Save your FREE seat for Streaming Media Connect this August. Register Now!

Synchronization vs. Latency - Which Matters More in Enterprise and Sports Streaming?

What are some of the most effective ways to strike a realistic balance between ultra-low latency and synchronization? Tim Siglin, Founding Executive Director, Help Me Stream Research Foundation, and Contributing Editor, Streaming Media, discusses this topic with Chris Packard, Manager, Live Programming & Streaming, LinkedIn, and Oliver Lietz, CEO, nanocosmos, from this session at Streaming Media Connect 2024.

“How important is synchronization versus latency?” Siglin asks. He tells Packard, “I know you mentioned the onboarding of somebody in the audience at an all-hands meeting, and I know that's sort of the holy grail of where you're going. Is there a balance, though, [where] we say we don't necessarily need ultra-low latencies as long as we have synchronization? Or do we have to have as low latency as possible, and everybody synchronized receiving the content at the same time?”

Packard says that LinkedIn is in an unusual position with these requirements because it is possibly the only company in the world of its size that has an all-hands meeting every two weeks because its CEO values communication. “So if somebody goes in the mic, say in Omaha, Nebraska or in London, he can just choose the feed coming right in.” He says that LinkedIn uses ultra-low latency for signal acquisition in-program, but the end user experiences a latency of around 30 seconds, but he wonders, “What if there's a world in which both the presenters that are in our offices as well as just on their computers at home can raise their hand anytime and come onto more of the virtual stage, maybe outside the production control room, but in-program feed? That's what's really exciting because it merges both of our worlds instead of just the stream being the output of the control room environment. So I think that's where we're getting to. I think we've been thought leaders in this space for some time."

Packard also mentions the potential of incorporating elements from Meta into their meetings, such as the photorealistic avatars that Facebook is developing. “Facebook had the ultra-photorealist avatars that just blew my mind,” he says. “If we could have some kind of virtual representation of our CEO that can be accessed and everyone else has their avatar, maybe that's where we're heading.” However, he says, what still matters most is equal access to in-person interactivity remains essential. “I think that the in-person interactivity is still going to be paramount, but we also have to be very cognizant of folks that are in different locations and not have some kind of location bias and make sure everybody's on equal footing to contribute and be heard.”

Lietz differentiates between broadcast experiences, which require synchronization but not interactivity, and interactive experiences, which require real-time engagement. “Coming back to the question about synchronization, for all cases, we see it's very important to keep the latency on the same level for everybody,” he says. “That means if you have a low latency, like a sub-second stream for everybody, you don't need to worry so much about sync because everybody is in the low latency space anyway. It's more like you need to turn the quality down as far as possible, keep the livestream running.” With more traditional live broadcast-type experiences, such as live sports, he says, “Everybody wants to enjoy a game or something in an event, maybe in a lean-back experience sitting on a couch on a 4K monitor. And no matter if they are on a TV screen, a computer screen, or on mobile, they want to have the same experience, but there's no interaction.” However, with more interactivity in live events, he says, “When it comes to betting or interacting with the presenters, like purchasing something, then you need to come to the real-time space to be in the interactive experience.”

See videos of the full program from Streaming Media Connect February 2024 here.

We'll be back in person for Streaming Media NYC May 20-22, 2024. More details here.

Streaming Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues
Related Articles

How Can Sports Streaming Surpass Broadcast and Cable?

The first measure of sports streaming success is replicating the cable/broadcast experience, but AWS' Julie Neenan Souza insists that sports streamers should be aiming higher when it comes to leveraging streaming's core strengths, from interactivity to betting to personalization to live ecommerce. Meanwhile ViewLift's Chance Mason contends that the key to next-level sports streaming delivery is streaming infrastructure companies like AWS embracing their emerging role as D2C media companies and partnering with sports leagues and sports rights holders at that level. Souza, Mason, and Altman Solon's Matt del Percio discuss these and other emerging opportunities for sports streaming in this clip from Streaming Media Connect 2024.

How Globo Handles Latency Costs for Live Sports Streaming at Scale

When it comes to implementing streaming tech for large-scale, high-stakes live sports, often decisions around managing latency are driven as much by cost concerns as network conditions, audience expectations, and the like. Globo Digital Products, Platform & Adtech Manager Jonas Ribeiro reveals the latency Globo delivers on typical sports streams at scale and what factors into those numbers in this discussion with Eyevinn Technology's Magnus Svensson at Streaming Media Connect 2024.

AWS, ViewLift, & Altman Solon on the State of Sports Media 2024

Live sports is the last appointment viewing left in the media world, but meanwhile, chaos reigns in the realms of licensing and rights and the ability of streaming consumers to access the games they want to see. AWS Head of Sports Julie Neenan Souza, ViewLift VP Chance Mason, and Altman Solon Director Matt DelPercio discuss the current state of sports media in this clip from Streaming Media Connect 2024.

How Premium Sports Streaming Licensing Will Shake Out in 2024 and Beyond

As the prices paid for top-tier sports streaming rights continue to reach astronomical levels, and the potential disruption created by the blockbuster ESPN/Fox/Warner Bros. joint venture (popularly termed "Spulu") teased in February, what sports licensing will look like as 2024 rolls on and who will be able to afford it is anybody's guess. Will it play out differently in the U.S. and Europe? And as costs are passed on to users, why wouldn't sports fans just stick with cable? Find out what top analysts like ESHAP's Evan Shapiro, Erickson's Paul Erickson, Dataxis' Ophelie Boucaud, and TVREV's Alan Wolk, say in this clip from Streaming Media Connect 2024.

How to Solve Interactive Streaming’s Latency Challenges

What are the biggest challenges to delivering successful large-scale interactive live streams, particularly achieving the requisite low latency, and what technology solutions apply? Nanocosmos CEO Oliver Leitz, Help Me Stream's Tim Siglin, and Motoworlds' Darcy Lorincz identify real-world interactive streaming problems and how to address them and deliver high-quality user experiences from traditional streaming to the metaverse in this clip from Streaming Media Connect 2024.

How to Monitor Cloud-Based Low-Latency Streams at Scale

What is the essential monitoring checklist for maintaining efficiency, resiliency, and performance for large-scale low-latency streaming using cloud-based workflows? Dolby.io Director of Product Strategy and 2G Digital Post Optimization's Allan McLennan discuss the key components and tools for an effective live stream monitoring strategy in this clip from Streaming Media Connect.

Beyond Latency: Key Streaming Challenges of Microbetting and iGaming

Microbetting and iGaming are among the fastest-growing apps for livestreaming, and the need for lightning-quick-response interactivity makes ultra-low latency essential in those scenarios, with all its attendant challenges--especially in the arena where 5G is a must. But what other issues do streaming professionals need to consider when it comes to iGaming and microbetting? Barrett-Jackson Auction Company's Darcy Lorincz, videoRx' Robert Reinhardt, and Jason Thibeault of the Streaming Video Technology Alliance discuss in this clip from their panel at Streaming Media Connect 2023.

Vindral CEO Daniel Alinder Talks Latency, Sync, 8K, and Vindral

Tim Siglin of Help Me Stream Research Foundation sits down with Daniel Alinder of Vindral to discuss latency, sync, 8K, and Vindral in this Streaming Media East 2023 interview.

Companies and Suppliers Mentioned