Here’s Why Major League Baseball’s Live Digital Audio Streams Aren’t Actually Live – GeekWire

Here’s Why Major League Baseball’s Live Digital Audio Streams Aren’t Actually Live – GeekWire

Here’s Why Major League Baseball’s Live Digital Audio Streams Aren’t Actually Live – GeekWire

We’ve been in the digital revolution for decades now, so why haven’t high-tech audio streams caught up with old-fashioned radio waves?

That was my question on last week’s GeekWire Podcastafter conducting an experiment inspired by the tradition of tuning in to the play-by-play announcers while watching a baseball game in the stands.

During a Seattle Mariners game at T-Mobile Park, I found that the audio streams from several smartphone apps were at least 30 seconds behind the action on the field, and sometimes even further behind.

That compares to a delay of just a few seconds when listening on a $22 battery-powered AM transistor radio.

The delay in the digital audio stream basically made it useless for playing-by-play in the margins.

I offered my theories on the reasons for this and heard from a number of people who listened to the podcast or read the article last week.

One was streaming media veteran Rob Green, who was group manager of Microsoft’s Digital Media Division from 1998 to 2006, a pivotal era for the industry. He then led several technology and digital media startups, including a previous role as CEO of Seattle-based Abacast, which streamed radio stations online.

Green emailed me after seeing last week’s post: “Simply put, streaming requires buffers to work properly, hence the delay you experienced,” he wrote. He explained, “Broadcast expects a perfect network and streaming expects an imperfect network, and they are designed accordingly, respectively.”

I spoke to him to find out more. Hear his commentary on this week’s episode.

About bridging terrestrial and internet radio, I got a great email from Daryn Nakhuda, a Seattle tech industry veteran who is now senior director of software engineering for the self-driving technology company Waabi.

hey todd,

Just read your story on AM vs digital radio to listen to the ball game and had a funny story to share. Around 97 or 98 I worked at a web development company that managed the Mariners website as well as the KIRO Radio site.

This was in the days of RealAudio and we wanted to provide a live stream of games on the web. What have we done? We found an old boombox, called it 710 a.m., and taped the headphone jack to the sound card on my workstation.

It worked like a champ, although every once in a while someone would email the webmaster saying the stream was a bit static and we needed to shake the antenna or do some fine tuning.

Ah, the good old days…

And finally, here’s what Major League Baseball had to say on this topic via email.

MLB uses a third-party technology service provider to digitally distribute home and road audio feeds for all 2,430 regular-season games, in addition to the post-season, in its [owned and operated] Products. Due to technological limitations in the digital space, latency of the feeds is inevitable. We have successfully worked with our partner to reduce latency times and we will continue to work on further improvements.

The part about continuing to work on future improvements is promising, but as MLB hinted and Rob Green explained, it’s highly unlikely that the current setup will create the kind of true live streaming audio play-by-play scenario I had envisioned. suggested.

Who knows, this may be one of the issues being solved in the metaverse.

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