BBC solves “streaming lag”

Stephen Chapman's picture
by Stephen Chapman

BBC Research & Development has come up with a solution to “streaming lag”, which is where live television is delayed by several seconds, when watched online.

This became a major problem at this year’s World Cup, which had a major increase in people watching live games online. However, the lag meant that neighbours watching traditional television could be cheering seconds before the online stream had caught up.

BBC in-house teams believe they have solved the problem, but they won’t be releasing it to the public just yet. In fact, the technology may not be widely available until the next World Cup, in 4 years time - providing it’s supported by the rest of the broadcast sector.

It’s an issue that doesn’t just impact on the iPlayer, Amazon too has had issues with its live sports coverage, sometimes the US Open tennis was almost a minute behind.

According to the BBC, it’s down to how the data is processed. When video is streamed, it is split up into smaller chunks, which are then reassembled on the screen. The key is ensuring that the pieces aren’t too short (which is inefficient), nor are they too long (which causes the delay).

It’s expected to reveal more at the International Broadcasting Convention later today.