Over The Top, or OTT, is the abbreviation for streaming services that deliver media content over the internet on top of already existing internet services. Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and others have replaced cable TV subscriptions as the preferred method of media consumption in recent years.
Online media consumption has surpassed traditional cable TV in popularity due to OTT platforms. Cable TV, once the only source of online video content, is now accessible. However, the effectiveness of OTT platforms is measured not only by the content they provide but also by how seamless and effortless the user experience is. Any OTT platform’s content delivery system, based on the platform’s design, is crucial to the platform’s success. A highly efficient method requires prioritizing quality engineering and testing. To find out how to do this, keep reading.
Role and Importance of OTT Platform Testing
Consumers are using different OTT platforms to watch the content. They take several media subscriptions at a time. Today there are more than 110 media providers in the market. Every day, competition increases, so every provider wants to differentiate themselves.
OTT testing involves testing data, voice, video content delivery quality, and user experience through software performance engineering. Behind one application of OTT, several application components, network, and infrastructure setups are linked together. Hence, different types of testing are also involved in testing OTT platforms. These applications are tested for the following capabilities:
- User-friendly and interactive interface
- Compatibility with several devices/browsers
- Content selection
- Feature and functionality testing of the app
- Personalized recommendations for the content
OTT platforms should be thoroughly tested to offer excellent user experience and deliver high and good quality content through performance engineering. High-quality video streaming is also an essential requirement. These systems are usually tested for the following capabilities:
- Playback Quality: Content delivery should not take high streaming time
- Consistent Delivery: There should be stable delivery of content
- Compatibility: The OTT applications should be compatible with almost every device.
- User Accounts Handling: A subscription can usually be accessed by more than one user on different devices. Therefore, OTT users should be able to set up multiple individual accounts with personalized recommendations and watchlists.
- Offline Accessibility: Sometimes, due to network connectivity problems, users cannot access data online. For this, OTT gives the feature to download and view content later. The apps can therefore be tested for offline mode performance as well.
- Smart Recommendations: The OTT applications should be monitored to track the user’s watch history. It helps recommend suitable content to them and increase their interest.
While most viewers use TV, laptops, or mobile phones to consume video content, recent surveys state the use of mobile phones has been rapidly increasing. It makes it crucial that OTT applications are tested for mobile platforms. The following section states developers’ challenges while trying OTT apps for mobile phones.
Challenges in OTT Testing
Today, most content is delivered through streaming rather than rentals or satellite TV. Therefore, providing quality service to users through OTT platforms is essential. In addition, OTT testing ensures that all app features work perfectly and ensure a seamless user experience.
Listed below are some common challenges faced by OTT testers:
- OTT platforms should work with all internet-enabled devices, including computers, smart TVs, smartphones, tablets, and more. However, testing OTT applications on several devices is a big challenge because the tester may need access to all devices and operating systems.
- Internet speed is crucial to run an OTT service uninterruptedly. If the data transfer rate is low, buffering takes longer, which can potentially compel users to switch platforms. Therefore, it is essential to test OTT platform performance on various networks.
- Famous events and streaming shows may cause high traffic, and traffic overload can lead to several glitches, resulting in negative feedback from customers. Moreover, the traffic load is usually unpredictable, which makes it challenging for testers to take precautions beforehand.
- The testers may face these and some other challenges. But application testing is an essential step and can be overcome as well. So here are some ways to overcome those challenges we will discuss in the next section.
How to Overcome Testing Challenges?
Now that we know the challenges while testing OTT platforms let us look at how these can be managed or done away with.
Most QA issues can be handled and resolved through automated OTT testing. Automated testing helps in the following ways:
- Maximize the test coverage
- Scale the testing process without hiring additional testers
- Faster debugging in comparison to manual testing
Cross-Device and Browser Testing
It involves testing the application for different browsers as well as devices. Ensuring the OTT application works across other platforms eases the rendering process.
Testers for OTT must also check the applications’ load limits. They can avoid the application crashing due to periods of high demand. Additionally, load testing contributes to the application’s continued stability. In addition, OTT applications can be tested using various techniques, including functional, UI/UX, security, performance, and integration testing.
The demand for quality checks before they are made available to users worldwide has increased significantly along with the rise of OTT platforms. To ensure app quality, it is ideal for working with a reputable, trustworthy OTT testing company with experience with OTT platforms.