with Streamlike This page offers best practices for Streamlike customers to reduce both their costs and their greenhouse gas emissions.
Let’s be clear: the impact of the various proposed actions varies greatly, but none of them is useless.
The environmental footprint of digital technology is equivalent to that of civil aviation. Video accounts for 80% of Internet data transit and 20% of digital greenhouse gas emissions.
Connection speeds are constantly increasing with fiber and 5G, and the content offering is growing and adapting, with ever higher transfer speeds. Delivering video online has an environmental cost but also a price. On social networks, it is the advertising and especially the value of the viewer’s personal data that pays for the costs incurred.
To reduce the impact and the costs, you just have to be moderate and use appropriate solutions for each need.
The first rule is to adapt the quality and type of media to the purpose of your content.
What makes a video heavy is its resolution and frame rate. A « Full HD » image is more than twice the size (weight) of a 720p image and a 4K image is 4 times the size of a « Full HD » image.
There is no need to produce in too high a resolution, which will not be perceptible. For example, there is no need to go beyond 720p for video conference recordings, or for still interviews (« talking heads »).
Generally speaking, anything that is intended to be seen on small screens or especially listened to does not justify high definition. In fact, if the image is not particularly interesting, create audio media – some call it « podcast » – with a cover image instead.
Also avoid encoding at more than 25 fps for footage with little action. Consider that a 30 fps video is 20% heavier than a 25 fps video.
Your media library is a bit like a kitchen; you can store some food in the refrigerator, store some in the freezer and you can throw away what is out of date. In your media library, you need to distinguish between media that need to be available for immediate playback, media that simply need to be kept, and media that you no longer need to keep.
Let’s start with what can be stored in the freezer.
This is called cold storage because the server is only turned on to transfer a file (upload or download), but is turned off the rest of the time, which greatly reduces power consumption compared to « high availability » storage.
At Streamlike, we have what we call « Hibernation« . This is a cold archive where we can keep heavy files that are not meant to be broadcast, like the rushes of a shooting for example.
These files are easy to find by their title, their description, their keywords. When you ask to retrieve them, you receive an email with a secure download link.
If there are videos on your account that are no longer viewed or that have become obsolete, you can archive them rather than keep them on high-availability storage. You can retrieve them at any time and they will automatically be re-encoded for playback. To use the freezer analogy, your videos will be defrosted automatically so they’re ready for consumption again.
Of course, you will also reduce your digital footprint and costs if you delete media from your media library that is no longer needed or that you have already saved locally, on a hard drive or USB key for example.
A little trick to avoid keeping obsolete media in high availability when it is no longer necessarily: in the Streamlike console you can define validity periods for them. When they expire, these media will go « offline » and it will be easier to select them and decide if you want to archive or delete them.
Think about this when you make a video to announce an event.
The Streamlike player has four settings for more digital sobriety. You can enable them individually or bundle them into a player configuration that you can eventually set as default for your entire account. In other words, you can set a higher level of sobriety for a video, for webTV, or for anything that streams from your account.
Let’s take a look at these settings. They are accessible from the « rendering » menu and described in the online documentation:
The first one is the automatic start of the playback, which is disabled by default. Autoplay is what you get on Facebook or LinkedIn when you scroll through your news feed, or also on YouTube or news sites that run video ads. All this consumes data unnecessarily. The best practice is to let the user decide if and when to start playing.
In case it has been activated on your account, the automatic start can be deactivated with the &autostart or &autoplay parameter set to zero.
This player setting drastically reduces the amount of data used when listening to a video that is not visible (i.e. that plays in the background, from a hidden tab). The player switches to an audio-only stream until the video becomes visible again.
To activate this mode, the &background_audio parameter must be set to 1.
To lighten your web pages, we recommend you to activate the &landing parameter, which avoids the loading of the video player and just loads the cover image with a « play » button. The video player is only loaded if you click on the image to start playing. Nothing distinguishes this mode from a classic integration but the page loads faster and the delay that is added to the start of the video is imperceptible.
To activate this mode, the &landing parameter must be set to 1.
This is the most effective parameter for limiting the quality of the video playback, i.e. the bit rate. It is set to a maximum value in Kbps and all the qualities beyond that which might be available are made inaccessible.
For example, if you have full HD recordings of conferences but you think it is sufficient to show them at best in 720p, you can set the bitrate limit to 2500 Kbps by giving the value 2500 to the &throttling parameter. By doing this, the amount of data transferred is reduced by about half, without perceiving a drop in quality.
There is a less extreme variant of the previous parameter that limits the video quality as long as the playvback mode is not switched to full screen. In other words, the quality limit disappears if you switch the video to full screen.
Using the example of full HD conference recordings, if you set the &inline_throttling parameter to 2500, you will only see the 720p version until you switch to full screen playback. In this case, the full HD version will be played.
The overall saving in terms of data volume is less but still very significant.
Example of integration of a video with « &autostart=0&landing=1&throttling=1000&background_audio=1 » :
That’s it for the digital sobriety settings.
The reason is simple: when you send a video file to a social network or instant messenger, you create new copies and transcodes that will be duplicated on average on 6 datacenters and kept for life, even if you are going to delete them later, which is unlikely and sometimes impossible.
So instead of sending your files to YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Yammer, Chatter, Whatsapp etc… we recommend you to share the link of your Streamlike video. The rendering will be similar but you will keep control of it, you will not multiply the copies, you will have consolidated viewing analytics and you will be able to modify or unpublish them at any time.
We hope you found some solutions applicable to your case in this page, for a more eco-responsible and economical streaming.