Using ultra-low latency live video streaming to engage audiences in new ways
Co-Authored by Todd Erdley, CEO and Mary Elder, Corporate Communications Manager from Videon. The content and opinions in this post are those of the third-party author and AWS is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this post.
Live video streaming is undergoing a dramatic shift as more and more consumers turn to mobile phones, smart TVs, and other connected devices to view and interact with real-time content such as sports, esports, concerts, and news. To provide the best possible live viewing experience, content creators and video providers need to reduce video latency—the time that elapses between the action and when it reaches viewers on their screen of choice—so audiences can enjoy, share, and interact with live content while keeping pace with the action.
Imagine watching a sporting event on your tablet using a live streaming service. That video typically arrives 30-45 seconds after the actual event. By contrast, linear broadcast TV arrives roughly five seconds after the event. Take that into account as you sit in one room of your house with your smartphone watching a game’s live stream while the same game is being played in a different room via traditional broadcast. Suddenly you hear shouts of excitement that have nothing to do with what you are seeing. The excitement of the moment you are about to view has been diminished due to video latency.
Videon and Amazon Web Services (AWS) take a unique approach to solve this problem using Videon’s EdgeCaster encoder, AWS Elemental MediaStore, and Amazon CloudFront. The EdgeCaster 4K HEVC/H.264 video encoder supports ultra-low latency video streaming through the direct output of HLS/DASH CMAF-formatted signals while also enabling traditional RTMP workflows along with many other common streaming formats. The HLS/DASH/CMAF output from EdgeCaster is ingested by MediaStore, which serves as the origin for delivery by CloudFront to end user devices worldwide. As this is a standards-based workflow, a wide range of iOS, Android, and HTML players can perform video playback. In this configuration, customers experience end-to-end latency of just three seconds for live video with global distribution.
In September, this workflow came to life for the 2019 FIVB Volleyball World Cup in Japan. FIVB was seeking to optimize the viewer experience and applied ultra-low latency (ULL) technology from Videon and AWS to create a parallel OTT workflow to linear broadcast TV.
Using this workflow, the tournament was viewed by more than 30,000 peak concurrent viewers and over 500,000 unique viewers. A stable latency of three seconds held consistently throughout the event, ensuring an outstanding experience for both OTT and broadcast viewers.
The FIVB Volleyball World Cup showcased the use of the Videon / AWS workflow for live streaming video and the impact it can have. While a live sporting event is an excellent application for ULL workflows, it’s not the only one: corporate town halls with interaction between a worldwide workforce and the presenter is another, as are events where social video engagement can create a deeper connection with viewers. The use of standards-based, scalable technology allows for this wide range of live events to achieve distribution and engagement never before realized.
The days of live OTT streaming delayed by more than 30 seconds are coming to an end. With synchronized delivery of live events, an entirely new level of experience is possible without the penalty of being slower than traditional broadcast. Broadcast will continue to be a strong form of content distribution, with OTT enhancing the overall viewing experience through additive services that create untapped opportunities for user engagement.
This post just scratches the surface. To learn more about how ultra-low latency video workflows from AWS and Videon can enable a multitude of new business opportunities for content owners, watch this webinar.
Learn about the more technical features of the Videon EdgeCaster ultra-low-latency workflow with AWS in this webinar.
Lastly, please find additional resources about low latency workflows on the AWS Media Blog.