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Live Stream Latency Explained
This article outlines a few of the variables/conditions that affect online content delivery and broadcast speed.
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When using a web conference platform such as Zoom or Teams, you've probably noticed that they do a pretty good job of keeping all session participants in sync. This is because web conference platforms are engineered to set the weakest connection of all attendees as the common denominator, which in turn, keeps everyone in sync regardless of connection strength. With a Live stream, it’s quite a different story and one with many factors contributing to the delay or latency in delivery.
- A Web Conference is used to actively engage presenters with remote participants [Presenter Participant]
- A Live Stream caters to remote viewers passively watching/receiving content online [PresenterRemote Viewers]
While they work great in collaboration to produce an end result for the viewing audience, they are two different types of technologies that should be treated as two separate systems. Its also important to remember that when hosting a web conference in conjunction with a live stream, the live stream should not be used as a reference point to the actual event.
Variables that affect Live Stream Latency
- Upload Speed: The time it takes for the video stream to upload to the servers at the live stream location (classroom, lecture hall, etc.)
- Ingestion/Distribution: The time it takes for servers to process the video stream, which includes time to ingest the video stream and distribute the content.
- Connection Quality: Finally, the viewing experience rests in the palms of the remote users' connection and there are many factors that affect the broadcast latency such as...
- Connection speed
- Congested networks
- Browser version
Live stream viewers should expect a ~10-15 second delay compared to the live event taking place in the actual classroom, and for the reasons listed above, the latency time will vary from viewer to viewer.