Twitch is introducing a new system that promises reduced stream delay, but only for some streamers.
Twitch changed how it handles livestreams in a major way towards the end of 2013. Initially, the delay between the live feed and what the viewers were seeing was kept to a minimum. This helped many streamers interact better with their audiences, as the chat’s comments were always referring to what’s happening on the screen.
After the delay was introduced however, many streamers who rely on interacting with their chat found it difficult, and sometimes impossible, to stream and react to viewers. The lag could go up to a full minute, a significant delay.
Twitch said at the time that the change was done to improve video quality and buffering for the majority of its users. It does this by queuing more video minutes on viewers’ computers, something that was made possible by the delay.
Today, in an email sent to partners, Twitch said that it’s testing out a new system that reduces the delay by 33%. The new system is given as an option to some streamers.
“With reduced delay, you’ll spend less time waiting for replies and more time engaging with your community,” reads the email.
“It’s important to know that reduced delay does come at a small quality of service cost — particularly to viewers with poor internet connections.
“Some viewers may experience changes in playback, with shorter, more frequent buffering times. Because less video is queued on a viewer’s computer, they will be more susceptible to variations in download bandwidth, and may experience more interruptions in service while video buffers.
“Rather than require every channel to switch to the reduced delay option, we’re leaving it up to you to decide what is best for you and your community.
The feature will start going live today.