How to deliver a high quality full-length video instantly to multiple viewers on their big screen simultaneously and securely?Sneakernet
The file size for 90 minute full length HD quality video can range from 2 to 6 GB. And it may be easier, convenient and hassle-free for viewer to get it delivered via next day Sneakernet than to wait 3 to 18 hours in downloading it online. There is nothing instant about downloading full-length high quality video.
The next best online alternative is to stream video to viewers in real-time. For smooth playback, video streaming needs to have some buffering and a 12 second buffering of HD quality video requires a 5 to 15 MB of video that need to be always available to user. And, if streaming video is originating from a centralized distribution infrastructure, the number of viewers are first limited by the processing capacity of central system and then available bandwidth.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
To address the central system processing capacity limitation, the option is to have multiple delivery nodes. And, to address bandwidth limitation, these content delivery nodes should be located as close to the viewer as possible. This is the model used by CDN providers who share the processing capacity of these nodes and available bandwidth among multiple content distributors to maximize utilization of their edge nodes.
Content delivery nodes work great as most viewers reside on the last mile that extends beyond the Internet spiderweb and as long as nodes are not overloaded by too many viewers trying to download and watch the latest video simultaneously.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) Networking
P2P networking is one scalable alternative proposed to deliver high quality video and bring the viewers in to the Internet spiderweb. Among it's other vices, from delivery perspective, P2P is infested with freeriders. You know the ones who want to download content but don't want to allow their system to be used to deliver content to others. And, the whole P2P premise fails if there are not enough P2P nodes participating in content distribution.
GridNetworks – New Kid on the Block
Today, I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Newell Edmond, co-founder and the technical brain behind a local startup in online delivery of high quality video, GridNetworks. Newell and his team worked hard for last two years to develop a hybrid solution combining the best of Content Delivery Network (CDN) and Peer-to-Peer Networking (P2P) for delivery of high quality video.
More about it next time.
P.S. This is my first effort to reach out and highlight early stage startups in Seattle area working on innovative infrastructure solutions. If you are one of them, get in touch.