Live streaming has become one of the most popular ways to watch events, shows, and live performances in real-time. With the growing popularity of social media platforms & bespoke platforms, live streaming has become more accessible than ever, but with its rising popularity, it comes with a range of technical challenges that need to be considered for a seamless viewing experience. This blog explores the challenges that live streamers face and how to overcome them.
Challenges live streamers could potentially face
Inconsistent Streaming Quality
One of the most significant challenges of live streaming is inconsistent streaming quality. This can occur due to a range of factors such as internet speed, network congestion, and bandwidth limitations. Inconsistent streaming quality can result in buffering, pixelated video, and audio delays, which can be frustrating for viewers. To overcome this challenge, it is essential to optimise the video quality to match the available internet speed. Live streamers can use adaptive bitrate streaming (ABR) to adjust the video quality based on the viewer’s internet speed. This ensures that viewers can watch the stream without buffering or audio delays.
The Metadata Dilemma
Another challenge of live streaming is the metadata dilemma. Metadata refers to the information that describes the video content, such as the title, description, and tags. Without proper metadata, it can be challenging for viewers to find a live stream. To overcome this challenge, those putting on live streams should ensure that the metadata is accurate and optimised for search engines. This can be achieved by including relevant keywords in the title, description, and tags. Live streamers / streaming providers can also use social media platforms to promote the event and reach a wider audience. One incredibly effective way to do this is by creating an event #hashtag. Check out this work we did for Tesco which became a trending topic on Twitter: https://www.groovygecko.com/case-studies/tesco/
Realities of Latency
Latency refers to the delay between the live event and the time it takes for viewers to receive the stream. Latency can be a significant challenge for live streamers / streaming providers , especially for events that require real-time interactions, such as live gaming. To overcome this challenge, live streamers / streaming providers can use low-latency streaming protocols such as WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication). WebRTC allows for real-time interactions by reducing latency to as low as 250 milliseconds. For the premiere of Spiderman: No Way Home, we were able to connect Tom Holland who was in LA with an audience in Italy using WebRTC technology – you check out the case study here: https://www.groovygecko.com/case-studies/press-event-with-tom-holland-hologram/
Device compatibility is another significant challenge of live streaming. With the growing number of devices used to access content, live streamers / streaming providers need to ensure that their streams are compatible with different devices and operating systems. To overcome this challenge, live streamers / streaming providers should use a responsive player that can adapt to different screen sizes and operating systems. Additionally, live streamers / streaming providers should use video codecs that are compatible with a wide range of devices, such as H.264 and HEVC (High-Efficiency Video Coding).
Live Streaming Platform Architecture
Live streaming platforms have different architectures and this can be a significant challenge for live streamers / streaming providers . Some platforms require specific streaming protocols and codecs, which can limit the number of viewers. To overcome this challenge, live streamers / streaming providers should choose a platform with a flexible architecture that supports a variety of streaming. This can help ensure that the stream is accessible to as many viewers as possible, regardless of the device or software they are using. Groovy Gecko’s own live streaming platform, EckoEnterprise is a feature rich, scalable platform solution which you can read more about here: https://www.groovygecko.com/services/corporate-webcasting/
Poor internet connection & Solutions
Poor internet connectivity can also impact the success of a live stream. We’ve all experienced the spinning wheel of doom – this can include issues such as dropped frames, lagging video, and audio delays. To address this challenge, it’s important to test the streaming platform on a variety of devices prior to going live. Additionally, providing clear instructions on how to access the stream and troubleshooting steps for common internet connectivity issues can help ensure a smoother viewing experience for your audience. It’s also recommended to have a backup plan in place, such as pre-recorded content or holding graphics, in case the internet connection becomes too unstable to continue with the live stream. With proper preparation and a clear plan in place, you can minimise the impact of poor internet connectivity on your live stream and still deliver valuable content to your audience. While it may not always be possible to control internet connectivity, there are steps that can be taken to mitigate its impact.
One solution is to use a backup internet connection, Groovy Gecko is a LiveU partner and have a number of LiveU units we use on the majority of our events, either to provide connectivity where there is none or as a backup route for redundancy. LiveU’s work by pulling in any cellular and Wifi data to provide a connection onsite or a transport feed, back to our MCR in Old Street where we can carry out the onward encoding. This can help ensure that the stream stays online in the event of an internet outage or slowdown. Another solution is to stream at a lower bitrate, which can reduce the impact of poor internet connectivity on the overall stream quality.
Live streaming has become an essential part of video consumption, providing a real-time, interactive experience for viewers around the world. However, live streamers / streaming providers face a range of technical challenges that need to be overcome for a seamless viewing experience. By optimising video quality, ensuring accurate metadata, reducing latency, and choosing the right platform to deliver your event, live streamers / streaming providers can help ensure a successful and engaging live stream.
At Groovy Gecko, we have years of experience in the live streaming industry and can provide expert advice and support to help clients overcome these challenges. Contact us today to learn more about our live streaming services and how we can help you create a successful live stream.