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Deploying Low Latency Streaming to Differentiate Streaming Services

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By: Charles Kraus, Senior Product Marketing Manager

March 23, 2021

Are You Ready for the New Normal of Streaming?

The past year has seen a dramatic increase in consumption of online video, both in personal and professional settings. People are streaming video news, esports is rapidly growing, and online video has even replaced trips to the gym for exercise and workout routines. It’s unknown how much of daily life will return to a pre-COVID normal. What does this mean for online video distribution and how will you prepare?

Then vs. Now: What the Data Says about Online Video Consumption

Limelight Networks recently performed a global survey of 5,000 online video consumers to understand how viewing habits changed in 2020. What we found was startling. We knew that online video was a primary method for people to get information and connect with each other during the pandemic, but what we didn’t know was:

  • People consume online video (either passively or via video calls) four times as much as they did before the pandemic, for an average of over four hours per day.
  • Online video will remain a primary tool for communication and entertainment, even after the pandemic has passed.
  • Far from succumbing to “Zoom Fatigue” 88% of people say that video helps ease collaboration and efficiency in the workplace.
  • Beyond entertainment and video calls, most people are also using online video for activities such as exercise or professional development.
  • The industry is reacting by launching a wave of new streaming services —accompanied by a subsequent wave of acquisition. Major traditional video companies such as NBC, Comcast, Fox, and Viacom are all making bets on the future of streaming by buying up streaming platforms or launching ventures of their own.

    Prepare to Meet Future Streaming Challenges

    Live streaming is evolving business models in areas like in-event sports betting, online auctions, casinos, gaming, and sports streaming apps that enable groups of fans to watch live sports together and interact via text or chat. The addition of social interactivity capabilities made possible by ultra-low latency streaming in conjunction with methods to share data and video have the potential to accelerate online application adoption.

    Challenge – Latency in Live Video Streaming

    Significant latencies are inherent in the majority of online streaming video formats, causing live streams to lag live events by 30 seconds or more. Beyond viewer annoyance, streaming latency is an inhibitor to making online video a more engaging experience.

    Make the Delay Go Away

    As live events continue to move to OTT platforms, bringing new interactive experiences to viewers is the next wave in viewer engagement. However, latency and live interaction remain clear challenges.

    There have been advances in the two most standardized approaches to reducing latency: WebRTC and Low Latency HLS and DASH. WebRTC is an open-source project to provide real time communication and is supported by Google, Apple, Microsoft and others. WebRTC technology can be used to deliver streams with less than a second of latency worldwide and is well suited to interactive applications. WebRTC is emerging as the leading option for scaling the delivery of live content that is incorporated into the social, audience experience.

    DASH and HLS media formats deliver most live events today and are compatible with the majority of modern consumer devices between them. Without low-latency options for delivery, these formats are generally incurring at least 10 seconds of latency and in some cases up to a minute of latency. Both have options for low-latency delivery, which are at different stages of development and use. Both of these formats promise to be able to deliver streams to supporting devices with latencies as low as 3 seconds, easily matching broadcast delivery latency, making these formats ideal for streaming popular live sports and other major live events to large audiences.

    To learn more about low latency streaming and how it can help you differentiate your streaming service, download the Solution Brief: HOW LOW LATENCY STREAMING AND LIVE VIEWER INTERACTIVITY ARE CHANGING THE VIDEO LANDSCAPE

    At Limelight Networks, we help the world’s brands deliver the best possible online video experiences to viewers around the world. We have the right mix of innovative streaming video solutions, a high performance private network and team of consultative technology experts help prepare your company for a new era in video streaming. For more information, request a free trial today!