Al Arabiya launches live HD streaming service

Adaptive bit rate tech supports smooth video regardless of bandwidth.
The live Al Arabiya streaming service is capable of HD quality.
The live Al Arabiya streaming service is capable of HD quality.

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Al Arabiya news channel has launched a live HD stream of its broadcasts available worldwide.

The service uses adaptive bit rate technology to ensure that the individual users receive the best possible quality that can be supported by their internet connection at that moment in time.

“This feature is extremely helpful as it enables us to provide the best picture quality to high speed internet users around the world and in parallel helps Al Arabiya to overcome problems caused by limited broadband internet access which is still a common issue for the MENA region,” said Nasser Alsarami, head of media at Al Arabiya.

The technology underlying the service has been provided by Arvato Mobile.

“The way we are doing this is very unique. The challenge was to create a big reach and so everyone can access the video and simply click and view,” said Ingo Lalla, VP IPTV and platform services, Arvato Mobile. “That is why it was decided to base this service on Flash, which is on 95 percent of all computers rather than something like Silverlight which is on less than 40 percent of all computers,” explained Lalla.

“We started the pilot with Al Arabiya in July 2009. What it does is ensure that a consumer watches the video in the best quality possible. So if you begin with 2 Mb/s it will give you video at around 1.8 Mb/s,” said Lalla. “If you are sharing your connection and someone begins downloading something cutting the speed to 1.3Mb/s, our technology recognises this and adapts to 1.2 Mb/s. Normally, the video would try to operate without enough bandwidth causing it to buffer and sending the audio out of sync.”

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