Video on demand (VOD) system allows users to select and watch video content such as movies and TV shows on the time they choose, instead of watching it on an exact broadcast time which was the main approach with on-the-air broadcasting throughout the 20th century. Mounting numbers of VOD mobile app users proves that Live/On-demand Video streaming mobile applications are the future of the entertainment industry. The cable subscription is now less admired option and more like a way to show more repeated commercials to the audience in between old movies.
Above facts state that lots of entertainment businesses across the globe are investing a handsome amount in video streaming mobile app development and hunting for proficient mobile application developers in order to make a big share in booming multi-million dollar VOD industry. Most of the people get confused over the features and functionalities and fail to choose the best one. Let’s find out why this is happening and how to make a video stream app!
Three major facets that one should consider before developing a multi-platform live video streaming application are:
- Scalability: The back-end architecture should be scalable enough to handle increasing numbers of users in real time without any disruption.
- Security: Videos are one of the most stolen and plagiarized things on the internet. So look out for Digital rights, encryption, access control and other safeguards.
- Flexibility: The video solution should be flexible enough to support all platforms and devices ranging from desktop to mobile & tablets. One will lose a significant set of the market if an app is developed for a specific device.
Large-Scale Data Transfer & Storage – Expensive, Slow & Bandwidth Intensive
Live & On-Demand Video Streaming – Expensive Infrastructure, Reduced scope of Reusability
Content Transcoding – Expensive for large Data Sets, multiple jobs to be processed in different formats
Content Distribution Analytics – Usage analysis-Expensive & lacks detailed analysis
Mobile phone video viewers in the United States from 2014 to 2020
The features and sections of On-Demand Video Streaming App
This is one of the fundamental parts of any interactive VOD system. App Developers should provide multiple options to the user for making a registration or login. For instance, they can choose a mobile number for OTP verification, Facebook login or Google login. Also, do not forget to keep the option to recover a password when the user forgets the credentials accidentally. Invest more time on the UI of the registration and login page as it is the first screen, which App Developers will be showing to the user.
There should also be an option to edit and personalize user profiles. Mobile App Developers can also get relevant statistics like users subscribers and subscription count, watched videos, saved videos, videos which he/she replays multiple numbers of times, video genres and much more from that. Also, keep the option to share the recently watched playlist of videos with friends on social media.
Although people most likely want to share things on social media with their peers but at times they might require some privacy. So keeping in mind the stated fact, App Developers should keep the option to toggle privacy options for allowing the users to choose their friends and social platforms themselves for broadcasting their choices. App Developers can also tweak some features and let the user choose from a number of people from the air or any defined area or time.
If the user wants to watch any particular video but do not know where the video is and how to find it, then search feature comes to work. Let the user search through the whole database for playing a particular video. Instead, keep filters for searching by location, broadcast topic, date, length of the video, genres, language, and most watched, etc. If the user gets what he/she is looking for in few seconds, it will indeed leave a positive impact.
Interactive User Experience
It is recommended to implement a top-notch UI design along with the player, so that it looks sleek while playing the video whether in full screen or half screen. From making a full screen to increasing or decreasing the volume or screen or the brightness adjustments, App user can customize it as he/she wants. Include the headphone settings with a toggle in this section. The video player should support from FLV video files to VR and 360-degree videos for a more immersive user experience.
Review & Ratings:
Share the Screen
Anyone who uses Skype is aware of the “share the screen” feature. This is just showing another person what he or she would see on the mobile screen. It makes streaming videos easier than ever and lessens the hectic of making tutorials. Sharing game tutorials with a similar approach are easier to share and broadcast.
Comments option used by two sections – one for the broadcaster and another for the audience or the users. The broadcaster will get the reviews or comments from the public, and the audiences will get their questions answered from the broadcaster side. Also, there would an option to downvote or upvote for any comments as per personal preferences. This option would help the users to expresses their opinion and receive the feedback and critics for the same, which in turn, motivates them to improve the quality of streams.
Geolocation is a great addition to any video streaming application. Users will be able to find broadcasts according to their region. It gives the user to choose which broadcasts to watch from the map itself. VOD App Developer can also mark markers in the map in a range around the user’s current location to show who is live broadcasting in that region. Show the live ones in blue and inactive ones in red. Though, one can customize the look anytime.
As this is the main motto of this kind of app, so try to implement every single detail possible. Always do the streaming from an external server and keep the app as lightweight as possible. The broadcasting stream passes via the server to the user device and stays there until the user is watching it. After the usage, it is automatically deleted from the server side. The server will convert the broadcast and will do the transmission to the application. cloud servers are must for video streaming applications. Do take care of the scaling part of the servers as the more user App will have, more the request it will need to handle. Alongside, keep the option for saving the videos in the external storage of the user’s device so that he/she can watch it later but handle the copyright issues before allowing the user to save files in local storage.
Stream Quality – This is one of the important characteristics to consider while on-demand video streaming app development. It helps the users to watch flawless still if the network bandwidth is down. It would be better to keep the lower option as for the video quality to 144p and higher option up to 1080p or 4k. Let the app decide the quality of the video automatically as per the network flow.
Subscriptions & Revenue Modals
This feature helps the users to stay connected with the app to be updated when any new video comes up from their favorite band or performing teams. It is the best way to create an engagement between the user and the app. If any broadcaster does not allow free subscription then it is better to keep the option to redirect the user for in-app purchases from there.
Revenue Models in OTT
TVOD – Transactional Video On-demand (TVOD) is a distribution model where customers pay for each individual piece of video-on-demand content.
SVOD – Subscription Video-On-Demand services use a subscription business model, where subscribers are charged a monthly fee to access unlimited programs. These services include Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video, Videoland, HBO Go and CuriosityStream.
AVOD – Advertise-Based VOD model is free for the users, in the sense that you will pay with your views instead of your money. YouTube as an example, Although YouTube is a hybrid model as it’s a mix of all three models…
Payment Mode –
PayPal, Braintree, Credit/Debit Cards, Wallets Apps
In-app Purchase model
Multiple Currency Support
Push notification has now been an essential part of every mobile application. It helps the users to stay notified with all the current happening without being on the app all the time. Therefore, when their favorite broadcaster starts streaming something he/she will get a push notification on the device for the same without missing anything. Along with that, App Developers can also implement scheduling feature. Giving the flexibility to schedule a future broadcast will make the app more interactive.
In the admin section, the most important feature is Analytics and QoE/QoS Monitoring. One can analyze the live viewers and broadcasters in an overall graphical manner. The admin will also be aware of the real-time insights of the usage of the app and previous data to make further decision.
Support of Hybrid Platform
High-end encoder and decoder for the trans-coding
Maximum render fluidity and adaptability for enterprise-level protocols
Live feed of URL to play in custom media player
Live monetization ads of the stream
Social casting and support for webcasting
Webcast the stream in websites along with social channel
Involved Technology Stack
- Push Notifications – Twilio, Push.io
- SMS, Voice, and Phone Verification -Nexmo, Twilio
- Payments – Braintree & PayPal, Stripe, EWallets
- GWT – for Powerful Programming
- Datastax – for Data Management
- Mandrill – for everything related to emails
- Debian – the Universal Operating System
- Database – MongoDB, HBase, Cassandra, Postgress, Mail Chimp Integration
- Cloud Environment – AWS
- Real-time Analytics – Hadoop, Spark, BigData, Apache Flink, Cisco, IBM
- Streaming Media System – Helix Universal Server, Wowza Streaming Engine, Nimble Streamer
Wire-framing and Design Section
Before choosing the final design, App Developers need to make a draft to get an overall idea. Wire-framing is one relevant section of app designing. Hiring Expert UX/UI designer is important to get a flawless design. It takes around 18 hours to 20 hours to develop the wire-framing. Prospective users would not use the app if the apps are sluggish and bulky in design. Hence remember, User interface and User experience is very important and must be considered with utmost priority.
It is better to avoid using too many bright colors instead of using something materialistic, which looks classy and straightforward and is convenient for the users. Better follow one color scheme or theme for the whole app design to avoid jumbling up as it will affect the aesthetic. As per UX is concerned the users should be able to broadcast instantly if something interesting is going to happen. The whole UI designing takes about 48 hours to 50 hours to complete even though there is always the possibility to upgrade the design part in future updates.
Recently, App Developers Tube has released its analog services to stream videos. One can also take use of other third-party servers and services for streaming purposes. Developers need to setup protocols to get the streaming part working in a flow. The set of protocols required are RTSP, UDP, TCP, HLS, RTMP etc. Contus Vplay, Wowza SDK are other tools that App Developers can use for streaming purpose.
Connecting other users to ones steaming is a complicated process and experienced developers should be assigned this work. For the backend, App Developers can put their trust on Laravel. It handles traffic fluctuations quite well and helps in performing multiple user requests. For video players, App Developers can make a custom one using Video JS or other feasible options available.
Geolocation – There are usually few ways to get the users current location. One is by cell towers and another is by GPS tracking. GPS positioning is much more accurate than the previous one. App Developers can use Google’s Map kit for Android and Apple maps for Apple devices. The GPS chip inside the device uses data from the satellite so it is more reliable.
Hosting – For hosting, one can rely upon Amazon Cloud Services. App developers can get a good idea from the below picture of the tools needed.
Push Notification – Push notifications have turned into an integrative piece for communication with any application. For Android devices, App Developers can use Google Cloud Messaging Service, and for iOS devices, one can take the help of Apple Push Notification Service (APN).
Project Manager: He/she should be an expert on mobile industry having a precise knowledge of what works and what does not. You can perform the role as well, provided you are confident of your existing knowledge and managerial skills. The project manager will make a deep market study and will suggest best things to do.
Designers: This group cannot be ignored. No matter how strong your app may be regarding coding, if it fails to attract the view of users during the course of usage, it may soon be uninstalled. Therefore, good UX/UI designers are required to make a good choice of color, background, elements, etc. They make the frame look good on screen.
Developer Team: A team of three developers (android app developer, iPhone app developer) will be enough for the Android and Apple versions. For the desktop version, App Developers will need a UX/UI designer. For backend API construction, hiring a team of good back-end team working behind it would be necessary, in addition to some frontend developers.
Testing and QA Team
Testing and quality assurance is one critical phase/factor before App Developers can bring the app live in the market. The team will find every single bug and crashes and inform the developer team for further fixing.
Cost of Developing On-Demand Video Streaming App
The cost of on-demand video streaming app development depends on the App development firm as the rate is different for developing the app based on region and time took to develop the app. In addition, it also depends on the complexity of the app and its additional features. Most of the companies charge on an hourly basis. Countries on the eastern side cost less around 40-50 dollar per hour in comparison to USA and UK. The total project will cost around 10,000- 50,000 dollars.
- US-based developers: – $50 to $250 per hour
- Eastern-Europe based developers: – $30 to $150 per hour
- India-based developers: – $10 to $80 per hour
The costing may increase if the back-end management is also taking into account. However, one can start the app from free and opt for in-app purchases option to a premium version that is excluded from ads.