Improving Startup Performance by Pre-Fetching Videos Faster with TVSDK 2.0

Adobe Primetime customers get a major improvement in startup performance from the Instant On feature in our new TVSDK 2.0.

What is Instant On?

Instant On is a feature in TVSDK 2.0 that allows app developers to pre-fetch video segments and queue them up for playback even before a viewer has selected them.

The Instant On difference

Without Instant On, when a viewer starts a video, the video player needs to wait until it has received enough data to start playing. Depending on factors like the video bitrate and network conditions, startup can take up to 10 seconds or even longer. With Instant On, the data needed to start playback is pre-fetched in the background so that startup only takes half a second or less. The chart below shows that in our tests, startup time can be over 3000% faster with Instant On.

The Instant On feature of TVSDK 2.0 improved startup time for premium programming playback by over 3000% in tests

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Four use cases for Instant On

There are four key ways that TV and video app developers can use Instant On.

  1. Keep two streams ready for instant playback
    Developers can make it painless for viewers to switch between two streams. For example, if a viewer is watching two sporting events at the same time, he or she would not want to experience buffering at each transition from one sporting event to the other. Instant On can be used to keep both streams ready for instant playback.
  2. Pre-fetch videos while viewers browse
    As viewers browse the options for what they could watch, developers can pre-fetch 3-6 of the most likely selections. Any viewer that picks one of the pre-fetched options will have a fast startup experience.
  3. Pre-fetch the next video coming up
    For viewers watching a programmed channel or playlist, Instant On can be used to pre-fetch the next video coming up. This provides a much more TV-like experience than one where every new show goes through a period of buffering.
  4. Pre-fetch paused videos
    Instant On also makes the viewing experience smoother for viewers that pause a stream. When they come back to the stream, Instant On can be used to start it right back up without any waiting.

Instant On powers a better viewer experience

Overall, Instant On makes the experience of watching premium programming over the internet more similar to watching TV. It does this by making startup times faster for instant playback including switching from one stream to another, making the first choice to play a video, transitioning from one show to the next episode, and returning to a show after pausing it. We’re excited to see developers take advantage of Adobe Primetime TVSDK 2.0’s new Instant On feature.

About Tracy Stampfli

Tracy Stampfli is a Senior Computer Scientist at Adobe, focusing on cross-platform video playback. Tracy joined Adobe through the Macromedia acquisition and has been a developer on a number of products including Adobe Connect, Adobe AIR, the Flash Player, and most recently Adobe Primetime. Tracy has a Masters in mathematics from University of California, Berkeley. Tracy lives in San Francisco with her husband and two children, and if she ever had any spare time she would spend it reading and biking.

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