What is video live Streaming?
Video livestreaming is streaming multimedia content in real time over the Internet. Using the technology, users can create, share & view live videos through the support of an internet enabled platform. There is also non-live media stream which technically streams but do not broadcast in real time. Live streaming has phenomenal ability to connect with audience with real time across the globe in cost efficient way which earlier was possible only through TV broadcasts.
Live streaming contributes to over 30% of the total video content that is being watched globally. Post Covid-19, it is estimated that there is a 300% increase in live streaming and it has become the most important forms of communication opening doors for multiple opportunities like students attending live classes, online doctor consultation, artists performing virtual concerts, live commerce shopping, retail customers shopping online, video conferencing, etc.
Live streaming in social media
Even though the concept of live streaming prevailed earlier, it was the social media with its incredible power of connecting peoples across started using it in a much larger scale along with numerous other features like live chatting, closed caption with multi language support, play back speed controls, multi resolution, video replay, controlling audience, applying effects, etc. Statistics mentions that around 23% of social media users are using live streaming to connect with others
However, the platform capability to engage a live audience is challenging as even a minor glitch for a few seconds during the live stream could impact the interest of the audience. The most important aspect of live streaming is to provide high quality end user experience without any imperfections. Is there an efficient way to validate the quality of live streaming? Here are some notable testing points to ensure quality live streaming.
Live stream Test Process
- ● User feedback
Planning and preparation play a vital role in validating live streaming. The test team should be aware of the items that could potentially cause issues. It is best to maintain a checklist that is created through analysing patterns. One way to create this is through carefully looking into user feedback of similar application and understand what the users are concerned about. A collection of these items will indicate the areas of additional focus.
- ● QA Tools
There are multiple cross platform screen casting and streaming tools available to test different dimensions of live stream. Using various broadcasting, video and audio controls, live streams can be setup and tested.
- ● Standards & Protocols
Each live streaming uses different protocols based on their business needs. However, the efficiency of the video stream depends on the multiple factors. All individual factors contribute to the overall quality and thus be carefully taken care during development and testing. There are various protocol like HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP), WebRTC, Secure Reliable Transport (SRT), etc. Each protocol has its own advantages/disadvantages and knowing it would really understand the scope and expectations.
- ● Beyond the reach
When a match is broadcasted in television, it is very much live that there is no delay in the telecast even for a few seconds. This is also applicable to live streaming. Latency is the time difference between the video sent from host to the receiver. The ultra low latency ensures video is streaming without any delays and reaches wider audience.
- ● Widest possibility
The compatibility factor in live streaming is responsible for delivering the video content to a larger audience. The technology should make sure that live streaming is possible across multiple devices, platforms and browsers. It would be helpful to understand the audience location and have trending list of popular devices, platforms & browsers based on statistics. These primary platforms should be at least covered during the tests.
- ● Subjective Video quality
Bitrate, video resolution & image sharpness contributes larger part of the video quality. Bitrate is associated with delivering best video quality dynamically to users based on different network capabilities. The video resolution adaptiveness is to be validated with different internet speed to check whether the system automatically adapts to the best quality video under various conditions.
- ● User Experience
Whatever technology or features that is developed, it really matters only when audience is convenient in using it. UX/UI play a major role in engaging the users with the application. Usability tests should be performed to understand the application usage and issues.
- ● Security & Privacy
The scale of security and privacy related issues in live stream are much higher than other technologies. As the content is targeted to a wider audience across the globe, there should be much responsibility involved to avoid problems. There are content management systems and other security features which restrict text, image, video using AI programmed filters to keep the content safe. The security and privacy aspect of live stream should be extensively tested.
In addition to the above points discussed that are other areas to focus which depends on individual business. There is much scope for live streaming in the coming years as new players and domains have started to use this technology to are Overall 99.999% availability, stability & premium quality are three key customer success metrics that a tester should look for ensure the purpose of the technology is fulfilled.