Hosting for OTT Explained

Many new people who want to get involved in OTT channels believe that any type of hosting will do. They want to save a few dollars instead of thinking long term success. This thinking will ensure their failure. Users with insufficient bandwidth, will suffer.

When I started my channels I had a hell of a time understanding what video hosting I really needed.  In the years that have followed I learned a lot and now I’m going to share with you some of the do’s, don’ts and really don’t do it’s.

Shared Hosting OR VPS (aka “Budget” hosting)

The biggest issues are caused by “budget” hosts not working with Roku or Fire TV properly. You will see the channel either buffering no not showing anything at all past the video thumbnails.

In a lot of cases this is because the host has cut corners to squeeze as many people onto a single server as possible.   The big names that we generally see not working:  BlueHost , JustHost, BitNami…  We’ve found that if you ask each of these hosts tech support for help with the more complex issues with OTT, most times they can’t (or won’t) do anything about the issue.  

Another issue to mention with budget hosts which is overloaded servers.  Sometimes hosts will load hundreds of sites on just one server.  They know that 99% of websites hosted there will never see much traffic and in most cases that is true.  

Unfortunately video sites generally require a bit more power and tend to slow your site down so much it becomes unusable.

For example one person, who had a channel that grabbed a lot of viewers, simply crashed the server  along with his channel rankings.  He never was able to hit that synergy ever again.

The moral of the story.. Don’t use Cheap Hosting. You get what you pay for. The revenue you can make with a OTT channel is incredible if you set the platform up to succeed.

VPS (Virtual Private Server)

VPS is similar to “shared” hosting in that you still share space with other websites.  The difference comes where VPS accounts have dedicated resources.  The advantage to this setup is no matter what other sites are doing on that server, your site will remain available.

There are two caveats to VPS that you should be aware of. The first is you may need more resources, so it’s recommended you find a VPS that allows you to make add or remove resources via their control panel.

The second is you should be somewhat competent in running servers.   While most support staff will do their best to help you, they generally take a bit of time to get back to you.    Should the problem be more complex than the support person is trained for, they may ask a lot of needless questions which will take more time.

ROKU does get blocks from cheap hosting.

Why does this happen? It can be quite a few different factors that block the JSON feed.   Sometimes the security systems do not recognize Roku’s ingestion system and block it from accessing your feed.

Other times the host writes over the “header” information of the page making it unreadable by Direct Publisher.

If my host won’t fix the problem, what else can I do?

Get a proper Content Delivery Server CDN with lots of bandwidth to accommodate thousands of viewers. The truth is if you want a professional channel that you can make a living from, you need to have good hosting.

Dash Media TV Provides you with an all in one solution. Not only do we provide a CDN server, but we provide the software to allow up to update your channels automatically, and build great new features into them.

It Starts with your Content Library

Video on demand is the best method for those who are just starting.

How much data transfers and storage do you need?

Another tricky question but I do have a few rules I follow when doing consulting for new channels (rules are different for established networks).

The first thing is to take all of the content you already have “in the can” and ready to be broadcast.  Figure out how much you want to release in the first 6 months of operations.

Take the amount of space that content will use and multiple it by 2.   This is how much data storage you will need.

Data Transfer rates are a lot more tricky.   It really depends on the size of your library vs the amount of viewers.

For example, in August a client launched an “ad supported” version of the Conspiracy Channel.   In the first month we burnt 35 terabytes of data.  Yikes!

This was primarily due to us launching with a full catalog of 200 films and series with some content being over 4 hours long.

When you release your Roku app and you have done a good job with your branding, you may gain 10,000+ new viewers in a month!    However if you are in a smaller niche market, you may only gain a few thousand subscribers.

What options do you have for video hosting?

These days you have quite a bit of options for video hosting and each of them has their strength and weakness.

Amazon S3 with CloudFront

S3 is by far the most complicated of this group, but also the cheapest.   You really have to do everything yourself from encoding the video files, creating the HLS streams and more.   You should be extremely tech savvy if you plan on using this method.

DaCast, MetaCDN and others

The next step up is more pricey but offers a lot more in the way of support and ease-of-use.   I can’t recommend a specific company as they all are balanced for various needs.   Just do your research and ask lots of questions before you sign a deal with them.

Vimeo Pro & Business

Starting at $200/year for Vimeo Pro and $500/year for Vimeo Business, these are options.. BUT you don’t get unlimited bandwidth as you don’t use the Vimeo player* However, be aware that Vimeo usually cuts you off within 2 months of use if you get lots of views. READ ” HELP I GOT VIMEO”D “ If you get popular Vimeo will ask you to move up to the custom plans which are expensive to the tune of 3K – 12K per month

It really comes down to the needs of your channels.   Sometimes you may have to limit the amount of content at the start so you can build up the money to fund more space.  It’s all a balancing act 

Dash Media OTT Service Hosting

Dash Media TV offers a hosting service for content owners/providers that intends to launch its own Over-the-Top (OTT) streaming services with the shortest time to market. 

Our carefully put together team of professionals will help hand hold the prospective client through the process of launching a world class streaming service in the most cost-efficient manner. 

Contact Us today and speak with any of our account managers to learn more about what we can do for you. 

Advantages of DASH MEDIA TV Partnership:

  • Fast Go to Market Time:
  • Low upfront investment
  • Pay as you grow

Launching an OTT streaming service has never been made easier with Dash Media TV 

Please follow and like us: