of this consumption is for wireless devices connected to wi-fi rather than the mobile networks, the trend is clearly towards more mobile and therefore more cellular consumption.

To emphasize this trend, over 75% of cellular network data is consumed by video traffic and this percentage has been artificially constrained by data caps, throttling, and other measures designed to restrict cellular video consumption. As these restrictions are released, cellular video consumption will skyrocket. Cellular streaming video consumption is already the predominant use case in the rest of the world where the smart phone is the primary connection to the Internet and is often the only OTT viewing device available to the average consumer. Any solution to the OTT capacity gap will, first and foremost, need to address the needs of the global wireless streaming consumer.

The wireless industry has recognized the challenges and is moving aggressively to implement the new 5G wireless standards. When fully implemented, 5G will dramatically increase the wireless delivery capacity of the cellular networks which will address the bottleneck that currently exist with regards to getting video from the cell towers to the consumers. The rollout of 5G enabled consumer devices and new 5G network infrastructure will begin in earnest early next year and accelerate rapidly thereafter. This increased wireless capacity will enable higher quality video and reduced latencies will enable new types of video applications to grow.

5G will solve the capacity problems of the wireless link to consumers. However, there are other infrastructure changes that will be required to leverage this new capability. Those changes begin with the link between the cell towers and the data centers – a connection called the “backhaul”. In the best-case scenario, the backhaul connection is a fiber link with plenty of bandwidth although this is frequently not the case, especially in developing markets. In many cases, the backhaul may not have the carrying capacity or latency performance to support new 5G enabled media. Supplying the new 5G radios with enough backhaul capacity may require significant investments in upgrading the backhaul connections along with all the time and disruption that entails.

But even if the backhaul links are all ultimately upgraded to fiber with plenty of carrying capacity between the data centers and the towers, the problem is still not solved. Applications that are extremely latency sensitive to the point of being unusable once certain levels are exceeded, will require round-trip latencies of less than ten milliseconds (10ms). 5G radios will deliver latencies of 1ms to 2ms, although the conversion of the signal from RF to optical at the tower to cross the fiber link, to electrical upon arrival at the data center, and then converted back to optical at the data center for the return trip, and ultimately back to RF for delivery to the consumer – can easily generate latencies of 30ms or more. Fully utilizing 5G for OTT media will also mean addressing these latency challenges.

The answer to the latency issue is to move key resources out to the edge of the network and co-locate them at the base of the cellular towers. The new buzzword for this architecture is “mobile edge compute” or “MEC” for short. Implementing a new MEC platform architecture and avoiding the backhaul traversal solves both the latency issue and, in the case of video, relieves backhaul congestion since the most popular content can be located at the edge and will not have to consume the expensive power and bandwidth to be pulled from the datacenter to the towers.

Implementing mobile edge computing introduces new challenges since the space and power resources at the base of the towers are highly constrained and installing enough traditional servers would overwhelm the space and power currently available at the base of the towers. Proposed solutions include building mini-data centers at the base of the towers and pulling enough additional power to supply the co-located servers, although this approach is cost-prohibitive and just moves the already inadequate servers from the datacenter, where maintenance and power are cheaper, to the towers where field service and electricity are far more expensive. So how can the industry address the MEC space and power issues and thereby have a complete solution to the OTT capacity gap?

One answer many companies are looking at is to deploy high performance, domain specific hardware to the towers at the edge of the cellular network. MEC streaming media devices should have the ability to supply a very large number of simultaneous connections with low latency, high bandwidth streaming media and do it all at very low power. The combination of these advantages will enable the MEC servers to fit into the existing tower infrastructure without the need to upgrade the backhaul or build data centers at the towers.

As an example of the use case of OTT streaming media, a MEC device combined with another purpose-built appliance, for instance HellaStorm’s Stream Processing Unit (SPU) platform, would allow a content store of the most popular media and should enable the majority of the media requests from the cellular consumers to be served directly from the tower. Doing that would avoid the latency, power, bandwidth, and expense of moving the content across the backhaul connections. With streaming video now over 75% of wireless data consumption (and growing), the advantages are obvious. The combination of 5G with new specialized hardware based mobile edge compute technologies, can meet the streaming media needs of the market now and into the future.