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New DASH Streaming Technology Promises Stutter-Free Videos, Even at Low Bandwidth

We all know the feeling. You're sitting on the bus, in a work meeting, or at your least favorite cousin's wedding and the movie you're trying to stream on your smartphone won't stop stuttering. Without video, you're now forced to interact with the world outside of the 4-inch screen clutched tightly in your hand.

Well fear not dear mobile user, researches at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications Heinrich-Hertz-Institut in Berlin say they have created a new wireless streaming standard that could eliminate video stuttering forever.

According to the researchers, the new standard, known as Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP, or DASH, is capable of recognizing when users are attempting to stream media over their wireless connection and adjust the video quality accordingly.

Modern cellular networks, use what are known as Radio Resource Managers to determine how much data a user is using and how much bandwidth the transmission requires. But with so many people using wireless networks, the Radio Resource Managers become overwhelmed resulting in a reduction in bandwidth to users, which cause streaming videos to stutter.

The bandwidth problems result from the Radio Resource Managers inability to tell the difference between when a user is streaming a movie and when they are downloading a large file. But with DASH, the Radio Resource Managers are able to tell the difference between simple files and movies, allowing for videos to be transmitted to users in various file sizes.

If a network is overloaded, DASH will insure that the Radio Resource Manager sends users smaller video files. If the networked isn't being taxed, DASH will tell the Radio Resource Manager to send large video files.

DASH does, however, have on major drawback. While smaller file sizes mean you'll be able to stream videos without stuttering, they also mean you'll see a decrease in overall video quality.

So those crisp high-definition images you're used to will instead be replaced with slightly grainier videos. Conversely, as your signal strength improves, so will your video quality. Researchers from HHI are expected to present the new DASH standard later this month at Mobile Work Congress. Stay tuned for our first impressions from the show floor.

Daniel P. Howley
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining He also served as a news editor with ALM Media’s Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.