Live Streaming refers to streaming live audio/video content delivered in real-time, as it happens and requires either live coverage of an event or recorded content. During live streaming events, typically referred to as Live Webcasts, users do not have to download the entire content before they can start watching. Depending upon the customer's requirements, live streaming can be recorded at the Origin Streaming Server or on the Edge Streaming Server.
To develop a better understanding of Live Streaming, this article covers the following topics:
1. Live Streaming Basics
All video content follows the same basic process to get from camera to the viewer. Whether it is a single input source or a multi-camera HD facility for quality recordings, the steps in setting up a live stream are the same: Capture, Encode, Distribute, and View. To accomplish these steps, a minimum of four essential components are required:
3. Streaming Server
1. Camera: A digital camera is a primary tool for capturing and recording a live action. The stage does not involve any modification to the recording, but instead, it just transforms the live action into a digital format.
2. Encoder: A Live Encoder is a hardware device or software application that captures live audio/video from camera and microphone, and converts it into a format that can be streamed over the network, typically via streaming servers. Depending upon the features required, you can either use Software or a Hardware type encoder for live events.
- Software Encoders: Software encoders provide excellent quality and the ability to control codec compression/decompression and provide the required bit-rate and quality, but hardware encoders take the edge when it comes to stream latency. A slight disadvantage of the Software encoders is that they take up quite a bit of resource to encode, straining the resources used by other programs running on the server. A popular Software Encoder is the Telestream Wirecast.
- Hardware Encoders: Hardware encoders are specialized and dedicated hardware equipment to encode media into streamable content. This aspect alone gives them the advantage over software encoders. Unlike the Software encoders, continuous live events with high-quality streaming require hardware encoders because the hardware is built for that purpose.
Typically, all major encoders support pushing the live audio/video content to streaming servers via RTMP (Real Time Messaging Protocol) over port 1935, so this port needs to be open between your encoder and streaming server. Note that VIDIZMO player pulls the live stream over HTTP (Port 80) by default from the streaming server for playback, which is typically allowed and open on all public and private networks.
3. Streaming Server: Media streams transmitted over the IP network in formats that can be viewed on a wide variety of devices like computer screens, mobile phones, tablets, and set-top boxes.
Use a Content Delivery Network or CDN which has distributed data centers around the world, with replicated content that is delivered quickly to consumers. Since CDNs deliver many types of audio/video content and not just videos, they are not necessarily optimized for streaming.
4. Player: A Player is required t o connect to your audience. T o optimize the viewing experience, the content needs to be accessible on a variety of devices individual viewer may choose to view the content.
VIDIZMO media player has the capability to support live stream playback on a broad range of devices. For example, not every device can playback Flash files, or there are devices which cannot playback live streams using HTML5, but VIDIZMO player supports these formats.
To learn more about playback on VIDIZMO, click here on Understanding VIDIZMO Playback.
Whether you are using VIDIZMO on SaaS (Software As A Service) model or in your private cloud, live streaming over the internet is typically supported by a public Content Delivery Network (CDN) in order to seamlessly scale to customers' streaming demand.
VIDIZMO supports various CDNs for live streaming over the internet including:
- Azure Media Services (AMS): Azure Media Services is a Microsoft Azure Cloud offering, that provides broadcast-quality video streaming services to reach larger audiences on today’s most popular mobile devices. Media Services enhances accessibility, distribution, and scalability, and makes it easy and cost-effective to stream content to your local and worldwide audience using integrated Azure CDN. To learn more about how to use AMS with VIDIZMO for live streaming, click on How To Setup Live Streams Using Azure Media Services (AMS)
- Wowza Streaming Cloud: The Wowza Streaming Cloud live-streaming service provides the global scale, technology, flexibility, and ease of use to satisfy every live-streaming use case, from the smallest one-time events to cutting-edge streaming apps. Wowza Streaming Cloud is built and maintained by Wowza and uses Akamai CDN, a leading content delivery network (CDN) services provider for media and software delivery. To learn more about how to use AMS with VIDIZMO for live streaming, click on How to Setup Live Stream Using Wowza Streaming Cloud.
- Other Standards-Based CDN: VIDIZMO supports all CDNs that support standards-based video streaming protocols such as RTMP and HLS over HTTP, including Edgecast, Limelight, Level3, Amazon Cloudfront etc.
On a local network comprising of multi-tiered streaming servers, VIDIZMO provides its own CDN to the customers and, by incorporating a fallback methodology, ensures an uninterrupted streaming experience to customers.
To learn more about different combinations that can be used to configure VIDIZMO, click here on Using VIDIZMO ECDN With ARR, NGINX or Wowza.
How VIDIZMO ECDN Provides Fallback During Live Streaming
In order to provide an optimum Live Stream experience for a viewer, the Live Stream has to be available as soon as the viewer connects. There may be instances like system failures, such as a crash or communications failures, when the stream may not be able to fulfill this ideal user experience.
VIDIZMO ECDNs are intelligently configured to handle such situations by re-routing the viewer's request using a fallback logic that allows the Edge Node to fallback to other available Nodes in the network. This fallback methodology ensures that the stream is always available to the viewer.
To read more on how this ECDN fallback feature works, click here on Understanding VIDIZMO ECDN.
4. Live Streaming Over Internet and WAN
In addition to Live Streaming over the Internet and Live Streaming over Intranet /WAN, VIDIZMO can be configured to stream live events over both the Internet and Intranet at the same time. This allows you to incorporate content delivery over corporate WAN with cloud-based streaming, or for audiences accessing from both the internet and the local corporate network. This combination can also be used for customers who want to use the Public and Private CDN together.
Possible scenarios in which these combinations could be used are when a Standalone VIDIZMO Streaming Server or VIDIZMO ECDN is used with the following as the Origin:
- Live Streaming using Azure Media Services (AMS)
- Live Streaming using Wowza Streaming Cloud
- Live Streaming using other Standards-based CDN
Other possible combinations could be to use the above three cloud-based streaming with the scenarios mentioned in Live Streaming using Intranet /WAN:
- Standalone VIDIZMO Streaming Server or Standards-based Streaming Server
- VIDIZMO ECDN with VIDIZMO Streaming Server Edge Nodes
- VIDIZMO ECDN with HTTP Caching Proxy Edge Nodes
- VIDIZMO ECDN with Wowza Streaming Engine Edge Nodes
- VIDIZMO ECDN with Windows Media Server for Multicasting
- VIDIZMO ECDN with Standards-based Streaming Servers
In VIDIZMO live streaming webcasts can be scheduled to run on specific date and time. Live webcasts setup is very intuitive and comprises the following steps:
1. Select your Playback URL
2. Select a Publishing Point
3. Schedule Live Session by specifying the start date, end date and time.
4. The Live Webcast gets listed on your Channel homepage from where it can be selected to initiate the live stream playback according to the schedule.
To learn more about scheduling live webcasts, click on How to Schedule a Live Webcast in VIDIZMO.
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