Definition: A video CDN, or video content distribution network, is a large geographically dispersed network of servers delivering live and on-demand, high-quality videos to web-connected devices. These specialized video streaming server networks accelerate delivery through caching, which stores content temporarily on multiple servers throughout the video CDN. When a viewer submits a request, the server caching content nearest the user’s location delivers the video.
To keep up with the rising demand, network service providers realize the need to build their own content distribution networks supporting VOD server (video-on-demand) and IPTV server (Internet Protocol television) technology. Network service providers that deploy their own video CDN can reduce subscriber churn by:
- Reducing traffic on the primary network, which improves video content and web performance overall.
- Creating and deploying value-added, targeted services to attract new customers and retain existing subscribers.
- Content providers also benefit from a video CDN, as customer conversion rates increase and loyalty strengthens.
- CDN video streaming can greatly accelerate the delivery of video media and make the environment more secure and reliable. CDNs provide a lag free viewing experience, the most important thing for user satisfaction.
Generally, all Top tier CDNs are good for video streaming but every one of it has its own pros and cons. Some of the important factors to keep in mind are:
- Geography – Are your viewers distributed all across globe, or mainly concentrated to certain continents or countries like Asia, Europe, USA, China. Reason I am pointing out is certain top tier CDNs have low presence in Asia, especially China while some of the CDNs are generally built for specific areas. Many CDNs specially catering to USA only.
- Scale – Are you looking to live stream an international sport event or it is a small Video on Demand service? Only some CDNs in world are currently efficient enough to cater to huge scale worldwide specifically for live streaming.
- Pricing – Are you a startup more comfortable with pay-per-use pricing or able to commit considerable bandwidth beforehand. Different CDNs cater to different business models.
- Some of top tier CDNs are Akamai, LimeLight, Cloudfront etc. One more thing is do you really need a direct CDN service to build your business, can certain OVPs (Online Video Platforms) who already provide integrated CDN, Player, DRM , Streaming, Analytics services might cater best.