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Ultra-Low Latency Video Streaming: Benefits and Best Solutions
Nobody wants slow, stuttering, lagging video streaming – especially in this day and age. On the contrary: everyone wants a fast, smooth, and perfectly synced video streaming experience. The difference between having constant buffering issues and buttery smooth video streaming comes down to one word: latency.
Online video streaming, whether it be live streaming, OTT video streaming or online education, has become increasingly common. As a result, having ultra-low latency streaming is evermore vital. Research shows the global average time spent watching videos online daily is 84 minutes. This global average accounts for all types of video content across all ages. In some countries and age groups, such as millennials, up to a massive 10-20 hours of video is consumed each day.
With so much video consumption, ultra-low latency video streaming is becoming the new normal. If you live stream or produce video streams of any sort, you need ultra-low video latency to keep your viewers worldwide tuning in. Read on and discover the benefits of ultra-low latency, how to implement it, and the best solutions for achieving it.
Table of Contents
- What is Ultra Low Latency Video Streaming?
- Why is Low Latency Streaming Important?
- The Benefits of Achieving Ultra-Low Latency Streaming
- How to Achieve Ultra-Low Latency Streaming
- Top 3 Best Solutions for Achieving Ultra-Low Latency Video Streaming
- Final Thoughts
- FAQs on Ultra-Low Latency Streaming
What is Ultra Low Latency Video Streaming?
Before we get into what exactly ultra-low latency video streaming is, we first need to define latency. Latency in video streaming is the delay between when the content is sent and when it’s received. The lower the latency, the less delay there is between the video content sent and received by the viewers’ devices.
Having a subpar latency results in synchronization issues. This can be especially problematic for live streaming viewers, video conferencing events, or live broadcasts. Higher latency often results in a negative viewing experience and can cause people to tune out. For businesses and professionals, this can entail a direct loss of revenue.
While low latency is good, ultra-low latency is even better. A good low latency is generally considered 15 seconds or less. Ultra-low latency video streaming is sub-second latency video streaming. That’s less than a one-second delay. The result is seamless, perfectly synced video playback on the viewer’s end.
Why is Low Latency Streaming Important?
Low-latency streaming is imperative today. With the internet’s ubiquity and live streaming worldwide, people expect video streaming without delay.
Viewers with an unpleasurable viewing experience because of latency issues are more likely to stop engaging. For businesses, this can prove dire. Providing high-performance video streaming through a low-latency streaming service is important. It can mean the difference between retaining and gaining viewers instead of losing them. As a streamer, you should aim to reduce latency and provide a better viewer experience for your viewers and customers.
The Negative Impact of High Latency Video Streaming
Video streaming latency that’s too high has direct negative consequences on the viewers’ experience. This is especially true when real-time video streaming is needed for properly synced and enjoyable video playback.
High-latency video streaming can cause low video quality that stops and starts. This leads to unsatisfactory video-watching experiences for viewers that can even become unwatchable.
What causes high latency?
Several distinct factors cause high latency. These factors in and of themselves can cause major issues. But, one is often interwoven with another, causing even more delay.
Here are some of the most common issues that cause high latency:
- Poor internet connection: A poor internet connection is one of the most common issues for latency that leaves much to be desired. A slow or unstable connection with little bandwidth can cause the buffering and stuttering issues we’ve all experienced. Nowadays, video quality is higher than ever, and many devices simultaneously connect to the internet. Providing a fast and stable internet connection is more important than ever.
- Low-quality hardware: Having low-quality hardware is another common reason for high latency. A video camera, encoder, decoder, or other components that aren’t up to the job can lead to latency issues. Hardware that isn’t powerful enough is particularly problematic in real-time video streaming.
- Distance: The beauty of the internet is that it connects the world. However, the reality of physics means that the farther the distance between the video source and the audience, the higher the latency. Streaming video, especially live streaming video, across countries and continents can cause a delay.
- Weak encoding process: The encoding process compresses the video data so the video signals can be sent more efficiently over the internet. Having a weak encoder process results in slower performance. The final product is increased latency and lower video quality.
- Streaming protocol problems: A streaming protocol is a set of rules responsible for how video is streamed. This video streaming technology is designed to be flexible and efficient without compromising on video quality. However, if the protocol isn’t optimized for dynamic adaptive streaming, it can cause a delay in video streaming and latency.
The Benefits of Achieving Ultra-Low Latency Streaming
Ultra-low latency streaming is becoming the new norm as increasing numbers of viewers worldwide watch video online. An ultra-low latency streaming solution is the pinnacle of great video streaming for viewers. Fast, efficient, and reliable video streaming with sub-second delay possesses many benefits that keep people tuning in.
Some of the benefits of ultra-low latency video streaming include:
- Better synchronization of live events.
- Less buffering.
- Fewer pauses.
- Less rewinding.
- Better, higher resolution video quality.
Ultra-low latency video provides viewers with an exceptional experience. More and more people watch and stream video online, with ultra-low latency becoming the new normal. It’s paramount that professionals produce the demanded seamless viewing experience.
How to Achieve Ultra-Low Latency Streaming
The easiest step towards achieving ultra-low latency is to deploy a new network with the next generation of programmable hardware and software. However, ultra-low latency streaming can still be achieved on existing networks.
But it’s not just the network that’s important. The hardware and software used are crucial, too. Investing in the right video streaming solution is paramount to a great viewing experience for professionals and businesses.
1. Evaluate your current network
To ensure a low-latency streaming solution, the first part of this multi-step process is to evaluate your current network. Start by following these steps:
- Identify any existing network problems and their impacts.
- If any existing problems impact your network, confirm whether or not they’re causing high latency.
- Evaluate which network switches and interface cards can be replaced so a low-latency environment can be implemented.
- Identify which network functions can be offloaded to:
- Field-programmable gate array (FPGA)-programmable switches
- Smart network interface cards (SmartNICs)
2. Take action to reduce latency
The second part is the process is taking action to reduce your latency. Here are the fundamental steps:
- Improve the network connection: The first place to begin reducing the latency of streaming video is in the network itself. You can improve your latency by increasing the bandwidth or configuring a more stable connection. More bandwidth and a more stable connection can help ensure better video streaming services.
- Use high-quality hardware: You can also reduce latency by using high-quality hardware. Several examples of high-quality hardware that can reduce latency are a more powerful camera, an ultra-low latency video encoder, and a better decoder for reduced (de)compression of video data.
- Improve the encoding process: Improving the encoding process means the raw video is better processed into more efficient data for streaming video. This makes the transmission more efficient, knocking off the time it takes to transmit.
- Use adaptive streaming protocols: You can also reduce latency by using adaptive streaming protocols such as HLS low latency streaming solution, DASH, or WebRTC technology. A low-latency streaming protocol like this can help reduce video buffering.
- Reduce the distance: You can further improve latency by reducing the distance between the video source and viewers. This can be done through streaming video from a closer server to your viewers or using a CND for uninterrupted viewing.
Top 3 Best Solutions for Achieving Ultra-Low Latency Video Streaming
Achieving ultra-low latency for smooth and seamless video and real-time streaming is possible with the right solutions. These top three platform solutions come integrated with low-latency streaming and live streaming capabilities.
Dacast is a powerful, unified streaming solution that uses the best HLS delivery and RTMP ingest to achieve ultra-low latency streaming. Dacast’s video streaming platform includes live streaming, VOD hosting, and other professional broadcasting features.
Dacast offers low-latency streaming as standard. The ready, out-of-the-box features Dacast packs massively reduce latency. Dacast will help you achieve ultra-low latency video streaming for the highest quality.
Dacast is a fantastic all-around platform that provides all the features necessary to achieve ultra-low latency. Dacast’s complete solution is great for everything from live streaming to broadcasting events to online meetings. Further, with built-in monetization, state-of-the-art encoding, and scalable pricing, Dacast offers the total package to provide businesses with the tools they need to succeed and their viewers with the best video streaming possible.
- Multi-bitrate streaming for live video and VOD.
- Cloud video transcoding with true adaptive bitrate streaming (ABR).
- RTMP Encoder for ingesting HLS streaming.
- CDN delivery.
- Live encoding support.
- Zoom live streaming integration for online meetings.
- Strong video security features.
- Built-in video monetization.
- 24/7 tech support by phone, email, and live chat.
Streaming live video with ultra-low latency starts at just $39 per month with Dacast. Pricing plans come in four packages to suit every need:
- Starter plan: Comes with 1,000 TB of bandwidth and 50 GB of storage per month, billed monthly at $39.
- Scale plan: Add scalability starting at 24 TB of bandwidth per year, 1 TB of storage billed annually at $188. This plan includes phone support, monetization, and white-label features.
- Event plan: Offers 6 TB of bandwidth upfront, 50 GB of storage, and costs only $63 per month (or $750/year). Provides custom bandwidth and enables adding additional data and storage as needed.
- Custom plan: Fully scalable, custom-built plans. Great for enterprises who have high-volume streaming needs. Prices are bespoke for the needs of each enterprise.
Livery offers ultra-low latency video with an easy-to-use interface and interactive widgets. The platform’s focused on providing ultra-low latency and synching all devices so viewers experience the same frame rate every time. Their solution is geared toward professionals who need in-sync and responsive ultra-low latency video streaming.
This platform is great for professionals who need robust performance with an interactive yet seamless user experience. It comes pre-built with ultra-low latency advanced features, so live events and performances are streamed in-synced.
- Ultra-low latency built-in.
- Keeps all devices in sync.
- Interactive widgets.
- Scalable live streaming to reach millions.
- Easy to install.
- End-to-end solution.
Livery offers unique, customizable pricing options. Its tailored pricing allows for complete flexibility and scalability. Livery users only pay for what they use with no upfront costs.
The flexible contract supports users as their needs change. Monthly invoices are calculated by the minutes used. Further, Livery only charges users for the features they use. For example, users who use live video but don’t use the interactive features will pay for the live video but not for the interactive features.
Their pricing tool takes users through a series of basic usage questions, such as the number of sessions they’ll need, the level of video quality they want, and add-ons. Once calculated, users can buy there and then contact support to ask additional questions.
Wowza is a video platform built for speed and scalability. Wowza is a live-streaming and VOD platform with a robust set of features. It is designed for developers and includes expansive customizability, an integrated video platform, and streaming server software.
This platform is best for developers who want to customize their solutions deeply. It has the features one might expect, such as live streaming and on-demand video hosting, but it lacks business functionality like advanced monetization features.
- Allows developers to build their own solutions.
- Quick starting.
- Real-time video with WebRTC.
- Live event support.
- Mobile-compatible video playback.
Wowza keeps its pricing simple. Users can choose between four plans to suit their needs.
- One month of streaming: Includes 15 streaming hours and 500 viewing hours for a $149 one-time purchase.
- Pay as you go: Flexible streaming with low start-up costs billed at $25/month.
- Annual: Includes 300 streaming hours, 10,000 viewing hours, and 150 GB storage for growing businesses.
- Enterprise: Custom plans with discounted rates on hours and storage and fully scalable real-time streaming options.
With so much online video being consumed today, ultra-low latency is becoming a necessity. Businesses can’t afford lagging, lackluster video streaming performance. And live streams are increasingly watched online across many mobile devices, making ultra-low latency even more important.
Businesses or professionals need a platform that consistently delivers exceptional video playback through ultra-low latency. They need consistent performance across an increasingly large array of devices to fit viewers’ needs. And they need seamless, real-time live streaming of their broadcasts and live events. Dacast provides all of that and more.
FAQs on Ultra-Low Latency Streaming
What is Ultra-Low Latency in Video?
Ultra-low latency in video refers to the length of time or delay between the recording and playback of video. More specifically, ultra-low latency has a very low delay time. Ultra-low latency is considered sub-second latency, or under a second of delay.
Is Ultra-low Latency Good for Streaming?
Yes. Ultra-low latency is vital for video streamers. Video streams need ultra-low latency to produce the highest quality video.
What Makes for the Lowest Latency in Video Streaming?
The right internet connection, hardware, and platform software are required to achieve the lowest latency for video streaming. The best video streaming platforms will include technology such as HLS for the use of HTML5 video players and include ultra-low latency protocols.
Achieve Ultra-Low Latency Streaming With Dacast
Dacast is a fantastic streaming solution that offers a vast array of robust and advanced features. With Dacast’s feature-rich platform, including industry-leading HLS for fast and efficient streaming and full mobile device support, achieving ultra-low latency and pleasing viewers is easy.
Whether it’s broadcasting live events, running live streams, or video conferencing, Dacast benefits all types of ultra-low latency streaming needs. With Dacast, businesses and professionals can produce the highest quality video with the lowest latency for super smooth content. What’s more, Dacast’s built-in monetization functionality, 24/7 tech support, and tailored pricing models make Dacast the number one solution for all ultra-low latency streaming needs.
And there’s no need to sit on the fence. Dacast offers a fully-featured 14-day free trial. No credit card required. Try Dacast’s complete solution free today.