Why Apple's Live Stream Was So Bad During The IPhone 6 Launch

Apple’s live stream of its iPhone event last night was hit with a series of errors that left many viewers unable to watch the unveiling of the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch.

The first 30 minutes of the stream were the worst affected, with most users seeing a test card instead of Tim Cook introducing the new devices.

But the errors didn’t stop there. When the stream did work, the Mandarin translation was accidentally included over the top of the English audio, and the stream was often incredibly pixelated.

So why was Apple’s stream so bad? Cult of Mac is reporting that the stream failed due to the official live blog that Apple included on the same page as the streaming video.

Apple official iPhone 6 liveblogAppleThe updating liveblog that Apple included with its streaming video.

This was the first Apple event with its official live blog, and it seems that the updating page may have caused the live stream to fail. Dan Rayburn of Streaming Media explained why the errors occurred:

Apple decided to add some JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) code to the apple.com page which added an interactive element on the bottom showing tweets about the event. As a result, this was causing the page to make refresh calls every few milliseconds. By Apple making the decision to add the JSON code, it made the apple.com website un-cachable. By contrast, Apple usually has Akamai caching the page for their live events but this time around there would have been no way for Akamai to have done that, which causes a huge impact on the performance when it comes to loading the page and the stream

This chart from cloud provider Cedecix shows a sudden dip in the availability of the Akamai platform in Eastern Europe during the first section of Apple’s troubled live stream. Akamai was the company that Apple used to stream its live video during yesterday’s event.

Rayburn claims that hosting the liveblog on the same page as the streaming video caused issues with the video performance due to the page making repeated attempts to fetch new content. And as for the pixelated stream, Rayburn claims that’s down to the JavaScript elements also. However, users watching the stream using Apple TV, which didn’t include the liveblog, also experienced issues, casting some doubt on the idea that Apple’s liveblog was to blame for the frequent outages.

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