PUBLISHED: 07/27/2015

If you’re an IT manager or anyone who works or comes in contact with video distribution systems, you’ve probably heard the term “latency” at some point. A simple definition of latency is the time lapse between when a video frame is captured and actually displayed. The lower the level of latency, the shorter amount of time lapse that is present between frames. Latency is measured in terms of milliseconds.

Logic would dictate that low latency in a video system would be the desired outcome in situations where fast interaction with video content is required. Think of a video conference where long lapses between frames would result in slower transmission times and annoying delays, which would negatively impact the ability to communicate effectively.

Defining “Low” Latency

There is no clearly defined standard for characterizing “low” latency. As a general rule, latency below 100ms is classified as low, because this is the threshold where most people are unable to detect the lapse between frames. As latency diminishes, it is often referred to as “ultra-low” latency. Zero latency refers to a time lapse of less than 10ms.

Who Can Benefit From Low Latency Applications?

Low latency can be beneficial in various applications and industries where fast response time is vital. Think of online gaming where bettors must react quickly to last-minute changes that could impact the outcome of a sporting event. Online stock traders can also get instant access to fluctuations in the marketplace. Ultra-low latency video can be extremely important in applications where machines and videos interact with speed and accuracy, such as automobile manufacturing and various medical systems and technologies.

Latency Technology Solutions From Z-Band

Z-Band offers a range of video technology solutions that can meet various latency requirements. Our chassis-based systems run at approximately 300ms of encoding/streaming latency, which enables us to provide end-to-end system latency of under one second. This is strong enough to meet the video distribution requirements of larger venues such as football stadiums where the need for true “live” video doesn’t exist. Our system allows us to maintain 300ms latency while delivering 1080p60 video at 5Mbps.

In terms of ultra-low latency, our Zen Ultra encoder/decoder pair can deliver video at 8ms total latency – less than one frame of latency at 60 frames per second. This makes Zen Ultra ideally suited for applications where “real time” video is essential.

Contact us today to learn more about the benefits low latency video can provide to your organization and to schedule a no-obligation product demo.