Optimizing Bitmovin Player for LG Low-End Devices

In our recent community blog Best practices for optimizing video start time Lucky Goyal (Bitmovin Player SME and Solution Architect) discusses some known limitations on Low-End Devices.
We also detail some more general Smart TV recommendations here

In addition to these, we thought it would be useful to put together some additional guidance that should also be considered when trying to improve start-up times (VST), freezing and buffering on low-end LG devices.

1. Update to the Latest Player Version
It might sound obvious, but make sure you are using the latest Bitmovin player version. We recommend 8.126.0 or above as this specific version introduced the DRMConfig.immediateLicenseRequest configuration, which can expedite the video start time by speeding up the license acquisition process (as soon as init data is available).

2. Shift to the Modular Player
If you are not already doing so, use our modular architecture, this enables you to choose only the modules you need. Reducing the player’s size and load time, thus making it more efficient. If you are unsure of what modules you need? Reach out to support who can assist.

3. Choose the Right DRM System:
LG has confirmed, and our testing says the same, that for LG WebOS versions 3.5 (2017) and onwards, it’s recommended to use PlayReady instead of Widevine! PlayReady tends to be more optimized for this specific range of LG devices, leading to better playback performance and less memory utilization. Please also see here for further information on this subject.

4. Manage Startup Bitrate Configuration:
Retain the startupBitrate configuration, or switch to maxStartupBitrate. When bandwidth isn’t adequate for the configured startup bitrate, the latter allows the player to choose a lower rendition. This ensures the video starts faster, even under less-than-ideal network conditions, providing a more seamless user experience.

5. Proactive management of the player buffer.
Reducing the front and back buffer; reduces the player’s overhead in having to manage that buffer; this is an essential consideration for lower-resourced devices. Whenever possible, also steer away from formats and features that will require additional processing. For example, MP4 is preferred over TS containers. Further information on this can be found here.

A Note on 4K Streams with high FPS
It’s important to understand the capabilities and limitations of the hardware you’re targeting. For low-end LG devices, streaming content in 4K resolution, protected by DRM, and at 50 or 60 frames per second (FPS) can be overly demanding. While high-quality streams offer a superior viewing experience, they also require considerable processing power and bandwidth. LG, being aware of their device specifications, would likely concur that such streams might be too much for their lower-end models.

By following the above optimization strategies for the Bitmovin player, developers and content providers can offer a more consistent and enjoyable viewing experience for LG low-end device users. However, it’s crucial to listen to and recognise the device’s limitations when determining stream quality and settings and work to those for these devices.

Final thought…While this document focuses a little bit on LG devices, many of these are also applicable to non-LG platforms, so do give them a try.

Additional reading: