Akamai accelerates Netflix-like video services and game downloads

Akamai is improving over-the-top entertainment experiences.

Akamai Technologies announced it has a new technology to improve the viewing experience for people who watch over-the-top video services (such as Netflix). The Akamai Media Acceleration, available today, is also able to accelerate video game and software downloads, which can be a huge chore for anyone who tries digital downloads.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Akamai said the new Akamai Media Acceleration marks a significant milestone in the evolution of Akamai’s content delivery capabilities in moving to a consumer-centric approach to online video and software distribution. Technology is integrated directly into consumer applications to optimize the experience for each individual end user.

It’s also important in part because the Trump administration’s Federal Communications Commission has said that it doesn’t support Net Neutrality regulations, and is working to undo them. Those regulations required cable and telcom operators to give over-the-top service providers equal treatment when it comes to providing bandwidth services to consumers.

“Traditional television distribution has fundamental commercial and operational characteristics that are very different from Internet video distribution today,” said Scott Brown, vice president at Akamai. “Akamai has developed Media Acceleration to function as a vehicle through which we can introduce innovations that address the quality and scale challenges of OTT, while also facilitating sustainable economic models that can help enable the growth of video distribution over the Internet.”

With the new Akamai technology, over-the-top (OTT) operators can take advantage of more efficient communication between consumer devices and the Akamai network to deliver video that is ideally suited for the device capabilities, network type and conditions of specific end users.

Akamai is leveraging emerging standards, including Quick UDP Internet Connections (QUIC), to help drive customer adoption of Media Acceleration. The capabilities can improve the speed, quality and consistency by which content is delivered over the open Internet while mitigating the degradation that often occurs in the last mile and few feet of a network – even inside the home.

By overcoming many of the fundamental challenges of online video delivery, Media Acceleration can help OTT operators provide a consistently high and predictable quality of experience to which consumers are accustomed with traditional broadcast.

Vimeo, one of the world’s leading online video-sharing platforms and entertainment destinations, realized immediate improvements in its viewer experiences after implementing Akamai Media Acceleration.

“Shortly after shifting traffic to Media Acceleration, Vimeo observed higher quality video experiences for our viewers; most notably a marked increase in playbacks at HD quality,” explained Naren Venkataraman, vice president of engineering at Vimeo, in a statement. “With video creators comprising such a large portion of our customer base, delivering high-quality video and the experience to match is of utmost importance to maintaining the Vimeo brand.”

Video game publishers and software providers can use Media Acceleration to improve the performance of video game delivery and other software download use cases. That would help me out, since it often takes day to download a big game to my game consoles. The technology will be available to Akamai customers as a feature of Akamai’s Adaptive Media Delivery and Download Delivery products.

Akamai plans to demonstrate its Media Acceleration capabilities during the 2017 NAB Show in Las Vegas, April 24 to 27. The company will also show its complete range of cloud-based solutions designed to help content owners deliver the best possible online video viewing experiences to their audience.

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