We Need Synced Live Streaming: It Enables A Better Experience And More User Engagement

logo-net-insight thumbnailIt’s amazing how many live sporting events are now broadcast online every day and I recently made a list I shared on Twitter. However the downside to many live events is the long delays that can vary from tens of seconds to minutes, which at times, can ruin the experience and hamper the social and interactive experiences that many live events now contain. I’m a Mets fan and stream games online and can’t be on social media at the same time as big plays are routinely shared on social platforms, before I see it take place via the live stream. You almost can’t communicate with the outside world during a game if you are following the game via you phone or smart TV app.

As an industry, we keep focusing on the word “quality” to describe the clarity of the stream, but we should also realize that many factors impact the quality of the overall “experience”. I want good quality video, but that’s not the only way to determine the QoE. And as live events become more important on the web, and especially for sports, syncing streams across devices is going to become a requirement, not a nice-to-have. Recently I got to test a new solution from Net Insight called Sye, which targets these problems. The solution allows live content to be streamed with frame-accurate synchronization across any type of screen be it mobile, desktop or to the TV. The delays were at the same level or even faster than for regular TV, which opens up a new type of seamless viewing using both regular TV and your favorite mobile device. But it’s not just live sports this can be applied it. Any other live show where you want to enhance the social interaction can benefit with such a solution.

The Net Insight solution also synchronizes OTT with broadcast TV and it made me think of the applications this could be applied to. Television audiences viewing the same content at the same time opens up an array of new and exciting possibilities for broadcasters, content owners and service providers. They can produce different types of content for primary screens compared to that created for companion apps or smart apps, depending on the application. For example, events like the Olympics or car racing could take advantage of such a solution as the synchronization would allow viewers to watch related content, such as a driver cam, on their second screen while at the same time watching the full action unfold on their primary screen in parallel, and all in perfect sync. This not only extends user experiences but also allows media operators to engage with audiences in unique ways and improve the user experience. It adds more value to the live event and provides new opportunities to monetize content more effectively. Tata Communications is now the first CDN to enable Net Insight’s solution across their network, allowing content owners to take advantage of it for live streaming.

Think of the new business and advertising models that could be created based on more than one screen being used, with the content being synced. It’s compelling, which is what “live” is supposed to be all about. As an industry, we keep talking about live events, but very little has been done to really take live streaming to the next level. Yes, bitrates keep going up, startup times are going down, but not much else has been done. We need to think about how we open up new opportunities for content owners and what the future looks like for live experiences on the web. So I am always looking at new solutions in the market, ways data can get overlaid, how second screen content can be added and I think what Net Insight’s solution offers to the market is very unique. I haven’t seen anyone else offering this or thinking about ways of changing the experience for users when it comes to live streaming on the web. Net Insight has customers using the solution today for live OTT applications and says they will be able to share some of those case studies soon.