Watermarking a Live Stream: How an Audio Watermark Can Solve Your Live Streaming Issues

by Intrasonics Team

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Television, since its inception and introduction, has always been primarily a social experience. Television has played a crucial role from watching the coronation of Queen Elizabeth or the Moon Landing and many other critical moments throughout history.

While viewers are still using traditional “linear” television, non-linear options like VOD and live streaming via the net are becoming more commonplace.

What Are the Problems With Live Streams?

With so many different forms of broadcast, there is the potential for some common and frustrating problems.

In this post, you’ll learn more about the four issues that watermarking a live stream can help solve:

  • Lag

  • Latency Issues

  • Inaccurate Audio Sync

  • Piracy

As a broadcaster, whether through television or live streaming, you want to make sure that these issues can be addressed.

With that in mind, in the following post, we are going to look more in-depth at what the common issues are that can affect live streaming and broadcasting.

We will also tackle the problems individually and show how Intrasonics audio watermarking could help solve those issues.

Want to see how we can help? Please speak to the Intrasonics team today for more information and a free demo of our capabilities.

How Audio Watermarking Helps Solve Live Streaming and Broadcast Issues?

Have you ever been watching a football match live on television, perhaps from a foreign country (think Champion’s League, the Euros, or the World Cup), and found that either the audio would disappear or be out of sync?

Maybe while watching a show on a VOD service like Netflix or Amazon Prime, you’ve noted times when there is a definite lag between the audio and the video.

The same kind of problems happen with live concerts and are more noticeable now than ever before because most people use more than one screen.

What could be worse than watching the big match with friends using a video conferencing app, only to see them react to a sweet bit of action before you even see it?

Okay, it may not completely ruin the experience, but it would undoubtedly diminish the drama somewhat.

For broadcasters, there’s also the issue of piracy and illegal streaming of live events.

The three biggest problems affecting broadcasting and live streaming in terms of the quality of the shows, events or content are:


Often, lag and latency are mixed up with one another when they are two separate things that are a consequence. Lag is when there is a noticeable gap between something being broadcast and reaching the viewers.

Latency issues

Latency is when it takes data to transfer from one source to another and is measured in milliseconds. When you have high latency, you have more lag.

Inaccurate Audio Sync

As the name suggests, this is when the audio signal and the signal for the video are not playing simultaneously and are slightly out, giving the “dubbed” effect.


A thorn in the side of most broadcasters who live stream events – piracy costs companies millions in lost revenue every year. Illegal streaming is one of the toughest problems to tackle.

How Audio Watermarking Helps Solve Live Streaming and Broadcast Issues

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The patented audio watermarking techniques used by Intrasonics can help correct issues related to latency, audio syncing and lag.

As the audio watermark provides timestamping for the content, it can shift things to playback synchronised on both the video and audio signals.

Inaccurate Audio Sync

Because audio watermarking helps detect that the audio belongs with the video being streamed, it is fully synced up rather than running out of sync.

Latency Issues

When syncing multiple source streams, audio and video, audio watermarking can help mitigate the latency from the source to the media.

Thanks to the audio being timestamped. It helps ensure everything runs at the same time.

Audio Watermarking Helps to Track Piracy and Illegal Streaming

While there isn’t a foolproof method of stopping piracy and illegal streaming of live events before they start, the source can be tracked with audio watermarking.

Robust and inaudible digital watermarks are inserted into live streams, which accurately identify the end-user distributing the stream illegally.

Action can then be taken against the pirate, which may act as a deterrent to others.

Forensic watermarking is a natural use case for identifying an audio stream, and in this instance to detect pirated audio streams.

Our R&D team are working within the digital rights management (DRM) ecosystem to develop solutions that will combat piracy.

Our current research project is set to create a new encoding and decoding system that will enable Intrasonics robust watermarks to use A/B encoding to deliver fast and efficient identification

For more information, you can read our post about the different types of technology tackling piracy of audio and video streams.


If you are concerned about the latency issues, inaccurate audio syncing or general lag your live streaming signals have been experiencing or are planning to start streaming and want to avoid it from the get-go, contact Intrasonics today.

As well as providing unique audio watermarks for your live streams and broadcasts that will ensure they are yours, one of the most significant benefits of using our solution is to eliminate many of the problems associated with streaming using our streaming hardware encoder.

Please speak to the Intrasonics team today for more information and a full, free demo of our capabilities.

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