Three types of video streaming apps

Online video streaming is on a permanent rise worldwide due to its flexibility and wide range of features provided. Today we discuss three types of video streaming apps.

What video streaming apps are out there?

  • Services from traditional TV and cable providers. As the numbers of their subscribers dwindle, telecom and cable providers search for new ways to reach the target audience. AT&T TV Now and Sling TV are the most known representatives of this type of streaming platforms in the US. YouTube TV and Hulu are other examples of this approach, granting access to huge collections of TV channels.
  • Sling TV does not produce any original content — instead it grants real-time access to TV channels with movies and shows once they air. Cox and Comcast also provide streaming apps that can be used on any devices far from home but are registered and connected to a home-based TV subscription plan.
  • On-demand video streaming platforms with original content. Everybody heard about Netflix, which is the largest video streaming platform worldwide with 61 million subscribers as of the end of 2019. It started as an online analog of DVD rentals in 2007 but has since then grown into one of the biggest video streaming market players with its original content (House of Cards, Breaking Bad, The Witcher, etc.)
  • Hulu is another example of such platforms but it rather concentrates on TV shows than movies. It allows using an internal search engine for finding and streaming any TV show in its network after it has been shown on the TV.
  • Streaming apps from independent TV networks. While Disney TV, HBO and CBS are among standard add-ons for literally any TV subscription plan, they also have their own apps. For example, HBO provides two types of service: HBO NOW working without a cable package or HBO GO that comes with any cable TV plan that includes HBO. Both apps provide access both to known hits like Chernobyl or Game of Thrones, and to series shot exclusively for these platforms. Disney+ is another alternative, providing access to Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar movie collections along with platform-specific content for humble $7/mo.

Basic features of video streaming apps

  1. Onboarding. This is one of the key aspects of the customer’s journey, as the onboarding process must help your users get acquainted with the platform’s features while also helping personalize your offers to their liking. If your app asks questions regarding preferences during showcasing the functionality, you get personalized customer profiles that help craft unique watcher experiences.
  2. Registration — storing the user’s preferences is easier in the cloud, so all streaming apps require their user to register before or after the onboarding. The basic registration options include an email address or a Facebook profile. The latter helps recommend movies based on what the user’s FB friends recommended.
  3. Billing. The most logical step after registration is selecting a subscription plan. This means your app must support various payment gateways like Stripe or Braintree, which provide multiple SDKs for processing different types of payments (credit cards, debit cards, pre-paid gift cards, etc.) It might also be wise to enable Google Pay and Apple Pay, Face ID and more innovative payment methods.
  4. User accounts. These entities represent households and can contain up to 6 user profiles. Each of these profiles stores user’s details and password, watch history and personalized suggestions list. More importantly, parents can create kids’ profiles and limit access to certain inappropriate content.
  5. Library. Finding the shows you already watched (or not yet watched) is easier with libraries. These are collections of media files grouped according to certain rules. This makes every user’s customer experience truly unique. Another convenient aspect of this approach is the possibility to continue where you left off and keep on watching in a single click.
  6. Search. A powerful and intuitive search is a must for ensuring the convenient browsing of your content. Trending, recent searches and search history are very useful for building memorable and enjoyable customer journeys. Such tools must be equipped with multiple APIs to ensure your target audience can watch your content from any device.
  7. Watchlist. Adding liked shows and movies to the watchlist helps to find them later on. In addition, the watchlist can be the place where your service highlights the series that will not be available soon, so the customers can decide what to watch first.
  8. Varying video quality and subtitles. Not all users will be able to consume your content from devices with unlimited mobile traffic or inside free Wi-Fi coverage. This is why it is important to allow them to select between several video qualities like 480p, 720p HD, etc. Providing multilingual subtitles and audiotracks is also essential to cater to the needs of your target audience. This feature will also be highly appraised by those who try to improve their language mastery by watching movies and TV shows.
  9. Personal DVR. Each of your users will have access to cloud-based storage of video content and it would be very useful to allow them to record the shows that air while they are not able to watch them. Such a Digital Video Recorder feature is always in high demand by people who don’t want to miss their favorite shows while they are on shift, for example.
  10. Downloads for offline usage. Enabling your users to download the content for viewing it offline or on other devices is also very good for providing a positive customer experience.
  11. Screen mirroring. Sometimes your users would like to show some content on a TV without their subscription plan — like at a friend’s house party. Your app must enable them to contact any smart TV over Wi-Fi using Google Chrome Cast or iOS AirPlay APIs and SDKs, so they can use their smartphones as remote controllers.
  12. Social interactions. Your users would like to rate and leave comments on the shows they watch, as well as sharing their opinions with their friends on Facebook. Your app should support it and as the Facebook profile is one of the basic authentication methods, enabling social sharing and interactions via API will not be a problem.

Video apps delivery process with DevOps

  1. Hiring DevOps in-house is the most preferable way, of course, as it allows you to consolidate the knowledge within your team and ensure product expertise continuity. However, this approach has all the flaws of any other recruitment, as it can be quite time-consuming, it is hard to evaluate the expertise level of a candidate if you do not have such knowledge; it takes some time to onboard the candidate selected; the talent might quit your employ at any moment. etc.
  2. Subscribing to tech support from cloud computing platforms can be a good choice, as this way you get instant access to a pool of certified DevOps engineers who will use their in-depth knowledge of the respective cloud platform services and features to support your project. However, these services are not free unlike their open-source alternatives, and using them can lead to vendor lock-in, not to mention that cloud platforms have thousands of customers and your requests will be processed as a part of a common queue, which can be quite long.
  3. Contracting a Managed DevOps services provider is actually the best choice — you get access to skilled teams with established workflow and ready solutions for common challenges. You don’t have to waste time on recruitment, as most MSPs can field the needed team at once, and it will simply become your remote R&D center. Most importantly, IT outsourcing companies like IT Svit can provide both DevOps and dedicated software development teams, thus allowing them to deliver end-to-end solutions.

Case 1 — SymplyFI

  • redesign and optimization of the customer’s back-end system processes and underlying cloud infrastructure
  • building CI/CD pipelines for speeding up the software delivery process
  • preparing automated installation packages, shortening the installation time by 93%
  • integrating the platform with various third-party modules via API

Case 2 — Digital Samba

  • containerize the application and split it to microservices to improve its scalability
  • optimize Redis database performance
  • transform a vast set of configuration data into PHP containers
  • implement smart monitoring and alerting system
  • automate Kubernetes cluster provisioning and configuration
  • manage the dependencies between system components

Conclusions

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