CEO Brad Hunstable to Time Magazine: “We’re Optimizing for Quality”

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As the buzz about mobile streaming video reaches a fever pitch, Time magazine’s John Patrick Pullen points out one aspect of the issue that no one’s talking about: the impact on our mobile data plans.

Highlighting that Ustream has been in the live-streaming game for more than five years, Pullen sat down with CEO Brad Hunstable to get his take on live video apps will impact the mobile data landscape.

Live-stream users should expect their data bill to reflect how they use these apps, says Ustream CEO Brad Hunstable. “If you broadcast for one minute, once to twice a week it’s not a big deal, “ he says. “But if you broadcast for an hour once or twice a day, you could have some sticker shock.”

Fortunately, Ustream already addresses the issue of bandwidth and data usage by dynamically adjusting the video feed for the network or device.

“We’re optimizing for quality in the background,” says Hunstable. “If someone is on a poor connection, we’re actually going to send them a lower quality file to make sure that it gets delivered and works, and is not choppy.” In comparison, Meerkat and Periscope only play in standard definition.

While both AT&T and Verizon have both capped their data plans, unlimited data options have thrived among other providers looking to differentiate themselves. Whether the growing popularity of mobile streaming video will force a change in the status quo is still uncertain.

“My personal opinion is that we’re in a temporary place where they charge a lot for this data consumption,” says Hunstable, who is looking forward to technologies like 5G networks to make prices more reasonable and bandwidth bigger.

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