How To Sync Radio Cricket Commentary With TV Broadcasts

How To Sync Radio Cricket Commentary With TV Broadcasts

Watching cricket on TV but prefer the intelligence of the radio commentary? Damien Walker from The Underwhelming Blog explains how you can overcome the delay in the TV broadcast and sync the two together.

Picture by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

With all due respect to the collective wisdom and endless hilarious banter of the Channel Nine commentary team, some of us would prefer to listen to the cricket on the radio while watching it with the sound down on the telly.

Thanks largely to the variations between terrestrial radio broadcasting and geostationary satellite tv broadcasting (plus, I suspect, some deliberate fiddling by Nine) these days our radio commentary arrives as much as 10 seconds ahead of the TV signal.

This makes listening to the radio while watching the cricket an all but futile exercise. Having said that, there is one very handy advantage – tune into the radio and stick an earbud in your ear without your mates noticing; when you hear Sidds or Mitch take a wicket ten seconds ahead of the tv pictures, say out loud “I bet he gets him out this ball.” After a couple of these your mates will think you are a cricket savant.

Other than that, listening to the radio commentary is just a waste of time. Unless you know how to synchronise your radio with your television.

Here’s how. (It takes five minutes of fiddling to set up but you have five days of cricket to enjoy… although we are playing Sri Lanka so maybe two and a half days.)

You’ll need a Windows computer, a radio, a stereo cable and some free software. And a geek attitude.

1. Download and install VLC Media Player from here. This is an excellent lightweight media player with many advantages over similar programmes. It’s free, secure, open source and if you’re a tiny bit geeky you probably already have a copy.

2. Plug the audio cable into your radio’s headphone socket and the audio input on your computer. Tune in the cricket.

If you can hear the radio through your computer’s speakers then skip to step 7.

3. No audio? We need to modify your audio settings. Right click on the Volume icon in your Taskbar and choose Recording devices.

4. Select your input device and click Set default (if it’s not greyed out) then click Properties.

5. On the Listen tab put a tick in the Listen to this device box.

6. Still no sound? Check the volume levels on your radio and speakers. If that doesn’t work, ask the nearest 14 year old, they’re good with this stuff.

7. Got sound? Oddly, we now need to turn it off. Right click on the Volume icon in the taskbar and choose Open volume mixer. Mute your input device so you no longer hear the radio.

8. Launch VLC and select Media > Open Capture Device…

9. Then, from the drop-down to the right of Audio device name select the input device you plugged the audio cable into on your computer. It may be called Line In or Mic or something similar.

10. Press Play. You should now be hearing the radio again. If not, review all your settings and revisit Step 6.

11. Now, with the cricket playing on the TV click on Tools > Track synchronisation and adjust the Audio track synchronisation value until the radio and the TV are in sync. Start at around 9.5 seconds and make small adjustments up or down from there.

12. Goodbye Mark Nicholas.

It’s all happening (on the radio), Tony! [The Underwhelming Blog]


  • Would have been good if it worked but all I get is horrendous feedback.
    I’ll stick with Grandstand coverage and only look up when something exciting/controversial happens!

    • @jazz if all your getting is feedback your doing it wrong, try to follow the instructions. Just because you cant do it does not mean its broken…….

  • I set this up no problem on my desktop computer. Unfortunately that’s not near my TV.

    When I tried to set it up on my netbook (MSI wind) it worked fine up to step 7 but when I played it through VLC the sound came out all tinny and echo-y. Any suggestions?

    • If you’re getting an echo then it’s likely your microphone is on and is reapeating the audio back through your system. Make sure it’s off. If that’s not it, I know it sucks to say this, recheck all your settings.

  • Surely a much simpler lifehack would be to use digital radio? Some DAB receivers have live pausing, though in any case DAB has a built-in delay. Much easier would be any streaming radio app — if you think digital radio and TV have a bad delay, wait until you see streaming radio — and every streaming radio app has a built-in pause button (I recommend TuneIn Pro).

    Don’t blame geostationary satellite TV — indeed it is merely terrestrial broadcasting for 70% of viewers. The unavoidable culprit is digital compression, which normally needs a second or two to process, but together with a process called statmuxing (statistical multiplexing), can increase the optimal buffer time to several seconds. Don’t blame Channel Nine: it’s done in the name of improving picture quality as much as 50%.

    Analogue radio is the only undelayed broadcast medium left, as of a few weeks ago. We haven’t had any music concert simulcasts on FM radio for a decade or more now — remember those?

    • Hi, I am looking for Cricket Australia and Cricket New Zealand live real time commentary (not delay), ABC GrandStand had restricted overseas listener because of right restriction, I get it through VPN but commentary become delay 4 second then cricket stadium. If somebody can provide me the commentary of ABC GrandStand Digital I will pay for it. What i will do that i will call on telephone line or on Skype of remote provider and will listen it. it is very easy that someone in Australia or in New Zealand buy a radio set DAB of abc grandstand digital and put the telephone line, cell phone or computer near it, so i will be able to listen it. my email [email protected]

  • I’ve just been reminded by my more sports-minded friends (who don’t mind it when local or newsradio is taken over by sports broadcasts): You will need to select ABC Grandstand station instead of the normal radio. ABC replaces normal programming on analog, but not on digital.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!