Media synchronization is getting renewed attention with ecosystems of connected devices enabling novel media consumption paradigms. Social TV, hybrid TV, and companion screens are examples that are enabling people to consume multiple media streams at multiple devices together. These novel use cases require media synchronization, as unfortunately there are substantial delay differences between the various delivery routes for television and streaming media. Broadcasters have started using proprietary solutions for over-the-top media synchronization, such as media fingerprinting or media watermarking technologies. Given the commercial interest in media synchronization and the disadvantages of proprietary technologies, consumer-equipment manufacturers, broadcasters, and telecom and cable operators have started developing a new wave of international standards for media synchronization. This article provides an overview of recently published standards from the most relevant bodies: IETF, ETSI, MPEG, DVB, HbbTV, and W3C.

Additional Metadata
Stakeholder BBC, R&D
Persistent URL
Journal IEEE Communications Magazine
van Deventer, M.O, Stokking, H.M, Hammond, M. (Matt), Le Feuvre, J. (Jean), & Cesar Garcia, P.S. (2016). Standards for multi-stream and multi-device media synchronization. IEEE Communications Magazine, 54(3), 16–21. doi:10.1109/MCOM.2016.7432166