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Vindral: the time for synchronized sports streaming is now

The topic of synchronized viewing in sports is highly relevant and something the industry as a whole is aiming to solve. Whether the audience is participating in an interactive experience, betting in-play or connecting through social layers, lack of synchronization is a source of frustration and a clear point of improvement. When betting on content, it translates to fairness, when interacting it means cohesiveness and for social watching, it only makes sense if everyone is seeing the same thing at the same time. Yet live streaming of sports in 2024 still battles with real-time synchronization. For fans, the essence of live sports lies in its immediacy – the unfiltered, unedited, and unpredictable unfolding of events. Sync is of critical importance in sports, so why is it not yet universally solved? 

The Thrill of the Now: The Importance of Sync in Sports 

At the heart of live sports is the ‘now’ – the live, real-time experience. Sports fans around the globe yearn for the immediacy of action, the communal experience of witnessing a pivotal moment as it happens. A lack of synchronization in streaming can rob viewers of this thrill. The disappointment of a delayed stream is almost a fundamental breach of the live sports contract. The goal or touchdown scored would of course ideally be shared instantaneously with thousands or even millions of other fans.

Even a few seconds delay between devices can be the whole reason that the feeling of being part of a live event and merely watching a replay is ruined. This gap is where the frustration lies for the fans and where the industry needs to focus its attention. 

Daniel Alinder, CEO Vindral

The Challenges to Synchronization 

Achieving synchronization in live sports streaming is a well-known challenge. Diverse geographic locations, varying internet speeds, and the multitude of platforms and devices used for streaming contribute to the complexity. Additionally, the infrastructure supporting live streams must be robust enough to handle massive, simultaneous access, a feat easier said than done. 

The betting angle and social aspect 

Nowhere is the need for real-time streaming more evident than in sports betting. In this high-stakes world, a delay of even a few seconds can render information useless or, worse, misleading. The lack of synchronization not only impacts the enjoyment of the game but also has real financial implications. In short: it’s about fairness. For the integrity and viability of sports betting, synchronized streaming isn’t just desirable, but essential. Synchronization also ensures that all viewers are part of the same conversation, experiencing and reacting to moments together, not in a staggered, disjointed manner. 

Sports are inherently social, and in the age of social media, this aspect has taken on a new dimension. Live tweeting, social media commentary, and online discussions are all vital to the modern sports-viewing experience. 

The Future: A Synchronized Dream 

The dream of fully synchronized live sports streaming is one that continues to inspire and challenge technologists. The evolution of 5G technology, advancements in edge computing, and innovative streaming algorithms all point towards a future where real-time streaming is the norm, not the exception. 

In this landscape, Vindral are establishing efforts to bridge this gap. Vindral’s approach to live streaming technology emphasizes ultra-low latency and synchronized playout, for clients that require both sync and retained high video quality at the same time. It might be racing where viewers are frequently switching channels, and where all angles must constantly play out at the same part of the action. It might be live betting, where viewers are waiting for specific cues from the competition, and where differing latencies would cause an unfair advantage for some viewers. With adaptive bitrates, streams are kept stable and at a high quality even at ultra-low latency. But the question remains: why isn’t this level of performance the norm?