Setting Up Text Synchronization With eScription

There are a few things to consider when setting up a live audio/video event with eScription.  To satisfy the largest viewer audience most events are broadcast in both Microsoft Media and Real Media formats. Likewise, unless you are broadcasting to a very small audience, you are likely to have more than one audio/video encoder.  These encoders are typically set up in such a way to distribute user requests for media streams among the different encoders in the server bank.  Let’s say 5 users all enter at about the same time during the event.  Are they all listening to the same thing during any given instant?  Unless you have taken the time to ensure that this is the case, it probably is not.  In fact, there could be as much as a 60 second difference between any of the streams being broadcast by the 5 encoders.  Why?  The answer centers on broadcast delay.

The act of digitizing or encoding audio/video from a live event takes time.  That time varies quite a lot depending on the hardware specifications of the computer and the software used to encode the audio/video.  The amount of RAM, CPU speed, Bus speed, Hard Drive access speed, and Sound Device all greatly affect the speed at which the audio/video is encoded.  The time that it takes to encode the audio/video creates what is called the Broadcast Delay.

It is important to note that Microsoft Media Server and Real Producer natively do not have the same Broadcast Delay.  Not only do the two major encoders have a different broadcast delay, you may have different broadcast delays among like servers.  Meaning, for example, Microsoft Media Server A and Microsoft Media Server B may in fact have a different Broadcast Delay.

You may think to yourself, “So, my viewers all have some broadcast delay.  Why should I care if they are all different?”  Enter the Speche text stream.  The text stream is delivered along with any one of the audio/video streams.  However, the text stream is delivered via the eScription platform and is completely independent of the audio/video encoders.  The text stream takes much less time to encode than audio/video.  To compensate for this, the eScription platform has its own Broadcast Delay feature built in.  This delay is set during connection testing prior to the live event and applies to all text streams for the given event.  Therefore, if you do not have the same delay on all of your audio/video encoders prior to connection testing with Speche, you may have very different experiences from user to user.  In extreme cases, it may be possible for some users to see the text as much as 60 seconds before or after the intended media synchronization point.

To provide the highest quality synchronized text stream for your live event, all media encoders should be tested, and adjusted to achieve approximately the same Broadcast Delay.  Unfortunately, manually setting all of your media encoders to the same value will likely not be enough.  It is strongly advised that you run a few trial broadcasts through your encoders and listen/view each stream to verify that the Broadcast Delay is indeed the same before beginning connection testing with Speche.  This will ensure the highest quality of synchronization between the caption text and the audio/video and therefore give the highest quality experience to your viewers.