13 Trusted Platforms That Offer Low-Latency Video Streaming

Evelyn Trainor-Fogleman

8 min read time

Whether you realize it or not, you’ve likely dipped your toes into the world of online video streaming in one way or another. Whether you’ve streamed yourself playing an online game on Twitch or simply picked up the phone to FaceTime with a friend, you’ve interacted with low-latency video streaming platforms. 


But what exactly is “low latency” video streaming, and why do we need it? Here we’ll dive into the world of online video streaming and how important latency is when trying to deliver a high-quality experience. 



What is Low Latency Video Streaming?

“Latency” refers to the amount of time between an action or command being input into a system and the action being carried out. Put simply, it’s the amount of time between when you press a key on a keyboard, and you see the computer respond to that. 


Where latency has become extremely important is in video streaming applications. Whether you’re video chatting with a friend on your mobile device or playing a high-stakes PvP game online, you want the platform you’re on to respond as quickly as possible so that you get to interact with your content in “real-time” (or as close to it as possible). 


Low latency” has no official definition, but it simply refers to a minimal amount of latency on a platform. This can be anything from 30 seconds in some applications to only a few milliseconds in others. 



What is an Acceptable Latency for Streaming?

An “acceptable” amount of latency varies depending on the actions being performed. For video streaming developers, a survey revealed that most aim for around 5 seconds as “low latency.” 


This is an acceptable amount of latency for these applications since there’s not live interaction going on. They simply need a relatively quick response to a video beginning to stream when the user requests it. 


For live or interactive platforms, “low latency” means far faster response times, often aiming for less than 1 second of latency to give that “real-time” feeling. 


If you’re looking to stream live video over the internet with low or ultra-low latency, you’ll need a platform that supports this kind of response time. We’ve compiled some of the streaming platforms that are currently on the market to see how they stack up against each other when it comes to delivering a low latency streaming experience. 



Streaming Platforms with The Lowest Latency

Twitch


Twitch is a well-known platform for gamers who like to stream their play sessions in real-time while interacting with their communities. It offers a low-latency streaming option that allows streamers to interact in as close to real-time as the platform can allow. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: Gaming
  • Average latency: 5 sec
  • Price: Free 



OBS


Open Broadcast Software (OBS) is an open-source streaming application used for various video streaming applications. Live streamers of all types use OBS to stream real-time video to online broadcasting platforms such as Twitch, Facebook Live, and other live streaming sources. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: Gaming, 
  • Average latency: Normal latency for OBS is around 5 seconds, but with an optimized system and the use of “low latency” mode, latency can be as low as around 1-2 seconds. 
  • Price: Free 



Evercast


Evercast stands out not just because of its ultra-low latency streaming capabilities but because it’s able to deliver this ultra-low latency while allowing creative teams to stream their workspace platforms in ultra HD at the same time as they live video chat with their co-collaborators. The goal of Evercast is to recreate the feeling of live editing room collaboration for teams working remotely, and with a near-microscopic latency, they’re able to do it quite well. Another common use case for Evercast is to stream multiple cameras on set to anyone, anywhere in the world.


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: Creative collaboration and live streaming editing sessions
  • Average latency: 150 ms
  • Price: Starts at $599 per month



Wowza


A long-standing contender in the world of online video streaming, Wowza has long upheld itself as one of the most reliable low latency video streaming providers. Used by industry leaders such as Facebook, Vimeo, and Sony, Wowza is heavily focused on providing video streaming services to enterprise-level companies and events. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: Broadcast 
  • Average latency: Around 1-2 seconds 
  • Price: Software starts at $125 per month

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13 Trusted Platforms That Offer Low-Latency Video StreamingLimelight RTS


The RTS in Limelight RTS stands for “real-time streaming,” which is what this other industry leader tries to provide. Similar to Wowza, Limelight focuses on delivering an ultra-live experience to broadcasters with sub-1 second latencies. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: Broadcast 
  • Average latency: 500ms
  • Price: Pricing not available



Zoom


Of course, this pandemic-era darling deserves mention in this list. Zoom’s goal of delivering real-time video conferencing has forced them to put a high priority on their average latency to provide a video chat experience with virtually no delay. With audio and basic video streaming, Zoom stays ahead of the class. However, it struggles a bit more when it encounters screen sharing or CPU limitations. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: Online conferencing
  • Average latency: 10 ms
  • Price: Free



Vonage Video API


Vonage Video API (formerly known as TokBox) is an enterprise-level video streaming API whose aim is to provide live video streaming capabilities that adjust to whatever workflow a company needs. By providing stream encryption that is HIPAA and GDPR compliant, they stand out as a contender for enterprise companies and healthcare agencies who need to take advantage of live video streaming capabilities at scale. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: Enterprise video conferencing and live streaming meetings and training. 
  • Average latency: < 1 sec
  • Price: Starts at $9.99 per month for the first 2,000 minutes of streaming



Red 5 Pro


Another contender in the enterprise video streaming space is Red 5 Pro. They boast an impressively low latency for broadcasting live events, and they provide tons of server-side customizations that will allow enterprise companies to better integrate it into their workflow. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: News and sports broadcasting 
  • Average latency: 500ms
  • Price: Starts at $29.99 per month



Millicast


If you’re noticing a trend, you’re right. Many companies are focusing on real-time video streaming platforms that are aimed at enterprise-level broadcasting companies. Millicast is no exception. With features aimed at large companies looking to broadcast events to a wide audience, Millicast is another company battling it out to be the darling of the new age of broadcasting. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: News and sports broadcasting 
  • Average latency: 500ms
  • Price: Starts at $495 per month



Dacast


Dacast is targeting itself at traditional broadcasters, and while it doesn’t have the lowest latency on this list, it still bears mentioning as it falls well within the range for what broadcast companies consider “low latency.” It’s relatively affordable and is a great option for broadcasters who don’t need interactivity but instead want to stream a smooth broadcast with relatively low latency. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: Event broadcasts 
  • Average latency: 10 sec
  • Price: Starts at $39 per month



Ant Media Server

Ant Media Server provides a low latency video streaming experience that is powered by their WebRTC technology. It’s designed to be configurable to enterprise companies' needs and can be run locally or through the cloud. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: Live video monitoring and surveillance
  • Average latency: 500 ms
  • Price: Starts at $49 per month



CacheFly


Another platform designed to stream live video at scale, CacheFly boasts an impressively low latency not just by broadcasting standards but by live interaction standards. This means live videos are truly live instead of running at the industry standard 5-10 second delay. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: Live event broadcasts
  • Average latency: 500 ms
  • Price: Starts at $595 per month



Vimeo


Moving away from the traditional enterprise solutions and back into systems designed more for creatives who want to connect with an audience, Vimeo’s live streaming platform doesn’t clock in as the fastest, but it does still fit under the low latency threshold for broadcasters. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: Live event broadcasts
  • Average latency: 15 sec
  • Price: Starts at $75 per month




The age of digital video streaming is truly upon us, and it’s a race for developers to keep providing video streaming with as little latency as possible to give viewers a truly “live” feeling experience. 


So whether you’re just broadcasting a live event or talking face-to-face with your creative team, low latency streaming can be the difference between a seamless, immersive experience and a buffering nightmare. 

13 Trusted Platforms That Offer Low-Latency Video Streaming

Evelyn Trainor-Fogleman

7/8/21

Whether you realize it or not, you’ve likely dipped your toes into the world of online video streaming in one way or another. Whether you’ve streamed yourself playing an online game on Twitch or simply picked up the phone to FaceTime with a friend, you’ve interacted with low-latency video streaming platforms. 


But what exactly is “low latency” video streaming, and why do we need it? Here we’ll dive into the world of online video streaming and how important latency is when trying to deliver a high-quality experience. 



What is Low Latency Video Streaming?

“Latency” refers to the amount of time between an action or command being input into a system and the action being carried out. Put simply, it’s the amount of time between when you press a key on a keyboard, and you see the computer respond to that. 


Where latency has become extremely important is in video streaming applications. Whether you’re video chatting with a friend on your mobile device or playing a high-stakes PvP game online, you want the platform you’re on to respond as quickly as possible so that you get to interact with your content in “real-time” (or as close to it as possible). 


Low latency” has no official definition, but it simply refers to a minimal amount of latency on a platform. This can be anything from 30 seconds in some applications to only a few milliseconds in others. 



What is an Acceptable Latency for Streaming?

An “acceptable” amount of latency varies depending on the actions being performed. For video streaming developers, a survey revealed that most aim for around 5 seconds as “low latency.” 


This is an acceptable amount of latency for these applications since there’s not live interaction going on. They simply need a relatively quick response to a video beginning to stream when the user requests it. 


For live or interactive platforms, “low latency” means far faster response times, often aiming for less than 1 second of latency to give that “real-time” feeling. 


If you’re looking to stream live video over the internet with low or ultra-low latency, you’ll need a platform that supports this kind of response time. We’ve compiled some of the streaming platforms that are currently on the market to see how they stack up against each other when it comes to delivering a low latency streaming experience. 



Streaming Platforms with The Lowest Latency

Twitch


Twitch is a well-known platform for gamers who like to stream their play sessions in real-time while interacting with their communities. It offers a low-latency streaming option that allows streamers to interact in as close to real-time as the platform can allow. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: Gaming
  • Average latency: 5 sec
  • Price: Free 



OBS


Open Broadcast Software (OBS) is an open-source streaming application used for various video streaming applications. Live streamers of all types use OBS to stream real-time video to online broadcasting platforms such as Twitch, Facebook Live, and other live streaming sources. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: Gaming, 
  • Average latency: Normal latency for OBS is around 5 seconds, but with an optimized system and the use of “low latency” mode, latency can be as low as around 1-2 seconds. 
  • Price: Free 



Evercast


Evercast stands out not just because of its ultra-low latency streaming capabilities but because it’s able to deliver this ultra-low latency while allowing creative teams to stream their workspace platforms in ultra HD at the same time as they live video chat with their co-collaborators. The goal of Evercast is to recreate the feeling of live editing room collaboration for teams working remotely, and with a near-microscopic latency, they’re able to do it quite well. Another common use case for Evercast is to stream multiple cameras on set to anyone, anywhere in the world.


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: Creative collaboration and live streaming editing sessions
  • Average latency: 150 ms
  • Price: Starts at $599 per month



Wowza


A long-standing contender in the world of online video streaming, Wowza has long upheld itself as one of the most reliable low latency video streaming providers. Used by industry leaders such as Facebook, Vimeo, and Sony, Wowza is heavily focused on providing video streaming services to enterprise-level companies and events. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: Broadcast 
  • Average latency: Around 1-2 seconds 
  • Price: Software starts at $125 per month

13 Trusted Platforms That Offer Low-Latency Video StreamingLimelight RTS


The RTS in Limelight RTS stands for “real-time streaming,” which is what this other industry leader tries to provide. Similar to Wowza, Limelight focuses on delivering an ultra-live experience to broadcasters with sub-1 second latencies. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: Broadcast 
  • Average latency: 500ms
  • Price: Pricing not available



Zoom


Of course, this pandemic-era darling deserves mention in this list. Zoom’s goal of delivering real-time video conferencing has forced them to put a high priority on their average latency to provide a video chat experience with virtually no delay. With audio and basic video streaming, Zoom stays ahead of the class. However, it struggles a bit more when it encounters screen sharing or CPU limitations. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: Online conferencing
  • Average latency: 10 ms
  • Price: Free



Vonage Video API


Vonage Video API (formerly known as TokBox) is an enterprise-level video streaming API whose aim is to provide live video streaming capabilities that adjust to whatever workflow a company needs. By providing stream encryption that is HIPAA and GDPR compliant, they stand out as a contender for enterprise companies and healthcare agencies who need to take advantage of live video streaming capabilities at scale. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: Enterprise video conferencing and live streaming meetings and training. 
  • Average latency: < 1 sec
  • Price: Starts at $9.99 per month for the first 2,000 minutes of streaming



Red 5 Pro


Another contender in the enterprise video streaming space is Red 5 Pro. They boast an impressively low latency for broadcasting live events, and they provide tons of server-side customizations that will allow enterprise companies to better integrate it into their workflow. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: News and sports broadcasting 
  • Average latency: 500ms
  • Price: Starts at $29.99 per month



Millicast


If you’re noticing a trend, you’re right. Many companies are focusing on real-time video streaming platforms that are aimed at enterprise-level broadcasting companies. Millicast is no exception. With features aimed at large companies looking to broadcast events to a wide audience, Millicast is another company battling it out to be the darling of the new age of broadcasting. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: News and sports broadcasting 
  • Average latency: 500ms
  • Price: Starts at $495 per month



Dacast


Dacast is targeting itself at traditional broadcasters, and while it doesn’t have the lowest latency on this list, it still bears mentioning as it falls well within the range for what broadcast companies consider “low latency.” It’s relatively affordable and is a great option for broadcasters who don’t need interactivity but instead want to stream a smooth broadcast with relatively low latency. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: Event broadcasts 
  • Average latency: 10 sec
  • Price: Starts at $39 per month



Ant Media Server

Ant Media Server provides a low latency video streaming experience that is powered by their WebRTC technology. It’s designed to be configurable to enterprise companies' needs and can be run locally or through the cloud. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: Live video monitoring and surveillance
  • Average latency: 500 ms
  • Price: Starts at $49 per month



CacheFly


Another platform designed to stream live video at scale, CacheFly boasts an impressively low latency not just by broadcasting standards but by live interaction standards. This means live videos are truly live instead of running at the industry standard 5-10 second delay. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: Live event broadcasts
  • Average latency: 500 ms
  • Price: Starts at $595 per month



Vimeo


Moving away from the traditional enterprise solutions and back into systems designed more for creatives who want to connect with an audience, Vimeo’s live streaming platform doesn’t clock in as the fastest, but it does still fit under the low latency threshold for broadcasters. 


  • What type of streaming it’s best for: Live event broadcasts
  • Average latency: 15 sec
  • Price: Starts at $75 per month




The age of digital video streaming is truly upon us, and it’s a race for developers to keep providing video streaming with as little latency as possible to give viewers a truly “live” feeling experience. 


So whether you’re just broadcasting a live event or talking face-to-face with your creative team, low latency streaming can be the difference between a seamless, immersive experience and a buffering nightmare. 

Evelyn Trainor-Fogleman

Website
Evelyn Trainor-Fogleman is a writer based in New York City. After over half a decade in the film industry, she came back to her Journalism roots to write for a variety of media outlets about subjects including technology, business, marketing, and social and environmental justice.

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