Wireless experiences disappoint US mobile video viewers | Mobile | News | Rapid TV News
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Even though nearly two-fifth of Americans are watching films and TV shows on smartphones, the quality of their viewing experiences is somewhat lagging says the Opensignal annual State of Mobile Video Experience Report.
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The report from the real-world mobile network experience measurement firm analysed billions of real-world video streams to determine mobile video quality in 100 countries worldwide and in addition, to get a better idea of how US consumers watch mobile video, Opensignal also conducted a survey of 1,000 US consumers, weighted for the country’s population by age and gender.

US consumers noted that they were most likely to watch snackable videos that are under five minutes in length (64%) on their mobile devices, but there was also an increasing number of consumers watching content that has to date been traditionally reserved for television screens.

Of the just under two-fifths of US consumers who watch TV programmes on their smartphones, 38% also watch movies. That number increases substantially for younger viewers with 55% of Gen Z viewers noting they stream movies on their mobile device and 52% of millennials saying they stream TV programme or series on their smartphone.

Not surprisingly, Netflix was revealed as the most popular online video service that consumers tune into the most on mobile devices, watched by 47%, followed by Amazon Prime (38%) and Hulu (25%).

The analyst makes the point that with the ubiquity of 4G connectivity and a growing number of mobile subscribers on unlimited data plans, consumers were also tuning in to their favourite shows over wireless connections without hesitation. In fact, of the consumers who say they watch movies and TV programmes on their mobile device, 46% indicated they do so at home on a wireless connection.

Yet as consumers shifted to watching long-form video on mobile networks, Openreach warned as to the robustness of mobile networks to offer acceptable viewing experiences. The US ranked 68th in terms of mobile video experience out of 100 countries analysed.

Moreover, the analyst showed that there were similar issues with the streaming experience on mobile networks. It found that 44% of consumers had experienced stuttering or freezing. An additional 36% said they sometimes switch to Wi-Fi to better stream video on their smartphone, and another 30% indicate that if mobile video playback stutters or freezes, they give up trying to watch.

In attempting to attribute a cause, the analyst pinpointed wireless spectrum availability as a likel key culprit. It noted that capacity was essential to offering large numbers of users both fast speeds and plans with the large volumes of data needed for large scale high-quality mobile video delivery. It also noted that demand keeps increasing.

Looking forward, Opensignal's research showed that until 5G was rolled out at scale in the country, US carriers would face difficult choices around increasing the price of data, or of managing video streaming traffic tightly, for example, to lower picture quality. It warned that if they do neither, the download experience of their users will likely suffer as video traffic overwhelms everything else on the network.