Distributed Media Synchronisation for Shared Video Watching: Issues, Challenges and Examples

  • Fernando Boronat
  • Rufael Mekuria
  • Mario Montagud
  • Pablo Cesar
Part of the Computer Communications and Networks book series (CCN)


Current societal changes are transforming the way people retrieve, annotate and share media. While in the past users gathered together around media content, this has become an exception rather than the norm. As demonstrated by the popularity of social networking and personal communication tools, people expect the development of novel technologies that: help them connect with others (e.g. by tagging images of a friend from high school). One key challenge in this respect is to support synchronous communication between people separated in space. This chapter focuses exactly on that technologies and infrastructures for supporting social interactions between people while apart. In particular, it discusses the synchronisation aspects of distributed media consumption (TV, YouTube videos, games, photo albums). As part of the quality of experience (QoE), synchronisation is a key requirement for ensuring consistency of the media experience across locations. Starting with an overview of the research problem, the contribution of this chapter is to detail current and envisioned architectures for achieving what is commonly known as Inter-Destination Media Synchronization (IDMS), a topic drawing the attention of academy and industry alike.


Control Message Adjustment Technique Traffic Overhead Digital Terrestrial Multimedia Broadcast Playout Rate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Acronyms and Abbreviations


Third Generation Partnership Project or 3GPP file format


Amplitude modulation


Adaptive media playout


Advanced Television System Committee


Audio/Video Transport Core Maintenance working group


British Broadcasting Corporation


Cable modem termination system


Cathode ray tube


Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP


Degradation category rating


Distributed control scheme


Digital Multimedia Broadcasting


(ATSC) Direct to Home (Satellite)


Digital subscriber line access multiplexer


Digital Terrestrial Multimedia Broadcast


Digital Video Broadcasting


European Telecommunications Standards Institute


Frequency modulation


Global Positioning System


High definition


HyperText Markup Language


Hypertext Transfer Protocol


Inter-Destination Media Synchronization


Internet Engineering Task Force


Internet Protocol Television


Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting


Internet service provider


International Telecommunication Union




Media Presentation Description


Media data unit


Microsoft Media Server HTTP streaming


Mean opinion score (MOS)


Moving Picture Experts Group


Media Synchronization Application Server


Nederlandse Omroep Stichting


Network Time Protocol


Peer to peer


Quality of experience


Quality of service


Request for Comments


(RTCP) receiver report


Real-Time Transmission Control Protocol


Real-Time Messaging Protocol


Real-Time Transmission Protocol


Real-Time Streaming Protocol


Standard definition


(RTCP) source description report


Synchronisation maestro scheme


Synchronization Packet Sender Type


(RTCP) sender report




Telecommunications and Internet converged Services and Protocols for Advanced Networking




(RTCP) Extended Report


Video on Demand


Voice over IP


Working group


Extensible Markup Language



UPV: This work has been financed, partially, by Universitat Politècnica de Valencia (UPV), under its R&D support programme in PAID-05-11-002-331 Project and in PAID-01-10.

CWI: The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under grant agreement no. ICT-2011-7-287723 (Reverie project). The authors would like to thank the fruitful collaboration with David Geerts (K.U. Leuven) and with Ishan Vaishnavi (CWI & Huawei).

UPV and CWI: The authors would like to thank the following people working at TNO: Hans Stokking, Ray van Brandenburg and M. Oskar van Deventer.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernando Boronat
    • 1
  • Rufael Mekuria
    • 2
  • Mario Montagud
    • 1
  • Pablo Cesar
    • 2
  1. 1.Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV)Grao de GandiaSpain
  2. 2.Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI)AmsterdamThe Netherlands

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