The COVID-19 pandemic has notably boosted the popularity of live and on-demand video content, which led to an increase in the OTT market share. A couple of years ago, the worldwide OTT market size was estimated at $121.61 billion, and by 2027, it’s expected to reach $1,039.03 billion. What’s the revenue forecast in 2024? According to Statista, it’s expected to reach US$325.40bn. So, let’s identify a winning strategy for delivering an unparalleled viewing experience this year.

What is OTT testing in 2024?

More and more video content aggregators are launching and extending their OTT service offering, so how do you make sure you stand out from the crowd? To attract as many eyeballs as possible and retain them, your OTT solution should not only provide cutting-edge functionality, but also exceed viewer expectations in terms of quality. So, what role does OTT testing play for video content distributors in 2024?

Why OTT testing matters like never before

In the evolving realm of OTT services, where an expanding user base seeks high-quality streaming experiences, the imperative for robust OTT testing has never been more pronounced. As the subscriber count continues to grow, the focus on guaranteeing exceptional viewing expectations for users across different regions and devices becomes a pivotal concern for OTT platform providers and content distributors. Let’s reveal the “variety” factors that influence the delivery of viewing experiences.

Gadgets galore

The ubiquity of OTT content consumption spans an array of devices — from smartphones and Smart TVs to laptops, desktops, and dedicated streaming devices like Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV Stick. The challenge lies in ensuring optimal performance and UX across this diverse spectrum of gadgets.

Platforms and operating systems

Diving deeper, the variations extend to operating systems and browsers, with Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, WebOS, Tizen OS, and Google TV shaping the OTT landscape. Compatibility across browsers such as Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge further compounds the OTT platform testing complexity.

Compatibility across platforms

Navigating network nuances

The variable that perhaps presents the greatest challenge is the diverse landscape of network conditions and bandwidth availability. With user experiences hinging on seamless streaming, accounting for these network intricacies is paramount to eliminate buffering issues. Particularly crucial during high-demand scenarios, like live football matches, where server loads spike, the meticulous testing of app load capabilities becomes a non-negotiable aspect.

Complying with local OTT specifics

Beyond the technical challenges, local nuances further underscore the need for comprehensive testing. Adult content limitations, for instance, necessitate meticulous testing to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and prevent inadvertent breaches. Automated testing emerges as a streamlined solution, allowing providers to address such specifics before feature updates or releases.

Ensuring legal compliance

In the dynamic landscape of streaming services, adherence to local streaming laws is important. OTT service providers must rigorously test and validate their offerings to ensure they align with the legal frameworks of the countries they operate in.

Types and technologies for enabling OTT testing

Below are the two key types of tests that make up an OTT testing approach.

Unit tests

Unit tests are the initial line of the OTT testing approach. It focuses on individual components, examining isolated operations and ensuring each piece of the OTT platform’s features function correctly.

Integration and end-to-end tests

Integration tests come into play to evaluate the collaboration of several modules. For instance, in a viewer interaction scenario, a series of actions, such as clicking login and registration buttons or validating input fields, are simulated. Integration tests go beyond separate components and imitate user behavior, testing the seamless interaction of UI elements.

Both unit tests and integration tests contribute to a comprehensive OTT testing strategy, ensuring software reliability and user satisfaction. But there’s another ingredient that matters. Automated testing is pivotal in elevating product quality through many advantages:

  • The ability to run tests an unlimited number of times ensures comprehensive coverage and a thorough examination of various scenarios.
  • Continuous and scheduled automated OTT platform testing of the latest builds guarantees that any issues are identified promptly.
  • By investigating numerous test cases in different combinations across multiple platforms and versions, automated testing uncovers potential vulnerabilities that might be overlooked in pre-release testing.

Overall, these attributes collectively contribute to the early detection and resolution of bugs, mitigating risks and enhancing the overall quality of the OTT platform before it reaches the end viewer.

Meet an expert

Meet an expert

Eugene Yakovets, Automation QA Engineer

“As QA engineers, our mission is to strike the perfect balance between manual and automated testing. By striving to automate 80% of our OTT application testing, we not only expedite the delivery of releases but also enhance product quality. This dual impact directly translates into increased profits, as faster releases enable us to swiftly introduce more revenue-generating features. The recent success of automating the adult content flow not only ensured its continued operability but liberated us from exhaustive manual checks, allowing us to focus on delivering excellence in every aspect of our testing efforts.”

Optimal areas for testing an OTT solution

Viewing experience

You can’t be sure your OTT platform can deliver top-notch viewing experiences without function-testing it, which validates the solution against the tech requirements. This way, you’ll ensure glitch-free operation of every OTT component, including functionality like EPG, time shift, recommendations, and sharing.

Functional testing is also key to verifying complex business rules and OTT workflows such as content ingestion, encoding, transcoding, editing, management, playout, monetization, and more. And comprehensive testing of multi-screen apps — including STB and Smart TV testing — will help you make sure your solution perfectly operates on every platform and resolution.

Optimizing the big-screen TV focus stands out as a complex task within the variety of OTT platform functionalities, demanding precise scrutiny of the user experience. Employing a meticulous methodology, QA engineers guarantee its concentration on essential UI elements, while adhering faithfully to the designated UX flow. Shifting gears to mobile OTT applications, a high emphasis is placed on scrutinizing the prowess to seamlessly download content, requiring a nuanced approach to quality assurance.

Rigorous functional testing can not only help you check that everything works as expected and addresses glitches that might hamper user experiences, but also reveals unanticipated issues.

OTT app performance

It’s not new that a website’s load speed matters. According to Neil Patel, 40% of users abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. And with video content, the stakes are much higher. Every second counts, and your clients will opt for competitor service if your content doesn’t start streaming within 2 seconds.

Buffering is one more aspect that can make or break your solution. To deliver top-notch viewing experiences and grow the client base, buffering should be reduced to zero. For that to happen, conduct comprehensive video streaming performance testing. Load and stress testing will help you determine the stability of your platform under peak traffic and reveal the causes for bad performance, including network, firewall, or router issues. Neglecting implementation poses the peril of encountering server crashes, particularly at peak moments such as live football matches.

OTT Performance

Online video performance

Also, to reveal weak elements of your solution’s architecture, pay particular attention to testing multi-CDN setups and streaming protocols. Other key metrics to track are bandwidth, buffer fill, lag length, play length, and lag ratio.

When delving into the intricacies of testing for Smart TVs, a multifaceted approach is imperative:

  • Streamlining memory consumption to ensure consistent functioning on both recent and legacy devices.
  • Acknowledging the nuances inherent in diverse Smart TV operating systems, encompassing Tizen and WebOS.
  • Tailoring the testing methodology to accommodate the distinctive features of various generations of Smart TV operating systems.
OTT Testing: Unveiling Nuances Beyond Common Knowledge

How we can help you

Underpinned by multi-year OTT testing expertise, Oxagile solves the most complicated OTT quality assurance challenges. From Smart TV apps to web and mobile platforms, we’ve got you covered.

Quality of experience

Quality of experience (QoE) testing is another method to ensure smooth viewing for audiences of any size. This way, you assess your OTT solution’s quality from the end-user perspective — through parameters like service accessibility, retainability, and integrity.

Namely, this type of service quality verification through video streaming tests includes examining an array of performance metrics:

  • Network congestion, jitter, edge caching
  • Start time and startup speed
  • Average bitrate
  • Bandwidth usage
  • Rebuffer time and the likelihood of buffer
  • Resolution of the video stream

Another aspect that needs prioritization is playback. You can track OTT quality of experience with extended playback testing — by tracking the rate at which playback failures occur during video streaming and by analyzing hundreds of video playback condition combinations.

Besides checking performance aspects, pay heed to testing UX, UI, and layout management. This will help you ensure great QoE across devices and platforms.

In-app security

Personal customer data and premium video content — these are two major reasons why you need to prioritize security testing when building your OTT app.

Any component of your solution, whether it’s custom code, third-party libraries, or integrations, might be prone to an attack. Penetration testing will help you detect any kind of vulnerability — like broken authentication, cross-site scripting, SQL injection, memory leaks, etc. — and proactively address them. With advanced vulnerability scanning tools, you can automatically identify potential threats on your network devices, such as firewalls, routers, switches, and servers.

Among other testing types that are key to ensuring video and user data security are content targeting testing, media encryption testing, payment gateway testing, authentication and authorization testing, as well as data privacy compliance testing.

Rock-solid security

OTT security testing

Product localization

If you want to get a competitive edge on the OTT market and expand your business to new territories, adapt your platform to the requirements of specific regions with localization testing. This usually means not only going beyond language barriers, but also validating an array of other key aspects:

  • Date, time, currency formats
  • In-app terminology and error messages
  • Video subtitles
  • Dropdown and data entry fields
  • Bulleted and numbered lists

Besides, all-around l10n and i18n testing will help you make sure the functionality that is not applicable to a particular locale will be automatically hidden.

To thoroughly test the requirements for product localization, a simulated environment can be designed where the system time is adjusted to X hours to replicate different time zones. By logging in as a user from a specific region, we can verify that the current broadcast aligns correctly with the local schedule, ensuring the accurate display of programs and timely information in the application, such as subscription renewals or start times for events. Furthermore, for OTT services that only operate in a specific region, a VPN can be employed to emulate inaccessible regions for the application. This meticulous testing process ensures that users consistently encounter accurate localization settings, while the viability of these checks can be reaffirmed daily.

Case in point: Real project challenges addressed by Oxagile’s QA engineers

Managing the intricacies of the regional content streaming limitations and handling potential traffic overloads were just a couple of test cases delivered by Oxagile’s automation QA engineers. Find out about the QA automation approach applied.

Multiscreen Frontend Solution for a Million-Wide Audience

Revamping OTT platform quality with comprehensive QA

You won’t be able to deliver outstanding viewing experiences if your OTT solution’s quality is not verified with robust video streaming testing. Operation, QoE, performance, security, flexibility — satisfy the highest quality requirements around these key aspects and beyond with experienced QA engineers.