In the current digital age, live streaming has become an essential tool for a wide variety of applications, from live event broadcasts to training sessions, webinars, product or service presentations, and even institutional communications, among others. One of the critical features for the success of any live streaming platform is the ability to offer real-time streams while minimizing latency as much as possible. That’s why in this article, we’ll discuss the importance of real-time streaming at Watchity and how reducing latency can make a difference in the user experience.
What is Real-Time Streaming?
Real-time streaming refers to the ability to transmit live content to viewers with minimal or no delay. In other words, it ensures that what is happening in the live stream is what viewers are seeing on their devices at the same time. This feature is crucial for various use cases, from live sports events where fans want to experience the excitement in real time to video conferences and virtual training, where instant communication is essential.
The importance of real-time experience
The ability to interact in real time with viewers is key for many live streams. Real-time comments, polls, and Q&A sessions are effective ways to engage the audience and create an immersive experience, promoting what is known as video engagement.
In live sessions, events, and shows, every second counts. Viewers want to feel the excitement of the moment or have the session run without delays or interruptions. Therefore, any delay can negatively impact the user experience.
The technical solution
Due to the specific demands of some customers who needed to launch real-time interactive games like Kahoot during their sessions or events, Watchity set out to find a solution that would minimize latency while maintaining the quality of experience and scalability for the audience.
Given the high standards of quality demanded by customers in the high-quality streaming environment, Watchity’s R&D team ruled out integrating WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) technology, used by most video conferencing platforms, as it affects the audience’s quality of experience due to its architecture and limitations.
As a result, an alternative based on a protocol that would allow maintaining the quality standard achieved with HLS technologies was sought. The solution was found in THEOlive, an end-to-end cloud solution that includes encoding, HESP packaging (a new standard ultra-low-latency protocol), and distribution through a CDN for broad scalability.
Furthermore, being an API-first solution, it could be easily integrated with Watchity. THEOlive has its own player that, with ultra-low latency, reduces latency from 12-15 seconds to 1.5 seconds, also ensuring the quality of the broadcast and the user experience.
Benefits of integrating THEOlive
Integrating THEOlive with Watchity for this purpose has brought the following benefits:
- Minimal latency: HESP-based transmission allows for latency of 1-2 seconds without sacrificing the quality of experience, easily adapting resolution/bitrate to changing network conditions.
- Scalability: THEOlive scales through a standard CDN with global points of presence, allowing Watchity’s customers to reach any audience worldwide.
- Easy integration: The integration process with the platform has been quick and straightforward thanks to the API-first approach.
- Cost reduction: The end-to-end solution of THEOlive has eliminated several technical issues and, consequently, complaints from some customers. This has led to reduced hours of work for the development and operations teams.
- Growth/expansion: Being able to offer the low latency that many customers require increases their satisfaction and promotes Watchity’s growth.
Once the integration of this new service into the Watchity platform is complete, activating real-time streaming for an event can be done as needed since it’s an optional configuration. In other words, if this feature is not activated, the event will continue to run with the usual latency of the HLS protocol.
If you want to learn more details about Watchity and real-time streaming, feel free to contact us. Alternatively, you can schedule a demo or try the platform for free for 15 days by requesting a free trial.