Low latency the key to keeping existing and new video use cases competitive | Media Analysis | Business
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As the video streaming market accelerates and providers eye up gains from the rocketing SVOD arena, one of the key differentiators among streaming services will be quality and to gain superior user experience, especially in the live segment, low latency networks will be essential says a study from ABI Research.
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ABI’s Low and Ultra-Low Latency Video Technology Analysis report forecasts that live video streaming will grow at CAGR 10% to a 91 million subscriber base in 2024. It adds that while subscriptions are dominating the OTT market, the live streaming market is advancing as the demand for sports and other live programming continues to grow.

But a big assumption in this growth forecast is that users will be able to obtain high quality experiences. As ABI points out, typical latency of HTTP streaming is about 40 seconds, while broadcast latency is only around 5 seconds. High latency, the firm stresses, can negatively impact the viewing experience, especially when it comes to sports streaming. Put bluntly, said ABI, any type of video streaming user is more likely to stop watching a video that buffers often.

“Sports streaming has proven to be a huge success in the live streaming segment. Many cord-cutters are still willing to get live streaming for sports programmes,” said ABI Research industry analyst Khin Sandi Lynn. “However, high delay compared to traditional broadcast sources can prevent many consumers from accessing live streaming.” Indeed, ABI adds that as service providers continue to make investments to improve their service quality, supporting low latency streaming is quickly becoming an essential differential against competitors.

Acknowledging the range of low latency solutions from encoding to CDN optimisation and video playback optimisations provided by video delivery solution providers — supporting streaming protocols such as SRT, Low Latency CMAF or Apple Low Latency — all have benefits and drawbacks when viewed in the round.

ABI advises in the Low and Ultra-Low Latency Video Technology Analysis report that going forward is essential for service providers and content distributors to consider the use case, such as targeted video quality and audience reach, to select the solutions that best fit the business requirement. “When the evaluation between video qualities, deployment cost, and business cases are done properly for low latency streaming solution deployment, service providers can offer a high-quality streaming service and improve churn and revenue,” Lynn concluded.