BBC claim to have fixed 'streaming delay' on live sport

Matt Storey - do not use
·2 min read
Fans watching England’s World Cup semi-final goal online may already have known what happened, if their neighbours were using TV sets
Fans watching England’s World Cup semi-final goal online may already have known what happened, if their neighbours were using TV sets

Watching sport online could be revolutionised with the BBC claiming they have worked out how to cut out delays while watching live sport.

Currently, people viewing games or matches on the internet have to deal with a ‘streaming lag’, which means the game they are watching ‘live’ is actually 40 or 50 seconds behind the TV broadcast.

It caused issues during the World Cup, when fans could hear neighbours cheer goals as they were watching games on television and not having to deal with a delay.

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And during the US Open tennis, which was broadcast on Amazon for the first time, there was usually a delay of 45 seconds, meaning anyone on social media was likely to have already found out the result before they watched it.

But the BBC Research and Development department say they have worked out how to eliminate the delay and make it so that viewers will notice no difference between viewing online and on TV,

It may take a while to implement the fix, however, with suggestions the technology could be available for the 2022 World Cup, just under four years away.

The US Open was broadcast on Amazon for the first time this year, meaning delays for viewers
The US Open was broadcast on Amazon for the first time this year, meaning delays for viewers

They will showcase their findings at the International Broadcasting Convention in Holland today, but warned they need the entire industry on board if they want the change to be rolled out to viewers.

Jake Bickerton, from Broadcast Magazine, said: “It isn’t going to be simple to get something compressed to a point where it can get to viewers at home through broadband very quickly.

“If the BBC is able to reduce latency, then it’s a great thing going forward.”

He added: “With sport, it’s irritating if you’re watching something that is 20 or 40 seconds behind live TV.

“The BBC also did trials at the World Cup streaming 4K [ultra high-definition] HDR content. Not only was there a delay, but consumers had to have really good broadband at home.”