Live video streaming is permeating multiple industries and bringing about business transformation. It is evolving business models in areas such as in-event sports betting, online auctions, casinos, gaming, and sports streaming apps that enable groups of fans to watch video 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, is among the primary drivers for increased live video consumption. In this paper we’ll explore recent trends and explain the role latency plays in various use cases for live streaming.
Live online dealer games are growing in popularity globally. According to Grand View Research, the global online gambling market will grow from $59B in 2020 with a GAGR of 11.5%, to $91B in the period from 2020 to 20241. Online casinos are particularly well suited to the current environment where there is increased consumer interest in online activities. They simulate a physical casino, provide players a social experience chatting with dealers and other players which also adds a sense of legitimacy – gamers aren’t simply playing against a machine.
Significant latencies are inherent in the majority of online streaming video formats, causing live streams to lag live events by 30 seconds or more. One of the primary complaints with watching live events online is the delay of the stream. Beyond viewer annoyance, streaming latency is an inhibitor to making online video a more engaging experience. Video latency is defined as the amount of time it takes for video to travel from the live source acquisition to a viewer’s screen. There are several streaming technologies that can provide a range of reduced latencies to deliver new and better viewer experiences. It’s important to understand the various online video applications, and each of their latency requirements, in order to choose the most appropriate streaming technology for your application.
There are many live online streaming applications, each with its own latency requirements. For reference, the diagram below shows the typical latency of traditional chunked HTTP streaming formats and traditional TV broadcast via cable, along with the low latency delivered by other streaming technologies. Not every low latency application requires the sub-second streaming provided by newer technologies such as Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC). The addition of audience interactivity requires pushing an application into the sub-second latency domain.
As live events continue to move to online, latency and live interaction remain clear challenges to the viewing format. There have been advances in a popular and standardized approach to reducing latency – WebRTC.
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. With the appropriate design and implementation, WebRTC solutions can deliver reliable, broadcast-quality, real time video streaming at scale. These dimensions have been a focus for Limelight’s next generation Realtime Streaming solution that is integrated with one of the world’s largest Content Delivery Networks (CDNs). While enabling sub-second latency, Realtime Streaming also incorporates data sharing that can be used to create interactive services. Shared data capability is important in applications for live video streaming such as live online casinos. WebRTC is emerging as the leading option for scaling the delivery of live content that is incorporated into the social, audience experience.
The applications for Realtime Streaming are expanding rapidly as the combination of sub-second latency and interactivity enable innovations in how live streams can be experienced by viewers. The following example shows how live dealer online casinos can enhance the online player experience with Realtime Streaming.
Online casinos are growing in popularity, catering to people preferring to play online from anywhere and expanding the potential player market globally. Online casinos typically set up table games with live dealers and video cameras. Casino developed applications or third-party platforms provide an interface to deposit funds, signal table action, withdraw winnings and more.
The key challenges are how to enable remote players who can be located anywhere in the world to participate in the same online game, providing a instantaneous way to include shared data between the online casino and players, accepting bets, and paying off winning bets. To ensure fairness and to maintain pace of play, all players must see the turn of a card or roll of dice at the same time.
To solve these challenges, Realtime Streaming can be used to stream live game action video to online players. For online players, it’s not only real time latency that’s important, but consistent latency among them no matter where they are located.
Reducing the latency of your live streams is an important way to open up more ways for viewers to interact with your live content. Beyond reducing delay, lowering latency makes it possible to offer new online experiences such as in-event sports betting, online gambling, online auctions, and many other new business opportunities. To do this effectively, at scale, you need a CDN that offers a range of low latency stream delivery options.
Limelight’s CDN is architected to deliver online video with the scale, quality of experience, and low latency required to excel in today’s Live online video environment.