Wednesday, January 04, 2012

App Variable Bandwidth Woes

For those of us living in rural areas broadband remains an issue. I've recently changed from TalkTalk to Sky on the same un-LLUed exchange and it's resulted in a doubling of the actual broadband speed and a much better improvement in latency.

However, whilst still on TalkTalk (which allegedly gave me 1.2Mbps according to Speedtest.net), whenever I connected to the iPlayer app on my iPad the image would disappear, leaving only the audio. Fine for stand up comedy, but not so good for drama.

The reason for this is a clause in Apple's App development T&Cs:

"Video streaming content over a cellular network longer than 10 minutes must use HTTP Live Streaming and include a baseline 64 kbps audio-only HTTP Live stream."

So, Apple encourages roll-over to audio, which sort of makes sense, until you think that your iPad isn't working.

Apple should drop this clause - it's over-prescriptive. At the same time the BBC need to look at the encode rates of their adaptive streaming - surely a 1.2Mbps connection, even from TalkTalk, should enable the service to work over WiFi ?