Video on Demand in a High Bandwidth World

Proc. SAICSIT-2017, Thaba Nchu, Free State, South Africa, September 2017,

Philip Machanick

Video on Demand (VoD) is a challenging area requiring complex server and distributed systems architectures. In this paper I describe an alternative implementation of VoD that exploits the growing affordability of fibre bandwidth to remove the latency problems of scaling up VoD. I call the general principle Information Mass Transit (IMT). By analogy with regular mass transit, making all traffic move in bulk without individual service variation makes for a much more efficient system. The core idea is to broadcast the same movie repeatedly at short intervals. To explicate the design, I set this interval at 1 minute, implying a latency of up to a minute to start a movie. However, this latency can be disguised if a user has a catalogue of movies that includes the first minute of each. Provided the number of users is much higher than the number of movies, this approach is affordable in terms of bandwidth and totally removes any need for servers or network infrastructure, beyond new connections for new users, to scale with the number of users. I call this approach Scalable Architecture for Video on Demand or SAVoD.

ACM DL Author-ize serviceVideo on demand in a high bandwidth world
Philip Machanick
SAICSIT ’17 Proceedings of the South African Institute of Computer Scientists and Information Technologists, 2017