Live Video Streaming Protocols and the Race to Zero Latency
Delays of even just a second will ruin interactive live streams whether causing unnatural delays in conversation or opening up the chance for spoiler-laden text messages while watching the big game. True real-time latency is the biggest barrier to actual real-time video. What protocols can deliver it?
- WebSockets and Media Source Extensions (MSE) – creative and simple approach that provides low, yet not low enough latency
- Apple’s Low Latency HLS (ALHSL) – lowers the latency of baseline HLS and offers advantages for long-running streams, but still too high for real-time streaming.
- CMAF – creates high bandwidth video with 3 seconds of latency
- Community Low Latency HLS (LHLS) – A potential web standard that can use existing CDN networks but with high overhead costs and high latency
- WebRTC – The only solution for real-time streaming with sub 500ms of end to end latency
As more and more users demand high-speed video, tolerance for streams with high latency will decrease rapidly. Outdated CDNs that treat data as a commodity are running an unsustainable business model as they undercut their own pricing to deliver ever-cheaper data costs. Switching to faster WebRTC based systems is the only way to move the industry forward.
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