Streaming in or near real time is an important part of the user experience for some online radio platforms.
So says Wowza Media Systems in a blog post, noting that most traditional, over-the-air radio broadcasts have end-to-end latencies of less than one second by comparison.
In “Don’t Touch That Dial: Comparing Streaming Radio Latency,” the company argues that broadcasters must provide a quality user experience for listeners on both terrestrial signals and via streaming apps in order to survive in the crowded audio landscape.
For audio, user experience mostly comes down to perceived quality (high-quality sound, play without buffering, variety of content/exclusive programming and time to first frame).
The blog compares the latency of some “radio” apps and relates it to the type of content provided: TuneIn, NPR One, local stations, iHeartRadio, iTunes Radio and SiriusXM. Wowza concludes that “radio apps offer a wide range of latency scores,” with NPR One, TuneIn and iHeartRadio on the low-latency end, while iTunes Radio and SiriusXM had the highest latency but lowest time to first frame.