BBC launches Adaptive Media Streaming over HTTP/2 trial

BBC Research and Development has launched a trial of Adaptive Media Streaming over HTTP/2 trial, and is inviting the public to take part in order to gather important data.

The experimental HTTP version 2 protocol promises to improve the web browsing experience but what does it mean for HTTP-based media streaming technologies such as MPEG-DASH?

As part of the the Adaptive Bitrate Technologies project, BBC R&D is looking at media delivery over HTTP-based formats such as Apple HLS, Adobe HDS and MPEG-DASH.

HTTP/2, meanwhile, is intended to address some of the performance issues seen in HTTP/1.1 by introducing features such as content multiplexing, header compression, efficient binary representation and server push.

Lucas Pardue, BBC R&D research engineer, said: “The HTTP/2 specification is nearing the final stages of standardisation and BBC R&D is interested in finding out whether the changes are beneficial to media streaming over HTTP.”

As part of our work looking at HTTP/2 we have designed a trial that presents a public-facing HTTP/2 server providing access to a number of test MPEG-DASH streams.”

The point of most interest in the HTTP/2 trial technical architecture is the server acting as a Reverse Proxy deployed in front of the media origin server, which translates between HTTP/2 and HTTP/1.1. This allows R&D to harness their existing HTTP/1.1-based infrastructure without need for modification.

HTTP/2 and DASH are still relatively cutting edge and BBC R&D is hoping its trial will shake out teething issues such as performance or compatibility from a protocol and implementation perspective.

DTG Staff  |  19.12.2014

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