Low latency video streaming solutions are required to power new use cases and keep existing video applications competitive

TV viewing habits are shifting from linear TV to online TV, which is accelerating the video streaming market.  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. For superior user experience, especially in the live streaming segment, low latency streaming is becoming essential.  ABI Research forecasts that live video streaming is expected to grow at CAGR 10% to a 91 million subscriber base in 2024.

Typical latency of HTTP streaming is about 40 seconds, while broadcast latency is only around 5 seconds. High latency can negatively impact the viewing experience, especially when it comes to sports streaming.  “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 programs. However, high delay compared to traditional broadcast sources can prevent many consumers from accessing live streaming,” says Khin Sandi Lynn, Industry Analyst at ABI Research.

The demand for low latency is not limited to sports. Any type of video streaming user is more likely to stop watching a video that buffers often. Many studies have shown that there is a high possibility of users terminating the video streaming service due to long buffering. The video streaming market is getting more and more crowded with multiple service providers; subscription Video on Demand (VoD) services, live and VoD streaming services provided by pay-TV operators, and direct-to-consumer streaming services such as HBO, are all competing for market share. Recently launched Apple TV+ and Disney+ are going to additionally fuel the market.  As service providers continue to make investments to improve their service quality, supporting low latency streaming is quickly becoming an essential differential against competitors.

In addition to video streaming, cloud gaming, eSports streaming, online betting, and online auctions, there are other applications that need low latency streaming to properly operate. “These types of applications require a high level of interactivity, and any delay will have a negative result or even completely prevent the experience from occurring, due to latency exceeding minimum possible requirements. The accelerating growth of the cloud gaming and eSports markets is also driving the demand for low latency streaming technologies and services with similar requirements to guarantee a baseline user experience,” notes Eric Abbruzzese, Research Director of ABI Research.

A wide range of low latency solutions from encoding to CDN optimization and video playback optimizations are provided by video delivery solution providers. Solution providers support different streaming protocols such as SRT, Low Latency CMAF, or Apple Low Latency, all with benefits and drawbacks when viewed holistically.  It 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 concludes.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Low and Ultra-Low Latency Video technology analysis report. This report is part of the company’s  Video & Cloud Services research service, which includes research, data, and analyst insights. Based on extensive primary interviews, Technology Analysis reports present in-depth analysis on key market trends and factors for a specific technology.

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