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What is Low Latency? Why is Latency Important for Streaming?

In this digital age streaming has emerged as among the top and most well-known methods of delivering content in the field of entertainment gaming, education, or even for communication. As technology for streaming advances the significance of low latency is not overstated. Why is low latency essential to streaming? Let’s get into it. Before we can understand why is Low Latency Important to Streaming, we must know what is video latency to ensure that we have the most accurate information about low latency.

What is the definition of Latency?

Video latency is as one of the intangible elements that play an important influence on our multimedia experience, particularly when it comes to real-time communications as well as streaming services. But it’s often not received the respect it deserves. What is exactly video latency and why should we be concerned about it?


At its heart the term “video latency” refers to the time between when a video frame is taken and the moment when that image is shown on a user’s screen. This delay may be due to different stages of the video processing chain ranging from recording and encoding the video to transmission, and and displaying.

Also, check: Xnxubd 2020-2021 Frame Rate

What is the significance of it?

1. Live Streaming: When broadcasters stream live events such as news or sports events it is vital to minimize latency for providing viewers with a true-time experience. A high latency could lead to problems for viewers as they may receive real-time updates from other sources prior to when they can see the actual moment in their televisions.

2. Video Conferencing: When using the case of personal or business video chats high latency could lead to awkward pauses and miscommunications interrupting the flow of conversations.

3. Gameplay Online: players delay can be the difference between winning or losing the game. A high rate of latency in video can result in poor player experience as there is an in-between time between the player’s activities and games reaction.

4. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR ): In these immersive experiences, a low video latency is crucial for ensuring that the virtual space reacts quickly to movements of the user to prevent motion sickness and ensuring the experience is more realistic.

Factors that cause video latency

1. Encoding and decoding Converting raw video to a digital file format (and back) could cause delays, especially for high-resolution video or complicated compression algorithms.

2. Transmission: transferring data over the internet may cause delays especially if data is required to go through multiple routers or the network is overloaded.

3. Playback Buffering: Streaming platforms typically buffer videos to make sure that playback is smooth. This buffering may cause a delay, particularly if you have a buffer that is large.

4. Physical Limitations of Hardware: performance of microphones, cameras, displays as well as other components of hardware could affect the video’s latency. Devices that are older or less efficient may introduce more latency as in comparison to modern equipment.

Reducing Video Latency

To get low latency, a mixture of software and hardware is employed:

  1. efficient decoding and encoding The use of hardware-accelerated codecs can aid in reducing the processing time needed to encode and decode video.
  2. CDNs (Content Delivery Networks): These are used to deliver content to users closer to the point of use by reducing the amount of hops needed and consequently the time to transmit.
  3. Adaptive Bitrate Streaming It adjusts the quality of video in real-time, based on network conditions, providing smooth playback and minimal buffering.
  4. Low-latency Protocols Protocols such as WebRTC are specifically designed for real-time communication, which reduces the inherent delay of internet transmission.

Real-time interactions: For online platforms such as gaming, videoconferencing or live broadcasting sports, real-time communication is vital. Any delay that is significant can damage the experience. For instance, during video conferences in the event of delays, the natural flow of the conversation can be affected. Similar to games, a delay could be the difference between winning or defeat.

Engagement of the Audience during Live events: Imagine watching a live sporting event in which viewers receive an update on the goal via social media prior to when they get that update appear on the screen. These delays can ruin the excitement, and cause lower engagement from the audience. The low latency guarantees that viewers have a live experience that keeps the excitement alive.

Enhancing Viewer Experience In the streaming on demand industry, even if the need for real-time interaction doesn’t exist it can improve the overall experience for viewers. A faster start time and reduced buffering means that viewers can watch content with no interruptions.

Financial Implications In situations such as auctions or online trading with a delay of just one second can result in major financial implications. It is crucial to transfer data in real-time for making timely decisions on these kinds of platforms.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR): These technologies are increasingly sought-after in a variety of applications, such as gaming training, medical, and gaming procedures. In this case, even a small delay in immersion can cause a loss of immersion, and can cause physical discomfort in certain instances.

Edge Computing and IoT: As the Internet of Things (IoT) grows devices need to be able to speed up data exchange. Particularly with edge computing, where data processing occurs nearer to the source, the low latency makes it possible to perform real-time operation.

There are many methods to tackle and reduce latency:

  • The HTML0 format is used by Content Delivery Networks (CDN): CDNs save duplicates of content from multiple servers distributed all over the world. When a user needs content, it’s downloaded from the closest server, thus reducing the amount of latency.
  • adaptive bitrate streaming This improves the quality of an online video in real time dependent on the network conditions, which reduces the amount of buffering and latency.
  • Ultra-Low Latency Streaming Protocols Installing streaming protocol such as WebRTC SRT, WebRTC, or low-latency HLS can drastically reduce the time required to deliver content.


Low latency isn’t just a technical term, it is at the core of providing seamless immersive, interactive, and immersive user experiences in the current digital world. As the world becomes more connected, and as we increasingly rely on real-time online interactions, making sure that we have that there is no delay in streaming will become more important. We hope we can solve all your questions regarding the latency of video, how low and why low latency is essential to stream video ?. If you have any other questions or information about low latency, don’t forget to leave a comment in the box below Thank you!

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