Technology and media expert Shelly Palmer, host of the daily internet news show MediaBytes, writes on his blog about the time is approaching for technical quality standards of online television – i.e., television using the public Internet as the distribution nextwork.
"Online video is coming into its own. People are watching and, as in industry, we need to define a quality experience the same way that the broadcast networks do." says Shelly. "We need to create testing environments and set standards of quality that each distributor can strive to achieve. I think it's a job for everyone who wants to be involved.”
According to Shelly, himself a long-time player and well-established professional in broadcast and online media – as the major television networks are making the transition of much of their content for online viewing, people who have popular video content are enjoying excellent financial results from making that content available online. As more investment is being made into broadcast-quality video by these networks, the need for quality online video standards that match audience's user expectations of high-grade television programming – becomes essential.
"I'd like to assemble a group of video professionals, compile a list of requirements and set up some independent testing groups to play video watchdog for the industry." Shelly writes.
Shelly offers a starter list of his own suggestions on his blog. At the top of his list, which I wholeheartedly agree with is:
"The video has to start very quickly (like within a second of when you press the play button).”
Why I say its at the top is because much of today's online video I've found even on streaming networks (which are supposed to play faster than progressive networks) still can take a considerable amount of time to start up. It's similar to the growing pains of where web sites used to be in the 1990's – overbloated in file size compared to the average consumer bandwidth levels, and taking a long time to download (and thus causing high abandonment rates with visitors).
Internet television vs. Average Business Video Content Provider
It should be noted that this Shelly's standards list is meant for the broadcast television industry, so some items will apply to smaller video content publishers and some won't. That being said, Shelly's list serves as an excellent example of what lower-tier video professionals (including content providers, platform providers, video marketers, and even usability specialists), should consider for their own industry model of "quality online video.”
Usability professionals, anyone?
Especially since no published white papers have come out yet by the Usability industry yet on quality standards (which would be in a prime position to do so), this could prove as a prime opportunity to provide some synergy of best practices between the online video industry with the well-established, user-experience professional groups.