back to article Three Chinese web giants create streaming video 'standard'

Chinese web giants Alibaba, Tencent, and ByteDance – the latter through its Volcano Engine hyperscale cloud service – have teamed up to create, in their terms, a new video streaming standard. The project was announced at a Chinese conference in late February. The Register has now been able to confirm information revealed in …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "Western nations [..] have explicitly stated they wish to dominate standards processes"

    Good luck with that. Thanks to the belligerence of the Trump presidency, China has been forced to up its game on the IT side of things.

    Things are going to go either of two ways, in my mind. If the current standards bodies play nice and treat China as an equal (and why not ? It's not proprietary, hidden stuff, it's all out in the open), then China will likely play nice and all standards will actually be standard in the world.

    The other option is for China to manage its own standards and only use our Western standards when selling products to us. That will fracture the market, although I have no idea what the consequences would be.

    1. VoiceOfTruth

      Re: "Western nations [..] have explicitly stated they wish to dominate standards processes"

      A lot of people misunderstand China and its progress, so I will make it clear here. We're are only part way in to China's industrialisation. It is a staggering level of development so far, but it is nowhere near complete. Give it another 10 years. You will see that the economic centre of the world will move to China. We might be lucky in the UK and be able to buy some spices on the silk road.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Western nations [..] have explicitly stated they wish to dominate standards processes"

      "and why not ?" Because what China does to it's uigers makes Putin look like he petting a cat in Ukraine.

  2. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    ULLLBPSS

    I assume that because of the way that Chinese is written they don't have to waste time thinking up snappy names that make good acronyms.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: ULLLBPSS

      Funnily enough, and admittedly it might just be my mind, but as soon as I looked at the letters in your title, all I saw was the word BULLPISS. That's a pretty good name for a Standard that's not a standard, isnt it?

  3. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    live-streamed infomercials to promote products

    So, yet another technique to waste power and bandwidth pushing tat more quickly?

    Truly, we live in an age of wonder.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    vapor ware

    saying they have software and not demonstrating it, nor having any proof of it's existence, while saying it's a new standard - sure,,, and I am renting them office space in a building that doesn't exist.

  5. Andy 97

    Won't work.

    There's a reason why nobody has created a global standard that everyone follows religiously.

    Standards for streaming have been proposed and accepted before, each time publishers (following complaints from users) have chosen to actually scrutinize data from their clients' players, then adjust the standard to optimise their user experience based on reliable data.

    If a user doesn't obtain a reliable streaming experience from a publisher, they will 'churn' and the cost to acquire a new user is high, whereas the cost to adjust a standard (encoding profile for instance) is minimal.

    If, however, these 'giants' are proposing a closed garden standard, they'd also need to run the access networks and CDN infrastructure, globally.

    Publishers will welcome this standard, in the same way someone (on a long-haul flight) would regret a dodgy curry, consumed the night before.

    I bet they haven't addressed legacy users either, which would be illegal in some territories.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: Won't work.

      > If, however, these 'giants' are proposing a closed garden standard, they'd also need to run the access networks and CDN infrastructure, globally.

      I can understand you never having heard of Tencent, But Alibaba?

      Hint: They've got global CDNs already. Bytedance has been building one too.

      If they *don't* share, but are able to show dramatic improvement, then they potentially have a unique selling point to draw publishers to their CDN(s). It never works _quite_ that smoothly in practice, of course.

      > I bet they haven't addressed legacy users either, which would be illegal in some territories.

      I'll bet you're wrong :)

      Flash video is still pretty common in the Chinese market. It's often not played with a Flash plugin anymore though - someone implemented some javascript (flv.js) to consume it and feed it into the browser's native video support.

      In my experience, the Chinese video companies is never a lack of support for legacy technologies, if anything it's moving forward onto newer/better standards that's the issue. So the challenge they really face is simplifying that enough to drive adoption - although between them, they own enough of the market that they can focus on their own customer base.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Standard'

    It says a lot that I can say "Obligatory XKCD" and many- if not most- people here will already know which one I'm referring to without clicking the link.

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: 'Standard'

      I know the one you meant but it's not the one you linked to.

  7. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Cool with me

    Cool with me.

    First off, they may not have to provide source code. Internet RFCs going back decades included a description of what to do, not source code to do so. (I have not looked at this new streaming system's description explicitly, but...) this is not like MPEG2, MPEG4, H.264, H.265 where it's so complex you probably want a reference implementation just to compare to. This would involve speed, latency, and throughput negotiation to be able to pick the proper bitrate of video (for most streaming systems where you have several choices), and possibly using a smaller video chunk size (it was common in the past to use at least 5 seconds video chunks.) It may not even need a smaller chunk size, just going ahead and starting to play the chunk before it's fully received.

    Anyway, good on them. webRTC and HLS are both pretty crude, they work well enough and (especially with HLS) are simple to implement but there is some real room for improvement, nobody else has undertaken that in the past 15 or 20 years, so good on them for going ahead and doing so.

  8. Richard 12 Silver badge

    If it can really compete with NDI

    Then that'd be great.

    I really don't like that a single, closed proprietary protocol and implementation has taken over pretty much all broadcast-quality LAN streaming. Even though it does work well, the artificial legal limitations they've put on it are quite annoying.

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