Apple: Want to Stream Video Over 3G? Use HTTP and Have a 64 Kbps Option for the Network


Apple's latest bulletin via the iPhone Developer News feed highlight how we really might see 3G connected SlingPlayer -- and even Hulu -- on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad without melting the cell towers, courtesy of HTTP Live Streaming:

HTTP Live Streaming provides a state-of-the-art standards-based solution for streaming video over wireless networks. A key benefit of HTTP Live Streaming is the ability to dynamically adjust to varying network bandwidth conditions. It can store multiple video clips of different quality on a server, and then deliver the one that matches what the customer is capable of viewing on the network they are currently accessing.

Your application must use the HTTP Live Streaming protocol if it uses the cellular network to deliver video for any stream with a duration of 10 minutes or more. In addition, applications using HTTP Live Streaming over the cellular network must include a low quality stream of no more than 64 Kbps for your app to resort to when network conditions demand it.

The key here is that HTTP Live Streaming can dynamically increase or decrease video quality as you move from beefy Wi-Fi to 3G, standard or starved. Do we mind getting worse-looking video when the network is being strained? Years of putting up with blocky YouTube cat-on-piano videos likely points to "no"...

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts



← Previously

Adobe Says 7 Million iPhone OS Users Tried to Download Flash -- Would Hulu App Fix That?

Next up →

FT: Apple to Test $1 iTunes TV Downloads with iPad Launch?

Reader comments

Apple: Want to Stream Video Over 3G? Use HTTP and Have a 64 Kbps Option for the Network


I can't stand the YouTube app on 3G. It's painful to watch. Here's to hoping the http stream is better!

At least you don't have to worry about quality anymore with 64 kbps ... considering you have to squeeze in audio as well there will be nothing but one big macro-block at that bitrate :P Even with the latest compression technologies and taking the small size of the screen into account, they should set the minimum at 150 - 200 kbps and scale up to 500 - 600 kbps if the connection allows for it.

So is there something in this new standard that compensates my bill each time the network is strained? I mean, I'm paying for unlimited 3G access, live in a 2G area (which is the majority of the country) and will be watching YouTube at 64k while in 3G land. And that says nothing about the host of services that are denied over 3G.
What the heck am I paying for with a data plan then?

Rene, u probably watch pirated movies instead of legally paying since u can stand lousy video. Kissing apple's as$.

What's wrong with you guys? If the choice is between no video or low quality video, which would you choose? It's not like the network provider lowers your throughput for laughs. When the network is congested by too many users in the same cell there is really nothing better to do than giving each user a little less bandwidth.

Strange but basically 50% the post is opening up for me. Is this the internet website or my internet browser. Should I restart my internet browser?