Building a Streaming App? Consider this.
DEC 7, 2014

Building a Streaming App? Consider this.

A recent article posted on The Motley Fool’s website reported that nearly two-thirds of TV content viewers either own a Smart TV or can stream content to their TV via another device. It’s a multi-billion dollar fight for space in our living rooms (and our wallets) and companies like Netflix, Hulu and PlayCast are fighting right along with the big networks and cable companies, as well as device makers.

As a result, we can certainly predict there will be a rise in the availability of streaming media applications; driven by both consumer demand as well as the desire for networks and developers to make more money. The opportunity to charge a subscription to users makes the venture tempting for networks, and the opportunity to sell products and services direct to consumers, right in their living rooms, is tempting for developers and distributors.

But it can be a challenge to build a successful streaming application, whether you’re a small developer or a large corporation. HBO learned this lesson the hard way recently, when its HBO Go application crashed under the weight of throngs of users clamoring to view the latest installment of Game of Thrones.

Building an app that streams media, whether it be video, music or any type of dynamic content, presents its own set of challenges. As with any other application, you’ve got a multitude of devices and platforms (not to mention screen sizes) to design to, except now you’ve got to consider the myriad of Smart TVs as well. Streaming apps just need to work, and to work they need a continuous network connection, to be able to manage latency and handle generous amounts of data quickly.

They need to work, and work quickly, because users won’t stick around to wait for slow-loading media. A study done in 2012 found that, on average, users will begin to abandon video that doesn’t start to load within two seconds, and that every second after that approximately six more percent jump ship. And it’s all relative to the increased speed of Internet connections, as is demonstrated by this chart from the study:

Two years later, with faster networks and high speed connections; it’s likely you’ll risk losing viewers after one second or even less.

Therefore, as a developer of these types of applications, the route to success may mean assessing early on where your app will be used and on which devices it will be used – that way, ensuring your application works the way it should, on the networks it should and on the devices it should, will become much more manageable. For streaming apps whose performance is crucial and depends in large part on the networks their being used on, conducting some performance testing is essential to success.

This is where a third party test lab can help, because they have the resources to be able to test on multiple networks and on multiple devices. Not to toot our own horn, but Intertek has an inventory of over 3,000 devices that we can test on, and depending on where in the world you plan to launch your streaming app, we have on the ground testers who can test your app on the various networks it could be used on, as well as its performance from network to network.

So if you’re looking to get rich on the race for viewership, you’ve only got about two seconds to make a first impression. Is your app ready for primetime?

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