How to Fix YouTube Latency in your Live Streaming?


In most cases, you will want to stream with normal latency, resulting in a delay of 15 to 60 seconds, depending on your bandwidth. Low latency results in a delay of 5 to 15 seconds, and ultra-low latency results in a delay of 2 to 5 seconds.

While lower latency is preferable, it will affect the quality of the encoded video. So if chat or live interaction with your viewers is part of your workflow, you need to lower the latency and quality.

Whether you are new to streaming or a seasoned veteran, interacting with your audience is an item on your agenda that you need to tick off every time you go live. Even if you respond to comments as soon as you see them, your audience may not see it that way due to the high latency set by default on many streaming platforms. 

In this blog, you’ll learn how to fix Youtube latency in your live streaming and what Youtube latency even is. Read on to find out more.

What is latency?

Stream latency is the delay between when your camera captures an event and when it is displayed to viewers. When setting up your live stream, think about how latency can affect your viewers. If you are chatting live with viewers, lower latency is best for responding to viewer comments and questions.

While the latency or stream delay is meant to reduce buffer time and skipped frames, it comes at the expense of real-time engagement, which could put your audience off.

How to fix YouTube latency in your live streaming?

High and low latency

High latency in your stream can cause your stream to be drastically delayed and ruin the viewing experience for the viewer. However, if the latency is low, the viewer will experience your stream in a much more real sense of time. With less latency in your stream, the viewer’s experience is maximised and it’s almost like being at a real event

  • To adjust latency, first turn off your stream when your encoder is active. Then log in to YouTube and access the Creator Studio by following the steps below:
  • In the top right corner of the main page, click on your account image and then click Creator Studio.
  • Then click More Features in the left sidebar and then Live Stream Now.

Alternative method: Click on the camera icon with the plus sign and then click Go Live. On the next page, click Encoder Live Streaming in the bottom right corner of the webpage.

  • Once you are in the live streaming section of Creator Studio, you will see three options in the left sidebar under Live Streaming. The default setting is Stream Now. If you want to start an event at a specific time, click Events.

Creating an event requires more steps than Stream Now, but both have the same latency options. The rest of this guide is about Stream Now. 

On the Stream Now page, scroll down until you see Stream Options and click on it. Under Stream Optimisations you will see 3 options. Make sure Normal Latency is selected, or lower latency if audience interaction is required.

If the latency options are greyed out, you will need to stop streaming, refresh the page and try again. Restart the streaming and check the preview in full screen mode. You should notice an improvement in quality when you switch from low latency to normal latency. If not, please refer to this guide on the optimal settings for your NVS Series encoder.

Once your video is live on the channel, you can check the streaming data to monitor latency and dropped frames. The upload bitrate of your streaming encoder is not shown here because YouTube Live uses adaptive bitrates, which means that there are multiple streams of your video with different resolutions and bitrates available for your computer to switch between during playback. This ensures a consistent decoded stream if your bandwidth varies too much to support the current stream.

To view this data, right-click on the video in the player window and click Statistics for Nerds.

You will then see a small window with statistics about your video. The most important settings are Live Latency, Dropped Frames and Current/Optimum Resolution.

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