Livestream with Youtube Low latency – What does it mean?

Photo by Seth Doyle on Unsplash

There are two ways you can put content onto Youtube.

  • You can record or create a video and then upload it onto youtube. People can then watch the content at any time after you have uploaded it.
  • You can record live to youtube. People can view the content live as you record it. When you have finished the recording can also be watched at any time in the future.

Why would you want to LiveStream?

By live streaming an event you can have people interact with you live. It is possible to have multiple people live and switch between them. Other people can then watch the interaction live. You can also take advantage of Youtube tools to chat and therefore allow people to interact with you live.

What is latency? (delay)

Without making this too technical, it takes time for the video content to go from your system up to Youtube, to be prepared and then made it available for others to download. The delay between you saying or doing something and that being seen or heard by a user is the latency we are talking about. Also, bear in mind that different devices – like mobile, can view different formats of video and to prepare all of these also takes time.

Traditionally we were used to youtube having around 20-30 seconds delay. If you are doing a webinar and asking for feedback and answering questions, this can make things tricky. As a presenter, you have to be aware of the delay between you saying something and anybody being able to reply to you a chat message. In fact, this was the main reason why people looked to other platforms for webinar type presentations.

New offers from Youtube

Youtube now offers three options.

  • Normal latency – What we are used to. All resolutions are available and this services the longest delays but the best watching experience.
  • Low Latency – Suitable for interacting with your audience, but still a delay. 4k resolution not supported.
  • Ultra-low latency – Very short delay offers a high level of interaction and real-time engagement. Does not support DVR, 1440p or 4k. You also need a good connection and setup to ensure you don’t slow down your end.

What does this mean?

It shows the popularity of live streaming is increasing and Youtube does not want to lose it. There is more competition from webinar specific platforms and social media platforms live Facebook.

Should I consider it?

If you can creating ‘simple’ content for Youtube, like short talking head videos, then consider live streaming.  You can actually decrease your workload as

  • A live presentation can be a little rougher around the edges.
  • You may benefit from some live interaction, maybe answering a few questions.
    (you do not have to, it is your choice)
  • A live production is quicker to produce as there is no post-production editing.


Photo by Seth Doyle on Unsplash