William Hill employ a third party provider for streaming video of sporting events. They also have a Flash console which provides constantly updated odds for in-running bets.
I was charged with the task of embedding the live video into the existing Live Betting Console. This was designed to improve the user experience for those betting in-play – they should be able to watch TV while they bet.
Authenticating the video streams and making the channel-changer work was fairly straight forward. The interesting part of this project is the interplay between the two systems. Obviously the video feed required a lot more bandwidth and processing power than the data feed, but the data feed is a lot more important as that is where the revenue comes from. There must not be a situation where the video feed is slowing up or stalling the betting transactions.
The first safeguard against this is to give the user the option to easily turn off or pause the stream. I also employed some careful monitoring of the video buffering to ensure that video which might hog the connection is abandoned. The third tactic was to make use of the intelligent bandwidth profiling of the Flash Media Server to recommend the correct bit rate stream for each client.
This was a rapid turn-around project which aimed to get a working model in place until the new betting platform was launched and required an intensive process of testing.