This article is part 17 of the "21 Thoughts on Video Streaming in 2021"-series.
We've made great strides in the past few years in terms of what we can deliver to our users in terms of video streams. Things that seemed almost impossible to achieve not that long ago, unless you had your own huge team of rocket scientists to build it, became productized and available as libraries, systems and cloud services. Server side ad insertion is doable. HD and 4K streams are feasible. Streaming it out to a plethora of clients in the required different streaming formats and DRM using just in time packaging is possible. Audio track selection and subtitles are supported by the players. Live streams can have low latency.
Until you have to do all of these at once. That's still an impossible combination of technologies, where multiple features exclude each other and you hit several roadblocks. Every time something hard becomes doable, we can have a two second breath of air, and then our life gets difficult again. "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!" This is both the frustrating and the exciting thing about working in streaming media; every time we standardize and simplify one thing, the complexity explodes again somewhere else, and 2021 will be no different.
(My view on this? => amen. 🙏 )