Ask Mr. McKinney
While Jon McKinney’s official title is VP, Client Services, he’s also the guy many of us turn to for straightforward answers to tech questions. We thought we’d share his wisdom with our blog readers, since having guys like Jon on the team are part of what makes KIT different.
Is there a difference in the way live events (like the Olympics) and pre-recorded content (like Game of Thrones) are delivered via OTT?
A live stream is delivered via a direct link from a distribution source, such as a satellite to a live encode facility. From there, it is encoded on-the-fly and delivered to an edge distribution network and then on to end-users. VOD assets are run through a similar file-based encoder and distributed to the CDN much the same. On the CDN, the live asset behaves similar to a VOD asset in that it is generally ABR (Adaptive bitrate), delivered via Unicast rather than IP multicast and is sourced from an origin server. You can have two streams with identical encoding profiles, one is live and the other is on-demand and their tech specs and bandwidth used are identical. How a user interacts with the asset can also differ, for example, with a VOD asset a user can grab the scrub bar and fast-forward to any point in the video. You can’t do that with live as that content doesn’t yet exist. Although there are differences in how the asset is encoded and consumed, delivery over the network is similar between a streamed VOD asset and a live stream.
Is there a difference between a 22-inch TV set and a 22-inch monitor, or is it just marketing?
There are fewer differences between a TV and a monitor today than 15 years ago, but there are at least a couple. First, a TV has a built-in tuner, capable of receiving a broadcast signal such as ATSC or DVB-T or with older sets, NTSC or PAL. Monitors have no built-in tuner and rely solely on the signal to be delivered over traditional analog or digital inputs.
Second, TVs historically had fixed or slightly variable refresh rates and adjust the input signal to that output refresh rate. They also had fixed output resolutions. A monitor (a true monitor) has variable refresh rates and adjusts on the fly to its input source. They also allow for variable resolution up to a physical upper-bound. TVs and monitors are much more similar today technically, but still have their separate commercial purposes.