Why Is Latency Relevant When It Comes To Live Shopping For eCommerce? RTMP+HLS vs WebRTC

Why latency is important
7 minutes

Many of our prospects are wondering whether it's important to deliver a low latency video or not.

And even though in a one-to-many video session, you would say that no one really knows that there is latency and you would be right.

However, what happens when you decide to host contests, trivia, votes or other types of events that require more active involvement from your users? Are you going to change the provider all over again?

That is very costly and inefficient. So why not choose a provider like StageMe that delivers video with a sub-one-second delay?

Is the delay that bad with RTMP+HLS, though? Well yes, the minimum delay you can get on the classic HLS protocol is at least around 7 seconds and depending on the content delivery network that you're using, that could go to even 3 minutes or more. Even with the new low latency HLS protocol, you would get at least a two-second delay, but that would mean degradation in quality - a lot of video buffering.

So how come WebRTC doesn't have these problems? It's simple. WebRTC is a relatively new protocol, that is now mature and stable and has been specifically designed for real-time communication. And it's based on the UDP protocol, versus the TCP/IP protocol that both RTMP and HLS rely on. It is actually the technology used by all major providers, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams etc.

For those that don't know, UDP is the protocol that is more lenient on packet loss and is designed for speed and not for reliability. Whereas the TCP/IP protocol is much slower because it prioritises reliability. But it's more important to avoid video buffers for small packet losses which are unavoidable in mobile communications especially since small losses are not perceptible by people in the video quality.

And another benefit is that WebRTC is native to all browsers, mobile and desktop. You won’t have to install new apps or software to go live.

And yet another WebRTC benefit is the built-in variable bit rate that adapts automatically to the network conditions, making sure that the video playback is smooth in all network conditions!

We hope this video helped you understand the differences between WebRTC and the legacy RTMP protocol plus HLS and you'll now be able to make an informed decision.