We are now decades into the digital revolution, so why haven't high-tech audio streams caught up to old-fashioned radio waves?
That was my question on last week's GeekWire Podcast, after conducting an experiment inspired by the tradition of tuning into 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 various smartphone apps, were at least 30 seconds behind the action on the field, and sometimes even further behind. That compared to a lag of just a few seconds when listening on a $22, battery-powered AM transistor radio.
I offered my theories about the reasons for this, and heard from a bunch 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 went on to lead a variety of tech and digital media startups, including a past role as CEO of Seattle-based Abacast, which streamed broadcast radio stations online.
Green is a longtime GeekWire reader who emailed me after last week's post: "Simply put, streaming requires buffers to work correctly, hence the delay you experienced," he wrote. "Broadcast expects a perfect network, and streaming expects an imperfect network, and they are respectively architected accordingly."
I jumped on the line with him to learn more, and you can hear his comments on this week's episode, along with an explanation from Major League Baseball, and a fun story about the early days of live-streaming baseball games from Seattle tech veteran Daryn Nakhuda.