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YouTube Lowers Live Video Latency to 'Just a Couple Seconds'

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Recognizing the importance of live video streaming to its business, YouTube has introduced "ultra-low latency," which it promises brings the delay down to "just a couple seconds." The feature is only on by default for mobile streamers, and is aimed at live streaming hosts (especially gamers) who take questions or comments from viewers.

For those who want to turn on ultra-low latency, YouTube provides simple step-by-step instructions. It also explains when to use normal, low, and ultra-low latency: Normal has the least buffering but is only for videos without audience interaction; low is a good balance with minimal buffering; and ultra-low is for videos with lots of audience engagement, although it has the highest chance of buffering.

Setting up ultra-low latency doesn't require any special software or encoders, YouTube notes.

At the same time, YouTube has improved chat moderation features, also helpful for live streamers. Hosts can now pause their chat feeds and remove problem messages with one click. They can also choose to review messages before they post. The moderation system will learn over time what types of messages the host wants to review.

Finally, YouTube has improved its iOS app so users can stream their screens from any apps that support Apple ReplayKit. Hosts can use their phone's front-facing camera and microphone to add a picture-in-picture view of themselves using the app and moderating their experience. 

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