Reduced Latency Overview

Lower your live streaming latency to 10-15 seconds.

Updated over a week ago

Live streaming brings events, conversations, and performances to audiences no matter where they are. However, the time difference—or latency—between what happens live and what viewers see on their screens can sometimes detract from the experience. Understanding and minimizing latency is key to making live streams more engaging and interactive.

What Is Latency in Live Streaming?

Latency refers to the delay between the moment a video frame is captured and when it's displayed to your viewers. Traditional live streaming latency ranges from 30 to 60 seconds due to the complex process of capturing, processing, and distributing the video. This process involves several steps:

  • Capturing video with a camera

  • Processing the video with an encoder

  • Sending the video to an ingest server

  • Decoding and transcoding by the ingest server

  • Distributing the video via a content delivery network (CDN)

  • Receiving and decoding the video by the viewer's player

Reducing latency improves viewer engagement, especially in events that benefit from real-time interaction. Our latest update introduces an option to significantly reduce this delay, bringing it down to 10-15 seconds.

When to Use Reduced Latency

While the prospect of near-real-time streaming is exciting, it's not necessary for all types of live events. Reduced latency is ideal for:

  • Interactive webinars

  • Live Q&A sessions

  • Sporting events

  • Any event where immediate viewer feedback is crucial

Note: Lowering latency can sometimes affect playback quality due to the reduced buffering time, especially in unstable network conditions or on unsupported devices.

How to Set Up Reduced Latency

Changing your event's latency setting is straightforward:

  1. Navigate to the Stream Setup: When creating or editing a live event, go to the "RTMP" section.

  2. Select Your Preferred Latency: In the "Stream Mode" setting, you'll find three options: Standard (Recommended), Reduced, or Ultra-low. Choose "Reduced" for a balance between low latency and stable playback.

  3. Save Your Changes: Click "Save". Remember, saving generates a new Stream Key, so if you've already input a key into your broadcasting software, update it with the new one.

Technical Considerations

Live events with ultra-low latency are transcoded in the Common Media Application Format (CMAF), which may not be compatible with all devices, like Google Chromecast. If you encounter issues:

  • Consider downloading the video file and re-encoding it according to technical recommendations.

  • Alternatively, stream in Standard Latency mode for better compatibility with devices like Chromecast.

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