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Video Streaming Testing: What it is, Why & How to Automate?

November 13, 2023Yamini Priya
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Video Streaming Testing What it is, Why & How to Automate
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Video streaming has become an integral part of our lives. From binge-watching your favorite shows to attending virtual meetings, the seamless delivery of video content is paramount. But have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes to ensure that the video streams seamlessly? That’s where video streaming testing steps into the limelight.

Suppose you’re still wondering how Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, or any of your favorite streaming services manage to deliver seamless, high-quality video content to your screen. In that case, a big reason behind it is the good amount of streaming testing done by the QA team behind the scenes. 

In this blog, we’ll discuss what video streaming testing is all about, why it’s crucial, and how automation can be your secret weapon in delivering top-notch streaming experiences.

What is a Video Streaming Service?

Before we get into video streaming testing, we will discuss what video streaming services are. Now, that’s the interesting part. 

Most of us pay dollars to watch our favorite shows and movies on the OTT platforms (Over-The-Top), also known as video streaming services. 

Some of the most popular streaming services are Prime Video, Netflix, Roku, Apple TV, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, etc. And the most popular audio streaming services include Spotify, Prime Music, iTunes, YouTube Music, etc.

Video Streaming Service

We all have our favorite platforms, and my favorite is Netflix 🙂 What’s yours?

This latest report by FlixPatrol shows the most popular streaming services across the world.

Video Streaming Service Statistics

What is Video Streaming Testing?

Video streaming testing helps evaluate the performance, reliability, and quality of video streaming services or applications. It helps make sure that videos can be delivered, decoded, and played back smoothly with high quality over different networks like 2G/3G/4G/5G/WiFi.

Video streaming testing ensures a high-quality, seamless viewing experience for end users. By systematically evaluating various aspects of video delivery, businesses can identify and address any issues that may hinder the user experience. This, in turn, helps to maintain viewer satisfaction and experience.

Why is Video Streaming Testing Important?

Video streaming testing is crucial to deliver a reliable, high-quality, and secure streaming experience to users. It helps companies meet user expectations, stay competitive, and comply with industry standards and regulations. 

Video Streaming Testing Example

Let’s take a scenario. Imagine millions of users watching live ICC Men’s championship on Disney+, and the live streaming crashes due to server load. Then, chances are they will lose their customers. That’s when video steaming testing comes to the rescue. 

To avoid the above scenario, developers and testers at Disney+ would have already have performed different types of performance testing to ensure that the application doesn’t crash for any reason.

The ultimate goal of any video streaming platform is to retain its customers no matter what. So, every business should test their application’s performance, stability, functionality, portability, and compatibility to ensure it works flawlessly across web, mobile, desktop, and smart TVs.

Types of Testing to Overcome Video Streaming Challenges

You need to perform various types of testing to overcome video streaming challenges, which will help ensure a seamless and high-quality viewing experience for users. Take a look at the types of testing below,

Automated Testing

Automate your video stream tests to ensure that your application is free of errors in a fast and efficient way. Automated testing is beneficial in many ways, including,

  • You can test across different browsers and devices.
  • Achieve high test coverage.
  • Maximize your test ROI
  • Accelerate your testing process and ship products faster.
  • Eliminates human error and reduces the time and effort required for testing.
  • You can focus on other critical tasks to help launch new features, updates, etc.

Functional testing

Functional tests ensure that every functionality and feature of the application is working as per the business requirements. A quick look into how this works,

  1. Decide what part of the application you want to test.
  2. Create test cases and test data.
  3. Decide the test outcomes (pass/fail).
  4. Run the tests. 
  5. Compare the actual results with what you expected.

Cross-Browser Testing

Cross-browser testing ensures that the video streaming platform works well on different web browsers, platforms, versions, devices, screen sizes, and resolutions. This helps make sure the services work smoothly for all users. 

Testsigma lets you test your web, mobile, or desktop apps on over 3000+ real devices/tablets and 1000+ browser/OS combos. You can test your application’s cross-browser compatibility, portability, and responsiveness all in one platform.



Load Testing

Load testing for OTT platforms aims to check how much traffic load it can handle without crashing. It tests the platform’s stability and response time as more users join, ensuring it can handle high traffic loads.

UI/UX Testing

UI/UX testing ensures that the user interface (UI) is consistent, easy to use, and visually flawless. It checks if users can navigate through the app smoothly without any problems. With automated GUI testing, QA teams can ensure the design is user-friendly and has no glitches, thus providing a positive user experience to end-users.

Network Testing

Network testing is important to check how well video streaming services perform in different network situations. This includes slow connections, high speed, network latency, and other conditions. It helps make sure the streaming platform works well in all network conditions.

Geolocation Testing

Geolocation Testing ensures that a Video Streaming platform works well for users from different countries. The QA team checks things like payment currencies, language accuracy, cultural suitability, etc.

Types of Geolocation Testing,

  1. Geofencing: It creates a virtual area for users. It may or may not match their actual location.
  2. Geotagging: It links media files (videos, audio, images, etc.) to specific geographical details.
  3. Geo-blocking limits certain content based on a user’s location.
  4. Geotargeting delivers customized services or content to users based on where they are.
  5. Geomessaging sends messages with location information, including text or media, to another device.

Integration Testing

Ensure that different functional modules work together as expected within an application.

Performance Testing

OTT platforms have to be tested for performance-related issues such as unresponsiveness or app crashes for various reasons.

Streaming Testing

Verify video streaming service performance by checking start time, bit rate, error rate, and buffer time.

Security Testing

Test the video streaming platform’s data security, as it handles user data for creating an account (For example, address, name, and bank details).

Test Cases For Video Streaming Applications

The following test scenarios cover various aspects of the video streaming platform’s compatibility, functionality, stability, UI, and error handling.

  • Verify that multimedia devices such as Desktops, Laptops, Smartphones, Smart TVs, etc are available.
  • Verify that the video streaming platform is able to be installed on the device.
  • Verify that the multimedia settings on the device can be appropriately configured for streaming.
  • Verify the video streaming quality for different types of networks.
  • Verify the compatibility of the online streaming player with the device in use.
  • Verify the presence of an uploaded video accessible via the internet.
  • Verify that the file format of the video aligns with the supported formats of the streaming software or online player.
  • Verify the functionality of play and pause during video streaming.
  • Verify video buffering times based on varying internet speeds for videos of the same quality.
  • Verify that video quality adjusts automatically based on internet connection speed.
  • Verify manual adjustment of video quality during streaming at different internet speeds.
  • Verify the presence of a progress bar with a timer during video playback.
  • Verify the functionality of forward and backward navigation within the video player.
  • Verify that video playback speed remains consistent after using forward or backward functionality.
  • Verify that audio synchronization remains unaffected after using forward or backward functionality.
  • Verify that video quality remains clear without distortion or pixelation during streaming.
  • Verify uninterrupted audio playback at different internet speeds.
  • Verify that the streaming video adapts to different screen sizes of the player.
  • Verify that video buffering ceases with an appropriate message if an internet connection is lost during streaming.
  • Verify whether the streaming player retains the video’s last position after a pause, closure, or direct termination.
  • Verify the display of total video duration, pause duration, and remaining video duration.
  • Verify the response of the video streaming player when attempting to stream a corrupted video file.
  • Verify buffering functionality in the event of a pause during streaming.
  • Verify behavior when progressing the video backward after a pause and play, determining if rebuffering occurs.
  • Verify whether the video resumes from the paused position or initiates buffering from the beginning after a pause and play sequence.

Executing these test cases will help ensure that the streaming platform functions correctly and provides a seamless user experience across various scenarios.

How to Prepare For Video Streaming Testing?

Script Realization

To prepare for video streaming testing, consider the following:

  1. Device and Resolution: You need to understand that different devices have varying video resolutions. For example, watching a video on a phone offers low resolution compared to a laptop. Ensure your scripts account for popular resolutions.
  2. Bandwidth Simulation: You can use tools like JMeter to simulate different bandwidth speeds.
  3. Testing from Multiple Locations: You can use tools to simulate distributed mode with multiple AWS instances for testing from several states/regions.
  4. User Behavior Consideration: Understand that users may not always start watching a video from the beginning. For Video On Demand (VOD), users might pause or switch to another video. It impacts how the server handles the load during testing.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to Monitor

  • Percentage of HTTP Request Errors: Keep an eye on the rate of HTTP request failures.
  • Average Loading Time for Playlist (HLS, DASH): Monitor how quickly playlists load for different streaming protocols.
  • Average Loading Time of Chunks (HLS, DASH): Track the time it takes for video chunks to load.
  • Bitrate (Throughput): Measure the data transfer rate.
  • Average Loading Time for Starting Stream: Keep tabs on how long it takes for a video to start playing.
  • Lag Time: Monitor any delays in streaming.

This approach simplifies the process of preparing and analyzing video streaming tests, focusing on device differences, user behavior, and essential KPIs for evaluating performance.

Critical Challenges of Video Streaming Platforms

Video streaming platforms face several critical challenges, which can significantly impact their performance and user satisfaction. Here are some of the key challenges,

  • Network Issues: Slow data transfer or congestion in the network can cause delays in receiving data from the streaming server.
  • Client Bandwidth: To stream a video, a minimum of 4 Mbps of bandwidth is required.
  • Local Network Problems: Users with slower internet connections, like 3G, WiFi, or wired connections, may experience difficulties. This is particularly common in rural or developing areas.
  • Device Speed: Good video streaming requires a fast-processing device. That is because slower devices can impact the video quality.
  • Content Quality: Delivering high-quality video content requires significant bandwidth. Ensuring a smooth streaming experience, especially for high-definition and 4K content, can be challenging, especially in regions with limited internet infrastructure.

Can Video Streaming be automated?

Yes, you can automate video streaming testing using specific test automation tools and frameworks to simulate user interactions and verify the application’s performance, quality, and functionality. Here are some aspects of video streaming testing that you can automate,

  • Functional Testing

You can automate functional tests to simulate user interactions like play, pause, stop, and adjust volume to ensure that the video player functions correctly.

  • Portability Testing

You can automate portability testing to verify whether the video streaming application works seamlessly across browsers, devices, operating systems, and versions.

  • Load Testing

Automated testing tools can simulate heavy traffic or user load to assess how well the platform handles concurrent users or load. This helps in identifying performance bottlenecks.

  • Security Testing

You can check for vulnerabilities related to content protection, authentication mechanisms, and secure communication protocols.

  • Regression Testing

You can automate regression testing to quickly verify that new features or code changes do not break the existing functionalities or create new bugs.

You can use test automation tools like Testsigma, Selenium, and JMeter to automate various aspects of video streaming testing.

Video Streaming Testing Explained with Example

Let’s take one of the most popular video streaming platforms, YouTube, as an example to test and identify what areas you can automate for quick and efficient testing. 

Video Streaming Testing Example

Automate Video Streaming Testing with Testsigma

Testsigma makes your automated web testing 5x faster and more efficient. Testsigma supports scriptless and script-based testing in one place. It is a perfect way to automate tests as it is accessible to technical and non-technical users. 

Now, let’s see how to automate tests,

Step 1 – Start by creating a new project or use existing projects. Create New – Project.

Video Streaming Testing with Testsigma

Step 2 – I have created a new web application testing project named video streaming testing with the name of the application YouTube Testing New.

Automated web testing

Step 3 – Now, create test cases using NLPs or use the record and play feature (record element) to record user interactions that can be captured as test cases.

Automated video streaming testing

Step 4 – Once you’re done creating test cases, you can start running the tests using Run.

Automated video streaming testing with Testsigma

Step 5 – Once the test is complete, the results will be displayed as shown in the image below.

Automated testing

You can check the results in detail (screenshots, videos, logs). 

Best automated video streaming testing tool

Also, Testsigma supports visual testing. So you can easily check the visual differences if enabled. To do so, just enable visual testing for this step option for each test case, or you can bulk-select the test cases and update their settings.

Automated visual testing

You can use Testsigma to automate your entire functional testing in one place, and you can also automate your web, mobile, desktop, and API tests in the same platform. Contact our sales team to get a free trial and start automating tests in less than 2 minutes.

You can use tools like JMeter to test and automate the load, performance, stress testing, and more.

Conclusion

To summarize, video streaming testing is the process of evaluating the performance, reliability, and quality of video streaming services. It ensures that your favorite series loads without a glitch, your virtual meetings run smoothly, and that live broadcasts don’t leave you hanging. Think of it as the quality control checkpoint that ensures your video content arrives pixel-perfect and buffer-free.

So, the next time you hit ‘play’ on any streaming platform, take a moment to appreciate the teams that are working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure flawless streaming.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I test live streaming?

Testing live streaming involves verifying that the streaming service functions correctly and delivers a seamless experience to users. You can use test automation platforms like Testsigma, Selenium, JMeter, etc, to test the functionality and performance of the video streaming platform.

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