Understanding Video Streaming Algorithms in the Wild

  • Melissa Licciardello
  • Maximilian GrünerEmail author
  • Ankit Singla
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 12048)


While video streaming algorithms are a hot research area, with interesting new approaches proposed every few months, little is known about the behavior of the streaming algorithms deployed across large online streaming platforms that account for a substantial fraction of Internet traffic. We thus study adaptive bitrate streaming algorithms in use at 10 such video platforms with diverse target audiences. We collect traces of each video player’s response to controlled variations in network bandwidth, and examine the algorithmic behavior: how risk averse is an algorithm in terms of target buffer; how long does it takes to reach a stable state after startup; how reactive is it in attempting to match bandwidth versus operating stably; how efficiently does it use the available network bandwidth; etc. We find that deployed algorithms exhibit a wide spectrum of behaviors across these axes, indicating the lack of a consensus one-size-fits-all solution. We also find evidence that most deployed algorithms are tuned towards stable behavior rather than fast adaptation to bandwidth variations, some are tuned towards a visual perception metric rather than a bitrate-based metric, and many leave a surprisingly large amount of the available bandwidth unused.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melissa Licciardello
    • 1
  • Maximilian Grüner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ankit Singla
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceETH ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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