3 Ways to Minimize Streaming Latency

By Media Entertainment Tech Outlook | Thursday, March 19, 2020

3 Ways to Minimize Streaming Latency

Conventional adaptive bitrate technologies are now being augmented with new approaches and dynamics that help lower streaming latency.

FREMONT, CA: Finding the middle ground between streaming quality and latency has always been a priority for streaming companies. As more and more people opt for live streams, the stakes in optimizing services are becoming higher than ever. Viewers expected near real-time broadcasts that are unaffected by latency. Over the last decade, streaming companies have banked on adaptive bitrate technologies to provide low-latency streams according to the network speeds available with viewers. Today, new approaches are surfacing, promising even lower latency. Some of these approaches are discussed below.

Reducing the Size of Streaming Segments

By reducing the duration of streaming content segments, the latency can be reduced to a certain extent. Customarily, the segment size is today at 6 seconds. By reducing it further and applying pre-buffer on them, the time taken for live stream playback to load goes down, and broadcasts start playing within a few seconds. The stream buffered before the video begins playing should, therefore, be broken down into smaller bits that allow quicker loading times. This approach is considered to be highly resilient and appropriate, even when viewership is large.

• Adopting Real-Time Protocols

Protocols that allow real-time communications on browsers are now becoming a reality. By implementing the technology into the relay nodes of Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), broadcasters can optimize streaming and reduce latency. A multi-CDN strategy can also work wonders in lowering streaming latency. As more CDN vendors start offering innovative real-time features, enhancing the stability of live streams and making them more reliable will become convenient for broadcasters.

• Decoding Faster with Chunked Transfer

Another way for lowering live stream latency is by the use of chunked transfer solutions. Conventionally, the decoding of a video stream starts only after a particular number of streaming segments have been received. However, the innovative method of chunked-transfer allows players to start decoding a stream as soon as a few frames are available, rather than waiting for an entire segment. By deploying encoders and CDNs that allow chunked-transfer, broadcasters can reduce latency in live streaming.

As the world of media and entertainment forays into the future, lowered latency will become a competitive advantage.

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