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My friends and I would like to play Jackbox Party Pack online. The only way to do this is to have one person host the game, and stream the video to the other players.

The problem is that Steam Broadcast and Twitch both have a 15-20 second stream latency, which is way too high to play the game together.

Is there some way to stream the game online without such a high latency?

6
  • I don't know about Steam's broadcasting solution, but you could try using Twitch and see if it is better that way. Twitch usually has about 5-10 seconds of delay even for non-partnered streamers.
    – GiantTree
    Jan 24 '16 at 8:54
  • 2
    Twitch had a feature that would try to reduce the lag time, but it still wasn't enough to make a difference in our tests.
    – user973
    Jan 29 '16 at 17:49
  • raspberry pi ftw
    – Aequitas
    Feb 2 '16 at 3:09
  • @Aequitas: I have a raspberry pi. How does that help? Feb 2 '16 at 3:49
  • I've read that you can use it to set up very fast streaming, I can't find it right now I'll look for it later, but I did find this guy who did something similar, and got 700ms.
    – Aequitas
    Feb 2 '16 at 4:15
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+125

Unless you're planning on allowing people other than your group of friends to watch the game, any group video chat or screen sharing software would be perfect for your needs.

Google Hangouts have incredibly low latency (< 1 second in my experience) and allow you to share your screen with others in the chat. Google Hangouts are also free if you already have a Google account. I've personally used Google Hangouts for this purpose, and many other times I've had to share my screen / look at someone else's screen. While there are some quirks if you also speak through the Hangout, this shouldn't be a problem for you if you're using Teamspeak.

As another option, join.me is a screen-sharing alternative that is free, lightweight, and easy to configure.

1
  • +1; probably better than my suggestion if that's all you need out of it. Jan 29 '16 at 22:36
3

Updated for 2020:

Now that Mixer is gone, the best option by far has been Discord. It has even lower latency than Mixer did, and it automatically works with Discord voice chat, so you don't need to do any complicated setup to avoid people hearing themselves on the stream!

2

Just for 2021 and onwards a new view on this topic:

While Twitch and Youtube (and Steam Broadcast) still focus on massive amount of viewers (obviously), latency still takes a hit with that services. Apparently there are ultra-low-latency modes in Youtube and Twitch (look up this link) and they are "fine" but it's still meant for streaming for a big crowd, so it's still not the best way do play Jackbox Games.

Discord supports screen sharing in private calls and in voice chats on servers. These are still limited to few people (compared to Youtube and Twitch) but enough for any Jackbox Games round. As they are so relatively limited in terms of viewer count, it allows the stream to have way less latency. This is probably the easiest and best way for anyone to play Jackbox Games over the internet.

In contrast to Steam Broadcast, the 2019 released service Steam Remote Play streams not only the screen from the host to the viewers but also button inputs from the viewers to the host, as it is designed for any local coop game to work over the internet. The input transfer is not important for Jackbox directly as the interaction from the viewers works over jackbox.tv anyway, this fact does show that this service is completely focused on ultra-low latency screen sharing because that's what's needed for playing local coop games online, even more than for Jackbox Games. This puts Steam Remote Play maybe on an even better spot than Discord in this field. Nowadays it can even be shared through only a single link, meaning not even a Steam installation (and afaik not even a Steam account) is needed at the viewers/clients end.

Google Hangout apparently also has very low latency but I haven't tried that yet.

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  • Steam Remote Play only supports 4 players, and even on a good connection it's not great with 4. Sep 9 at 8:51
1

For what it's worth, my personal experience was that Hitbox has far less stream delay than Twitch, which was why I preferred it over the more popular site. Something closer to 5-7 seconds was the norm, from what I recall. I haven't personally tried Steam Broadcasting in any significant amount, so I'm not sure how it compares.

(Just in case, disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any streaming service, other than using Hitbox on the rare occasions that I stream.)

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  • 5-7 seconds is still pretty high. If my friends and I can stream high-quality audio over Teamspeak with <100ms latency, I don't think it's too much to ask to stream low-quality video with <3 second latency. Jan 29 '16 at 19:02
  • 1
    @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft Because video is just that much more data than audio. Jan 29 '16 at 19:05
  • It should still be possible. Netflix's lowest quality video stream is about 400kbps, and their highest quality HD stream is 8mbps. My Internet upload is 50mbps, 5x the bandwidth necessary for HD and over 100x for SD. My computer can also easily encode SD video in real-time. So, there should be no technical issue to making this happen. Jan 29 '16 at 19:11
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    @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft network speed plays a part but there's a lot more at play here. The video needs to be compressed (encoded) which depends on many things such as hardware(faster)/software encoders, variable or constant(faster) bit rates. as well as decoded after being streamed (to media server over local network and then to the viewer over the internet) to the viewer. The protocols used to stream pay a massive part and not just the badnwidth, the Apple Http based, HLS implementation adds an additional 10 seconds because it sends it in 10 second segments.
    – Aequitas
    Feb 2 '16 at 4:46
  • 1
    @Aequitas My GPU supports realtime H.264 encoding, so that would not be a problem. And HLS supports real-time streaming with alternate segment-sizes (source: am DASH developer, know a decent amount about HLS) Feb 2 '16 at 4:58

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