A Comparison of Popular Live Streaming Services in Singapore

1. Introduction

This study aims to delve into the specifics of different live streaming services available to users in the context of Singapore. With it being an affluent country with a high smartphone penetration rate and high Internet speeds, Singapore is a potential market for content creators embarking on a career in live streaming. However, no existing research has specifically discussed the different live streaming services available in the country, and there are also few statistical data and figures released by the various live stream service platforms in their annual reports. As the backend of popular live streaming Singapore often follow a similar recommendation system catering to specific screen sizes, functions, and tools as features, the presented data and observations in this study may be generalized to standalone applications of a sub-category if the need arises (e.g., a specific Internet of Things sub-category with specific composition needs or a smart mirror for users to engage in live streaming activities).

In recent years, the entertainment industry has undergone significant changes, welcoming live streaming as part of its ecosystem following the rise of video sharing and video-on-demand services. The popularity of live streaming can be attributed to the real-time sharing of experiences, communication, and interaction in various forms. Users engage in live streaming activities not only to express, inspire, promote, or communicate, but also to interact with content creators and other users in real time. There are various live streaming services available on social media platforms, similar in some ways, and yet different in others. Consequently, users have a wide variety of platforms to choose from.

2. Methodology

The purpose of this paper is to provide a comparative study of three popular live streaming services in Singapore. These live streaming services are Instagram Live, Facebook Live, and Twitter/Periscope. Only Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have their own respective live streaming services as Instagram Live, Facebook Live, and Twitter/Periscope. While there is no live streaming service in the name of Periscope, the live video sharing platform is powered by Periscope. Hence, we would thus term it as Twitter/Periscope. Instagram Live, Facebook Live, and Twitter/Periscope rose to prominence through offering live video features where participating users could produce, and some could view, publish, and share live video broadcasts. The Instagram Live feature was first introduced on August 30, 2016, but it was initially limited in terms of usage duration and functionality, not offering flexibility in the way broadcasters and audiences connected, as well as the live video experience, including payments from audiences or host rewards. On June 22, 2017, Instagram Live was updated, and its live video broadcasting services expanded, thus boldly challenging Facebook Live and Twitter/Periscope.

The increasing use of popular live streaming services in Singapore, such as Instagram Live, Facebook Live, and Twitter/Periscope, to communicate real-time information on a wide range of topics raises growing concerns about their impact on Singaporean society. The purpose of the paper is to provide an analytical comparison of these three popular live streaming services in Singapore among four selected categories. We designed a short survey of 14 questions to collect the information provided by each respondent.

3. Technical Features

There are commands such as a list that can be used to list the current running channels. Necessary information through the use of these commands will be included with the help descriptions. With this interface becoming more advanced, you can use IRC chat controls to get directly to the broadcasts of sites like TwitchTV. You can also use the Rizon bot webserv to watch TwitchTV streams on your website.

3.4 View Interface

You can use the push method to launch specific channels. This is usually done by an authorized user. Details about the authorization procedure are discussed in my write-up about it later. In the current implementation, only the Zenric, Rippled, Garena, Wormhole, Vlb, and Minecraft. However, this might change as more and more streaming services are launched.

3.3 ChannelBot

You need to realize that with these interfaces, when you create a new channel, you and you alone can use this interface to add fans. No other modification to your channel will be made by the view interface, which is explained next. After creating a channel, every action regarding your stream will be carried out of view during the time that the waypoint 80 is viewed. Consider this fact to help design your ChannelBot when creating and launching your channel.

3.2 Custom Channels

Most of these web interfaces do not require you to download a client and should work fine with the operating systems you are using, saving you some hard drive space. Some sites have registration fees and are supported by these, so you might still need to install some software. Also, it is not always a good idea to use these through your browsers, creating and launching these services through the ChannelBot for your Channel through the view interface is possible.

3.1 Web Interface

3.1. Video Quality

For live streaming of sports events such as a World Cup or Pools tournament, it is more important for the user to watch the event rather than being able to watch it at the highest quality. Most users who watch eSports content will want a higher resolution for better visibility of the action, especially when screen recording it for analysis. Fewer users watch live streaming of protests or talks but they tend to belong to certain age groups or have particular interests such as lifelong learning. Different services will offer different resolutions depending on the service provider’s specifications as well as the device in use.

Live streaming the event venue consumes a lot of bandwidth, not only for the service provider, but also for all users watching the event. Live streaming at higher resolutions consumes even more bandwidth and is often more susceptible to packet loss. Similar to how companies advertise the speed of their broadband connections, companies often advertise the resolution and quality of their live streaming services in the number of lines (in the older system where video was interlaced) or the number of pixels. These days, video is transmitted at either 1920 pixels width (1080p) or 1280 pixels width (720p). The fans of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) are familiar with these numbers: fights are normally live streamed in 1080p but users have to either pay more or go to a venue showing the broadcast to view it.

3.2. Latency

Since 1 June 2018, the new Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC) standard has been implemented in HTML5 in many newer browsers and is especially useful since it does not require browser plugins. I use WebRTC to measure the round-trip time of each live streaming service to determine their inherent latencies. The round-trip time of a WebRTC session can be easily captured by the addRTCPeerConnectionListeners() JavaScript shorthand below. The trip time of a WebRTC session can be captured through either the combination of the onicecandidate() and the setLocalDescription(), or the onstatechange() events of the RTCPeerConnection configuration scheme that works in all available HTML5 browsers. Simply put, pings are sent to the WebRTC ICE server using the trickle-ICE mechanism during the initial session description negotiation stage, and round-trip times are captured after the RTCPeerConnection has been established.

As mentioned earlier, the Singapore Broadband Speed Test does not seem to reflect real-world delays. Many live streaming services also often have to buffer their content to maintain a smooth experience, given Singapore’s general problem of last-mile connectivity. However, the different services have their own levels of latency, and this could be significant in certain applications such as real-time surveillance of public areas.

3.3. Supported Devices

As for the Free-to-air Channels, a TV with built-in Digital (DVB-T2) receiver, an indoor or outdoor antenna will suffice, since these services are from the state-owned national broadcaster. The tvOS mentioned is referring to Apple’s smart TV operating system; therefore, Apple TV will work fine. The Xbox One mentioned is that of Microsoft, while LG WebOS is a smart TV operating system created by LG. Google Android TV is an operating system which can be found in Smart TV devices, which includes the NVIDIA Shield. Since Sound Hub 2 is Mediacorp’s own receiver, it would be compatible with meWATCH. The same also goes for meWATCH Digital Set-Top Box.

The thing is that since meWATCH is collaborating with Mediacorp, the variety of devices that can be used to watch the content on the service is slightly more diverse compared to the others. The minimum requirements of the devices are as follows. The specific device recommendations are not easily found; therefore, most of the data collected here is from the technical support webpages within each of the online platforms.

4. Content and Channel Options

More choices and options available here. No worries about TVB programming language, you will have a selection of English and Chinese Interface. Head to the TVBAnywhere+ E-shop to explore more of the available and available channels. Depending on your mobile data plan, no worries about data usage and bill with iSwitch and a data-free experience for data SIM card users. Offline download and interface language selection features will also come your way.

TVBAnywhere+ and HERETVBANYWHERE+ Watch live (and in most cases, in replay of the last 8 hours). Pause to listen to the Canto Pop Music Channel if you need to!

Singtel Go, Starhub Go, Toggle and Mi Box You can catch all the live-action of Hollywood, Korean, Asian and Arabic films and dramas, and more! Simply download and launch the respective service app. Singtel Go and Starhub Go allow you to sign up and watch selected content for a fee! Don’t miss any sports and documentary channels available via Toggle app! Join us in doing cable-free and enjoy more of your favourite on-demand content with the newly released Mi Box available via mobile devices and a big-screen TV. Catch it live on-the-go today! Sample PlanStarhub Go includes Sports and Entertainment.

5. Pricing and Subscription Models

Bilibili has its own subscription tier, Bilibili Pricing Model, where an established subscriber base provides stability for the streaming website. This is equivalent to Twitch’s subscription revenue. UClass is thus considered an outlier with its over-reliance on advertising revenue, compared to the subscription monetization model. UClass limits streaming hours of non-subscribers, and a subscription is required for viewers to join the chat, although this is occasionally switched off for new users. The second monetization model is the hybrid mode, which has both free and paid tiers.

The first mode is the free tier, which allows users to watch videos without charge. Belonging in this category are YouTube Live and Facebook Live, both of which are supported by advertisements. Twitch also has a free tier, but subscriptions entitled Twitch Partners to additional revenue. From a user’s perspective, the subscription, which is not ‘freemium’, allows more direct contribution to a streamer. As users are incentivized to subscribe, premiums are especially significant for streamers because it is part of the streaming service’s UEWI (user engagement with interface) which is packed with effective hooks to deepen the User Engagement Loop. A subscription is required to watch exclusive content such as in-game rewards, ad-free streaming, and other features. Viewers who subscribe pay a fixed rate monthly to support streamers with more dynamic features chronicled in several streamer interviews.

6. User Experience

Last but not least, other users in the audience were instrumental in evaluating the user experience of the tested live streaming platforms. Their presence, comments, interaction, local lighting, and audio settings, etc. are part of the live streaming experience. Users needed to adapt and innovate during 2020 as described in the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. These new online users had minimal user experience, not just for live streaming but also for session management, task switching, multiple windows handling, etc. The entire integrated experience surrounding the live video streaming adds up to a Digital-Physical User Environment factor. Issues were observed only on sessions with Google Chrome browser on a mobile device or PC and appear to be related to the device hardware and connectivity, combined with the user’s familiarity or capability to troubleshoot.

The user experience comprises of various components starting from the hardware and software such as the computing device, operating system, and web browser, and other third-party software applications such as OBS, Buffer, Restream. The features and controls of streaming platforms, the specific highlights of the live streaming services such as user interface, server location, latency, playback, and video on demand are another part of the user experience. The user access device hardware specifications and security features also play a part in the live streaming experience.

Latest Posts