By Jacob Kastrenakes , a deputy editor who oversees tech and news coverage. Since joining The Verge in 2012, he’s published 5,000+ stories and is the founding editor of the creators desk.
Tens of millions of people gathered together to watch the Super Bowl last night — but they weren’t all watching it at exactly the same time. Cable streams of the game delivered footage that was around 50 seconds behind what was happening on the field, and the figure for online streaming services was even worse. Some viewers were watching a stream that was a minute-and-a-half behind the real world, leaving plenty of time for social media posts and push notifications to spoil what was about to happen in the game.
The figures, from streaming tech company Phenix, show that streaming still has a ways to go to catch up with other — and, often, older — methods of watching TV. Hulu, NFL Plus, and DirecTV Stream were on average more than a minute behind the action on the field. Fubo TV was the worst, with an average delay of almost 87 seconds and some users seeing a delay of up to two minutes.
There’s always going to be some delay between a real-time event and the footage appearing on a TV set across the country. But Phenix’s data shows that there’s very much room for improvement. Verizon FiOS had a delay of just 29 seconds. And the best performance of all came from the oldest method out there: over-the-air broadcasts. People getting the game from a broadcast signal experienced the briefest delay, seeing what was happening just 22 seconds after it occurred on the field.