If you’re like me, the pandemic and subsequent new normal have changed how you use video streaming services. In the past, watching TV or movies was an occasional way for me to pass time. But not being able to visit with friends and family made it the way I kept myself occupied! I thought that it would be marvelous to share my video streaming with a larger group, in real time, so that we all felt connected with a shared virtual experience.
Luckily, media streaming has become richer and more personalized. 5G speeds enable 4K and 8K video streams to mobile devices, and artificial intelligence (AI) is predicting what binge-worthy content we’ll like and want to watch next.
We can now share this experience with others as social media and streaming have intersected, thanks to the recent innovation of social viewing, where multiple people concurrently view a single movie, TV show or event. As they view, they can interact using social features like picture-in-picture video feeds of users, comments and emojis.
“Virtual family rooms” enable social viewing
Social viewing creates a real-time virtual family room where friends, family and colleagues watch the same content together — even though they're not in the same location. Movies, TV shows or sporting events are streamed and synced across each viewer’s smartphone. And if the video is paused, it pauses in the exact same spot for all viewers. They can also see each other, chat, text and send emojis to the viewing group while watching the streamed content. This interaction is bridging the distance between friends and family, wherever they’re located.
Social viewing can be an amazing experience, but one that calls for syncing concurrent 4K and 8K video streams. That means massive amounts of data requiring massive amounts of high-bandwidth memory. And these multiple, high-definition streams are being pushed out to multiple viewers — all at the same time.
Social viewing company Groopview explains that social viewing is far more advanced than videoconferencing tools. “Those platforms are great for sharing PowerPoint presentations or documents but not so much for video streaming,” says Krishnan Rajam, Groopview Chief Technology Officer. “Social viewing requires an entirely other set of technologies like adaptive bit rate streaming, digital rights management, entitlements, synchronization of video frames across several devices on disparate network connections, connection management, etc. It greatly amplifies the complexity of providing a reliable and high-quality end-to-end service.”
Micron is lending its mobile memory and storage expertise, tools and testing to help Groopview engineers optimize the viewing experience and uncover where the application is taxing the system and memory more than necessary.
Social viewing is fueled by massive amounts of data
The multiple concurrent video streams associated with social viewing are fueled by massive amounts of data. A 4K video with a 60 frames per second (FPS) video bit rate generates approximately 100 megabits of data each second. This increases as more viewers are added to a session or as the resolution of videos increases.
For example, a social viewing session with five viewers simultaneously watching a 4K video while broadcasting each of their selfie videos in 4K results in multidirectional networking data traffic upwards of 500 Mbps, which requires 5G network speeds to relay the 4K video1. Processing just a single high-resolution 4K video filmed on a smartphone requires a peak memory bandwidth upwards of 30 GBps2. These bandwidth requirements grow when social viewing features are added because they greatly increase the amount of data generated and broadcast.
5G data rates allow for multiple users and 4K and 8K streams. But handling massive video files requires high-bandwidth, low-latency and high-capacity memory to feed that data quickly to processors for seamless social viewing experiences.
Adding dual-camera functionality to social viewing lets you add livestreaming events, such as vacations, soccer games or family reunions, to the list of content you can watch and react to with friends. But as you generate high-frame 4K videos in real time, saving those videos will also require enhanced storage and memory capacity.
Rajam explains, “Companies like Micron bring acceleration efficiencies to 5G, with highly capable chips, memory and processing power in the devices — so when you put all those things together with compute and storage nodes that provide a tremendous acceleration of content delivery at the mobile network edge, 5G becomes very compelling.”
Micron’s mobile leadership makes it possible to unleash social viewing
With social viewing, viewers expect the experience to run as seamlessly as simple tasks like checking email. Micron’s mobile memory portfolio is ideally suited to unleash the full potential of this 5G experience. With 52-GBps bandwidth for flagship smartphones, Micron LPDDR5 makes it possible to feed content and videos from multiple users to AI-powered processors quickly enough to experience seamless 8K streams, even when scaling to larger viewing audiences. It also provides enough bandwidth to combine social viewing with future features like portrait mode, augmented reality, 360-degree video and higher-resolution cameras.
New 5G and AI-powered use cases like social viewing demand a new way of thinking about memory and storage — a holistic platform approach to achieve higher memory bandwidth and capacity, lower latency and lower power for seamless user experiences throughout the day, all on a single charge.
Social viewing requires that dedicated high-performance memory bandwidth be readily available to increasingly complex systems on chips (SoCs) to avoid bottlenecks. And as new 5G-enabled apps appear, mobile memory and storage performance must also scale to keep up with the higher 5G data download speeds. However, this performance cannot come at the cost of sacrificing battery life.
Micron’s industry-leading mobile memory and storage products are the key to seamless user experiences. Our high-bandwidth memory products keep SoCs fed with a continuous stream of data, and our low-latency, high-capacity storage products are designed for quick downloads of videos for immediate online or offline viewing.
Micron specifically engineered these products to fuel new applications — like social viewing — on 5G smartphones, balancing demands for storage capacity and computational power with size constraints, cost effectiveness and extended battery life.
Micron’s mobile technology leadership makes it possible to unleash full 5G and AI potential for emerging smartphone experiences like social streaming. For more information, find us online at micron.com/mobile and follow us on Twitter @MicronTech and on LinkedIn.
1 Calculations based on 4K, 60FPS video with a bit rate of approximately 85 to 100 Mbps.
2 Actual Micron-measured peak LPDDR5 memory bandwidth of 31.62 GBps during broadcast video-recording smartphone application with a 27MP resolution camera.