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Going Big Screen: Exhaustive List of Samsung Tizen's AVPlay Limitations

Published on: April 28, 2021
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Written by:
Pieter-Jan Speelmans
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In the previous blog posts, we’ve covered how to bring your applications to Samsung Tizen and discussed how to leverage Samsung Tizen's native playback component, AVPlay, as well as its use case limitations. In this blog, we’ll delve deeper into the technical limitations present across different Samsung Tizen versions and models.

THIS IS A SNIPPET FROM OUR “GOING BIG SCREEN: BRINGING VIDEO TO SAMSUNG TIZEN” GUIDE WHICH YOU CAN DOWNLOAD HERE.

 

AVPlay: A Plethora of Technical Limitations 

On top of the use case limitations laid out in our previous article, the support for streaming protocols differs significantly between different versions of AVPlay. The root cause of this seems to be the lack of software updates for Samsung TVs: Samsung tends to have a policy of locking models released in specific years to the Tizen version released that year. Samsung TVs from 2015 will be locked to Tizen 2.3, the 2016 version to 2.4, 2017 to 3.0 and so forth. At the time of writing, the 2020 models are running Tizen 5.5.

As a result, if you are an OTT video publisher and you want to support different models of Samsung Smart TVs, some even only a couple of years old, AVPlay will cause some headaches for your product and engineering teams. For example, a stream tested on a 2017 model Tizen 3.0 device with alternative audio tracks will not work properly on the 2016 model with Tizen 2.4. These and similar limitations force you to either:

  1. Setup a specific stream for every Tizen version and incrementally add capabilities, or
  2. Go for a lowest common denominator approach with limited capabilities across all devices.

A decision that can have a huge impact on either operational cost or viewer experience.

To make things even worse, while there is a relatively clear overview available on HLS protocol version support, this is not the case for MPEG-DASH support and the different IOPs which were published. A list of the most important differences in AVPlay’s support between recent Tizen versions can be found below. Note that additional limitations on top of the ones listed below are in effect as well.

 

Model
(VERSION)

NOTABLE LIMITATIONS
(Limitations for newer versions also apply to older models)

  2015 Models
Tizen 2.3
DRM:
  - PlayReady 2.5 with SL2000 (software - CENC/CTR only)
  - Widevine Classic only (no Modular)
HLS:
  - No support for session keys
  - No byte range request support 
  - All limitations of more recent versions
MPEG-DASH
  - All limitations of more recent versions
  2016 Models
Tizen 2.4
DRM:
  - PlayReady 2.5 with SL2000 (software - CENC/CTR only)
  - Widevine Modular 2.08
HLS (Limited version 7 support):
  - No support for discontinuity sequence (improper handling of SSAI)
  - No support for alternative audio tracks
  - No support for in band subtitles (WebVTT)
  - No support for in band captions (CEA-608)
  - All limitations of more recent versions
MPEG-DASH:
  - Not following DASH interop on HEVC usage
  - No support for alternative audio tracks
  - No support for in-band subtitles
  - No support for trick modes
  - No support for in-band captions (CEA-608)
  - All limitations of more recent versions
  2017 Models
Tizen 3.0
DRM:
  - PlayReady 2.5 with SL2000 (software - CENC/CTR only)
  - Widevine Modular 2.08
HLS (Limited version 7 support):
  - All limitations of more recent versions
MPEG-DASH:
  - No support for key rotation
  - All limitations of more recent versions
  2018 Models
Tizen 4.0
DRM:
  - PlayReady 3.3 with SL3000 (hardware - CENC/CTR only)
  - Widevine Modular 3.2
HLS (Limited version 7 support):
  - All limitations of more recent versions
MPEG-DASH:
  - All limitations of more recent versions

  2019 Models
Tizen 5.0
DRM:
  - PlayReady 3.3 with SL3000 (hardware - CENC/CTR only)
  - Widevine Modular 14.1
HLS (limited version 7 support):
  - All limitations of more recent versions
MPEG-DASH:
  - All limitations of more recent versions
  2020 Models
Tizen 5.5
DRM:
  - PlayReady 4.2 with SL3000 (hardware - including CBCS support)
  - Widevine Modular 15.2
HLS (limited version 7 support):
  - No low latency support
  - No support for CMAF or HEVC
  - No metadata support (daterange, programdatetime, ...)
  - No support for initializations through MAP
  - No support for start offsets
  - No support for IMSC1 subtitles
  - No support for alternative video tracks
  - No support for parts, delta playlists, gapmarking, preload hints, ...
MPEG-DASH:
  - No low latency support
  - No SSAO: multi-period support is not stable
  - Mixed results for enabling/disabling DRM and rotating keys
  - No metadata support (eventstream, emsg, ...)
  - No support for alternative video tracks

As a result of these limitations, the AVPlay APIs provide a very simple approach for OTT video publishers to get up and running fast with basic OTT video apps, but once video requirements grow, this approach quickly shows its limitations. Furthermore, if it is your ambition to target Tizen versions as of 2015 or 2016, it is often needed to have specific streams set up in order to be compatible with Tizen. This will result in duplicating pipelines and multiplying stream generation and operational distribution costs.

What about the other approach listed down earlier in the first article of this series? Is 'Build-Your-Own' player approach really better? In the next blog, we will guide you on how to bring or build your own media player to deliver video on Samsung Tizen leveraging the MSE/EME APIs.

You can download the complete version of this topic in our “GOING BIG SCREEN: BRINGING VIDEO TO SAMSUNG TIZEN” guide here.

 

Questions about our Tizen support? Contact our THEO experts.

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