The Problem With Digital Streaming Live Mega Sporting Events – Forbes

As you’re reading this, thousands—if not millions—of people are streaming video content to their computer, tablet, or smartphone. And for all that are streaming static content, such as movies from the likes of Netflix or Hulu, there is a vast populace that is viewing live content.

A picture taken on August 13, 2016 shows a smartphone with a periscope application recording a press conference with Barcelona’s midfielder Sergio Busquets at the Sports Center FC Barcelona Joan Gamper in Sant Joan Despi, near Barcelona. / AFP / JOSEP LAGO (Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)

This move to streamed live content is seeing its biggest effect with sports, where fan bases don’t customarily DVR the content due to sports’ drama and unpredictability.

And while there is ample evidence that shows a growing shift to cut the cord from pay television or be “no corders” who have never had paid or over-the-air television, the fact is, if we were to wave a magic wand and take away all of the pay-TV customers and put them on digital, the complex infrastructure to support it would not be there.

In fact, for everyone that may talk about poor service for cable or satellite television, as users come online to get their live or static video content, they’re bumping into service issues of equal, or perhaps, more problems due to technical difficulties of supporting millions of users on hundreds of different device platforms that could see differing levels of operating system upgrades or patching.

The question becomes, is live streaming of content fully ready for prime time?

“Live streaming is not ready for prime time and there’s no expectation that will change anytime soon,” says Phillip Swan, the editor and publisher of, a site dedicated to tracking the media landscape. “When a relatively large number of people decide to watch a live stream at the same time, it can put a significant strain on the systems delivering the data. This can cause the video content to slow or shut down completely, leaving viewers either without a picture or unable to log in.”

As Swan notes, this isn’t just specific to one service or platform.


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