The popular iPlayer app that allows Brits to enjoy TV on their iPhones and iPads added a “Live Restart” function which does pretty much what its name implies through the power of HTTP chunked streaming.
Live Restart is a first for the United Kingdom. It lets users rewind and restart their live TV session on BBC iPlayer without waiting for the program to finish.
“So, if you’re stuck in a traffic jam, or delayed on the tube and miss the critical start of your favourite BBC programme when you get in, with one click you can skip back to the beginning of that live programme,” explains
Henry Webster, executive product manager in Media Services at the BBC.
You don’t need to have previously been watching or recording the show, like it is the case with PVR solutions. Just scroll back to watch programs from as early as two hours ago.
And the technology that enables all this is said to be part of a wider strategic move to embrace HTTP chunked streaming for delivering online video at BBC.
Webster explains: “Instead of using a point-to-point streaming protocol such as RTMP as we have done in the past, this method breaks up the H.264 video into chunks and delivers them as HTTP packets in much the same way as the we deliver our text rich web pages today.”
There are several reasons why the BBC went with this approach, chief among them being that it allows the developers to scale video operation to a much greater extent.
Another benefit of using HTTP chunked streaming is that it enables the television network to utilize advancements in adaptive bitrate playback, which significantly improves the video experience. Download BBC iPlayer