Different periods of time are critical to different subject areas. From astrophysicists analysing the evolution of the universe over 4.5 billion years ago, through archaeologists studying the dawn of early man nearly 300,000 years past, to television engineers who focus on the implication of events that occur in the blink of an eye down to millisecond resolution. In video, time matters.
In bringing a televised event to a consumer, video content passes through many processing stages and within each stage the processing takes time to complete. There can often be latencies of up to 0.5 seconds getting content out of a major outside broadcast back into the studio and frequently additional delays of over 3 seconds in delivering that content to home consumer linear broadcast TV platforms. These latencies can be critical – a major event such as an Olympic 100m final could be nearly over in the stadium before a viewer has seen the start! The situation is considerably worse for many live streamed services which can suffer over 1-minute time lag compared to traditional broadcast platforms. Indeed, because viewers naturally gravitate towards platforms that show the content first, some operators choose to trade-off video quality in favour of latency reductions to win the ratings battle.