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But does it really? I can see why a large company wants to squeeze milliseconds out of asset delivery, but as a watcher of a small independent creator I would have no problem waiting a second for the video to start playing.

Background: I run a live streaming start-up.

Latency directly impacts bandwidth, which impacts quality, since all current-gen user-facing live streaming protocols that matter (HLS, DASH) are layered on top of HTTP (on top of TCP), and that's already the best trade-off for end-user delivery today.

For VOD it's less of an issue since you can just maintain a larger buffer, but with live that's a trade-off with being closer to the live edge or choosing poorer quality. It works OK for some cases, it's bad for others (like sports, or when letters on the screen become illegible due to compression artifacts).

Building your own CDN off of el cheapo VPSs is theoretically viable, the beauty of HLS and DASH is they're 100% plain old HTTP, so just drop Varnish, add GeoDNS on route53 and off you go. Actually I'd love to have the time to try that :)

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