Measuring Latency in ABR Streaming

Project Status:

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The project has been completed.


February 17, 2020

Estimated Completion:

June 3, 2024
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Problem Statement

The Technical Evaluation and Measurement project is the natural follow up to the previous Live Streaming Working Group activity focused on the creation of the Best Practices For Reducing Stream Latency. But that document provided only best practices. It lacked data to confirm or refute the recommendations.

Project Description

It is critical to test assumptions when making recommendations. Although the initiating document for this project suggested very informed best practices to reduce live stream latency, based on the collective experience of those involved and their companies, substantiation requires testing and validation. A first work item for this project will be to define the work bench structure relying on lab resources being made available at Liberty Global. During this first work item, the group will define the common part of the test workflow, identify the contributors for each building block, and define a baseline which can be used as an anchor to compare with for other low latency streaming technologies defined in subsequent work items. Then, four work items corresponding to four different streaming technologies have been identified and selected for the tests. The definition of the tests that will be carried out for each of the work items as well as the test bench. The resulting outcome of the tests (i.e., measurements) will be collated into a document resulting in a set of measurement results and reference architectures for low latency live streaming.

Project Type

Document and Proof of Concept

Project Leads


Published Documents

Version: 1.6

Date Plublished: 06/03/2024

More Details

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SVTA1058: An Exploration into Measuring Streaming Latency

This document represents a continuation of the work from SVTA5021: Best Practices for Reducing Live Streaming Latency.

Driven by the increasing priority of video publishers to quantify and reduce latency in live video streaming, this document highlights the key technical contributing factors to latency and, building on [SVTA5021], details the various options available for measuring latency at each component of the video delivery chain, and including the playback device.

Several key measurement methodologies are described in this document, including basic, low-scale mechanisms, such as digital clock applications and embedded visual timestamps, to more sophisticated and scalable mechanisms, such as probes installed throughout the delivery chain. Measurement capabilities unique to the latest low-latency streaming delivery protocols are also explored.

The overall conclusion of this document is that, currently, there is no single measurement point or method that can provide a complete measurement of latency through the delivery chain. Therefore, to achieve a holistic view of latency, we suggest a combination of client-side SDKs and probes deployed on the encoder, transcoder, packager, and in-network.

Goals and Objectives

The objectives and goals of this project include:
  • Test the recommendations made in the Best Practices for Reducing Live Streaming Latency in a controlled lab environment
  • Measure and gather results from different testing scenarios
  • Publish results as they are received (without analysis)
  • Document all tests, measurements, and analysis in a document

Project Scope

The Measurement phase of this project WILL PROVIDE:
  • Data tables detailing all tests and the resulting measurements
The Measurement phase of this project WILL NOT PROVIDE:
  • Any analysis of the data
  • Any testing of streaming components or technologies not explicitly called out in the test details
The document phase of this project WILL PROVIDE:
  • Clear explanation of the lab environment used during the testing (including specifics on all equipment)
  • Clear explanation of the configuration of the lab environment equipment (if applicable)
  • Clear explanation of the testing methodology for each streaming test
  • Analysis of the data as it relates to the recommendations made in the document, Best Practices for Reducing Live Streaming Latency
  • Any additional recommendations not made in the previous document
The document phase of this project WILL NOT PROVIDE:
  • Recommendations of specific equipment (either infrastructure or end-user) for live streaming


The following members have contributed to this project. Click on their name to visit their profile. If they have not published their profile, the link will redirect to their LinkedIn profile.

Additional References

The following references can help project participants gain a better understanding of live streaming latency:

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