OTT testing targets Over-The-Top (OTT) apps/streaming services that deliver media content exclusively via the Internet, bypassing traditional distribution channels. Some superstars? Netflix, Spotify, YouTube, Crunchyroll, Disney+, Showtime, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video. 

Due to the inherent complexity of their systems, streaming services are prone to experiencing software bugs that can disrupt the user experience. With millions of concurrent users globally, streaming fails can happen and often make headlines. 

As an OTT provider, how can you ensure your users get the seamless experience they deserve? Invest in OTT testing — it’s the only way to guarantee that your streaming media is delivered reliably.

Live stream issues

As the “streaming wars” get increasingly competitive, technical mishaps spoil the user experience and tarnish a hard-earned reputation and drive customers towards competing services.

What is OTT testing?

Streaming on OTT apps (the right way)

OTT testing is the process of testing video and audio streaming services delivered over the Internet. To reduce the risk of costly downtime or service disruptions, OTT testing is essential, as it ensures OTT apps operate as expected at all times on different devices and across different regions. The most important aspects of OTT quality assurance include functional, performance, and compatibility testing. 

  • Functional testing: tests the various components of the streaming app to ensure they work as intended. This includes testing the UI, video player, encoding, streaming, and delivery.
  • Performance testing: tests the streaming app under high traffic levels to ensure it can handle the load without crashing or slowing down.
  • Compatibility testing: tests the streaming app on various devices and operating systems to ensure compatibility with various devices.

Testing managers must plan the testing parameters, including video and device types, the number and location of testers, and practice before the live event. During the simulated test, testers must use a common language, test key device types, and collaborate effectively via a live war room. 

Quality issues, in-app marketing messages, user account credentials, localization, device responsiveness, and payment funnels should also be tested. By identifying and fixing technical issues before they become a problem, OTT app testing helps to ensure that the streaming service is always available to viewers.

The Future of QA in Media and Entertainment

The demand for live streams is growing exponentially as smartphone proliferation increases, internet connectivity improves, and live viewing of major events and sports games is normalized. 

OTT providers are experimenting with different pricing models, including ad-supported pricing, which has created a new wave of “tiered” user experiences. This coincides with an uptick in negotiating contractual rights for region-locked content and time-bound exclusives. In-app advertising will also necessitate more personalized experiences as advertisers demand a perfect match between served ads and user preferences.

Media organizations increasingly lean towards automation to address the need for deeper personalization. As a result, testing will become more complex and involve new challenges.

Kassidy Kelley serves as the Managing Editor for Testlio and works from her home base in Boston, MA.