What Is the Future of Video Streaming in Web Design?
Most companies, by now, have realized the value of video streaming as an important medium. It is not only easier and more effective to reach a certain target audience but it is also a quicker way to communicate what you want to. All that a person needs to do is hire a company that makes great real or animation videos and then stream them on websites. These videos might bring you more results than publishing only blogs.
Importance of video streaming on websites
Many research studies have shown that when a blog post contains a video that can be streamed, it attracts more audience. This has been proven true in many countries including the U.S., Canada, Europe and Latin America. The only places where streaming isn’t seen as an attractive medium is where people prefer to download videos. This is true in countries like India and China, where people have access to pirated videos.
What we need to understand is that when people are used to downloading videos for viewing later, they simply do not understand the advantages of watching something in real time, with the help of streaming services. With that in mind, there are several scenarios that play out in our minds. In 2014, we expect a number of changes to occur within the streaming industry. Here are a few basic changes that we expect shall take place.
Current scenario for big name video streaming companies
Big companies like Netflix, Google and Hulu will need to figure out new ways to make money and also improve user experience. Distributors have been extra cautious when it comes to streaming because companies like Netflix have almost reached a saturation point. It is also quite clear that they are not making as much money as they would like to. This has resulted in a situation where Netflix and others have begun to look for alternative sources of money, which includes advertisements.
Currently, Netflix charges $8 per month for all-you-can-use subscriptions, which is really good for the consumers, but bad for the company. If Netflix and its competitors begin to use advertisements, web designers will also likely have to build websites in a different way to take into account certain codes that come along.
The probability of 4K videos and how to conquer a brave new world
Apart from understanding different ways of monetizing and bringing revenue to videos that are being streamed, companies and web designers must also need to focus on emerging technologies. One of them is the 4K streaming video, which is being discussed everywhere right now. While Smart TVs and 3DTVs have begun to make inroads, industry pundits have already begun to talk about 4K. 4K literally means 4,000 pixels. A 4K Ultra HD has about 3,840 pixels and 2,160 lines where as a 4K film has 4,096 and 2,160 pixels and lines.
For streaming 4K on YouTube, one needs 4,096 x 3,072 or 12.6 megapixels with an aspect ratio of 4.3. Vimeo follows similar specifications and we are still not clear about Netflix, which is supposed to bring 4K later sometime in 2014 as well. One might wonder why we need so many pixels when human eyes can’t make out the difference. To be clear, the human eye can make out minute differences and a 4K video will certainly be better than what is being used right now.
At last year’s CES, one could witness 4K screens and as many would agree, it is one of the best that people ever had witnessed. The brightness and image quality are impressive indeed. However, when it comes to streaming 4K videos online, one might need to be a little wary as they consume a lot of data.
Right now, there are no screens that are compatible with this technology. Thus, there is a lot of time for web designers to figure out how best to stream videos of this magnitude. Apple’s Retina Display can withstand up to 2K and the MacBook Pro can take about 3K but there simply are no devices in the market that can handle 4K videos. Thus, web designers have enough time to learn how to stream 4K videos in the next few months, before screens that can take 4K videos become commonplace. Right now, one cannot even expect full HD streaming without interruptions.
Thus, expecting 4K videos to be available on mobile websites on our smartphones is a very futuristic idea. Though futuristic, it is not unrealistic. We are certainly going to get there in sometime and that is one of the reasons why web designers have to start working on streaming these videos effectively right now.
Building a contemporary streaming website
In the second part of the article, we would like to take you through building a contemporary website that features video streaming. First of all, it is very important to create a user-friendly interface. Streaming video is not easy and is quite complex. For this reason alone, a designer will need to be well aware of resolution sizes, volume levels, display quality and a host of other things. One of the best examples of video streaming websites is Vimeo. The videos appear large and are built into an interface that is user-friendly and no non-sense.
What you really need to bear in mind is that your website has to support Flash or HTML 5. Flash is not supported by iOS devices. For this reason alone, we recommend using HTML 5 as much as possible. A video streaming page should always have social share buttons so that the video can be shared across social networking websites. The side bar and other controls have to be easy as well and not too difficult to navigate or maneuver through. The website should be easy on the eyes without using a number of features or things that could, otherwise, distract the user.
Most importantly, the website should load fast and must not take a lot of time to buffer. Your bandwidth needs to be high enough, in order to support large volumes of traffic. Web designers can create unique interfaces and templates, which are attractive and unique. This helps visitors to remember the website, in spite of it just being a streaming location.
The idea is to ensure that visitors are not distracted by anything on the screen but the video and are also provided with enough unique designs so that they can differentiate the website you have built from others. It takes a lot more work to make it simple than to make it a complex website with loads of features.
Adobe Media Server
If you are willing to work with newer technologies, you could also take a look at Adobe Media Server. You could use this service to publish HD quality video, which is ready to be viewed across smartphones, tablets and desktops. Adobe Media Server family allows you to target iOS and Android devices without you having to worry about anything. Creating social experiences is easy too, when one uses Adobe Media Server. Thanks to flexible strategies that manage load spikes, you can easily eliminate points of failure. In the long run, this helps companies to reduce delivery costs. The service also features a dynamic media encryption, which allows you to lock your video and audio streams as you want.
Challenges that web designers need to meet in 2014
Web designers must also understand certain challenges that video streaming websites shall have in the future. Firstly, streaming is not a very good business model at the moment. Companies just cannot rely solely on either subscriptions or advertisements.
People do not want to spend money on videos because of YouTube and other free streaming websites but in the long run, this might not be very sustainable. Secondly, changing technologies and increasing speeds mean one will have to get used to streaming videos that are of very high quality. This will require web designers to ensure they build future-proof websites that can even handle 4K videos.
Last but not the least, web designers will have to ensure that streaming-only websites are designed with that special purpose in mind, which is to stream videos. When all these things are considered, it becomes increasingly easy to look towards a future that consists of websites, which can handle a good amount of video streaming without crashing or turning away visitors. At the end of the day, we just have to change with time.
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