HLS Livestreaming Standard
HTTP Live Streaming, also known as HLS, is the latest innovation in live video streaming. With an adaptive bit rate and a constant stream, it’s ready for whatever bandwidth your viewers have. HLS is a live streaming protocol used by Apple for its iOS devices and software. It is based on the HTTP protocol and uses m3u8 playlists to segment video files into small chunks. These chunks are then downloaded and played back in order, giving the appearance of a continuous stream.
HLS is a new type of streaming technology that is exclusively compatible with Apple devices. It can be used for both live and on-demand content and has become increasingly important as more and more publishers look to target segments like Apple users. While HLS is most commonly associated with Apple devices, it is an open standard that can be used by any device or player that supports it. This makes it an attractive option for businesses that want to reach a wide audience with their live content.
HLS is supported in streaming servers from brands like Adobe, Microsoft, and RealNetworks plus transmuting functions found in distribution platforms like Akamai. This popularity has led to increased support on the player side, most notably from Google in Android 3.0. If a video on your iOS app is more than one minute long, it needs to be delivered using HTTP Live Streaming. HLS supports two types of streams: one high-quality and at least one low-bandwidth. If you’re publishing videos for iOS devices, it’s important that you understand how HLS works.
CDNs are often used to deliver HLS streams, as they can provide the necessary bandwidth and reliability. Additionally, many CDNs offer features that can help improve the quality of services, such as adaptive bitrate streaming and instant failover.
How HLS Livestreaming Works
At a high level, HLS works similarly to all adaptive streaming technologies. You create multiple files for distribution to the player, which can then change streams in real-time to optimize the playback experience. Since it is HTTP-based technology, no streaming server is needed at all. All the switching logic resides on the player, so no matter what your needs are, we have an HLS solution for you.
If you’re looking to distribute your video content, you’ll need to encode it into multiple file formats—one per data rate. These will be divided up into short chunks and wrapped with a text-based manifest. The owner of the HLS server will then generate a .M3U8 file and upload this text-based manifest with the video chunks along with a list of the files corresponding to that chunk.
Figure 1. HLS uses multiple .ts files that serve as index files to guide the player to the desired streams and audio/video data chunks.
A player monitors changing bandwidth conditions to protect your video stream from dropping in quality. If the player detects this and a switch is necessary, it will look for the original video stream in the original manifest file and then the stream-specific manifest file, to get where to stream next. The process happens seamlessly for viewers.
HLS File Preparation
HLS currently supports H.264 video using the Baseline profile up to Level 3.0 for iPhone and iPod Touch clients, and the Main profile Level 3.1 for the iPad 1 and 2. Audio can be HE-AAC or AAC-LC at 48kHz, stereo. The individual manifest files detail which profile was used during encoding so that players will only select compatible streams and retrieve them when possible. This is useful because it allows producers to create a single set of HLS files that will serve iPhone/iPod touch devices with Baseline streams as well as iPads with streams encoded using the Main profile.
To encode your video, follow these steps:
- Audio and video streams are encoded using the H.264 video codec and AAC audio codec.
- All files must be segmented into chunks in a MPEG-2 transport stream (.ts extension).
- Upload all .ts chunk files to an HTTP server for deployment (live scenarios update .M3U8 manifest files with the locations of alternative streams and file chunks).
After reading through the recommended encoding settings mentioned in Apple’s Tech Note, you’ll know what to do. You should also take a look at the guide from Adaptive Streaming in the Field; it includes helpful information from publishers who use HLS. HLS will keep your content secure even in high-bandwidth environments. Closed captions are available when you stream high-bandwidth live or on-demand content.
HLS doesn’t natively support Digital Rights Management, though you can encrypt the data and provide key access using HTTPS authentication. There are several third-party DRM solutions becoming available, such as AuthenTec, SecureMedia, and WideVine. HLS is able to accommodate caption data when included in MPEG-2 transport streams.
Deploying HLS Streams
We can provide you very own HLS Livestreaming server with analytics. HTTP delivery has many advantages. No streaming server is required, and viewers should get better video quality from caches located on the premises of internet service providers, cell phone companies, and other organizations. HTTP content should also get through most firewalls without any trouble.
Apple recommends using the HTML5 video tag for deploying HLS on your website.
Starting with version 2, the HTTP Live Streaming protocol is supported on all Apple TV devices. On computers and iPad devices all major browsers can play an HLS stream out of the gate without any modifications. The Safari browser can also play HLS streams within a web page and Safari is launching a full-screen media player on iPhones and iPod touch devices. Starting with version 2, all Apple TV devices include an HTTP Live Streaming client.
As we discussed, the HLS experience is comprised of two elements: a set of .ts files (the chunked video and accompanying audio) and the manifest files. For an on-demand environment, these files can be encoded with any standalone H.264 encoding tool, like Sorenson Squeeze which now offers a multiple-file HLS encoding template. Newer Episode versions even include command line HLS encoding. Most of the cloud encoding services also support HLS-compatible output options.
If you have the encoded streams, Apple has several tools you can use to create chunked files and playlists. Here are the ones available for download:
Media Stream Segmenter is an application that inputs a MPEG-2 transport stream and generates chunked files. It can also encrypt the media with encryption keys.
Media File Segmenter splits H.264 files into chunks and will create index files according to the parameters you set. This can also encrypt the media using a password and encryption key you provide.
Variant Playlist Creator – Downloads and assembles separate .MP4 or .M4A index files created by the Media Stream or Media File Segmenter into a master .M3U8 file that contains all the alternate streams.
Metadata Tag Generator – Creates ID3 metadata that can either be appended to the file on upload or inserted into outgoing stream segments.
Media Stream Validator will examine your index files, stream alternates, and chunked ts files to make sure that you’re HLS and DASH formats are compatible.
When Apple first announced HLS in 2009, there were only two live encoders available. Inlet, which is now Cisco, produced the Cisco IOS HEVC Live Encoder and Envivio offered the Geneva LIVE encoder. However, most vendors of encoding hardware now offer live HLS-compatible products. Digital Rapids produces the VPX, Elemental Technologies uses Blackmagic Design’s HyperDeck Extreme 2 Thunderbolt 3 card to produce an ONVIF NDI ingestor that creates MPEG-2 transport streams from D5199 deck output or D5197 DeckLink card input for streaming on Facebook or YouTube 4K servers; Haivision use a number of products including StormHD2N PaaS and Royali for online delivery of video content for multiple services; Seawell Networks offers many products such as HuyaTV and Yizhibo through their Vicson TV division; and ViewCast have IPG 2020 and Viewcast QC 2020.
The default approach to live or on-demand streaming is by rewrapping the H.264-stream into a MPEG-2 transport stream and then adding a manifest file. If a file is compatible with Adobe Flash or Silverlight this process makes it HLS compatible.
There are a couple of different ways to use SEO. Server-based implementations include:
Adobe Flash Media Server 4.5
Wowza Media Server
Microsoft IIS Media Services – Microsoft IIS Media Services offers the power to scale and deliver media on-premise and in the cloud. Microsoft’s Transform Manager can take input streams in the format of Silverlight and produce output that is compatible with HLS.
RealNetworks Helix Universal Server – If you want to give your business a competitive edge and take advantage of the changing media landscape, then our Universal Server is an excellent choice. With robust features like content curation, push-to-native publishing, and broadcast automation, you’ll never need to upgrade again.
Akamai also offers HLS packaging for content that is already H.264-encrypted.
Livestreaming Encoding Tools
to consider when you are ready to Livestream: There’s; Adobe Flash Live Media Encoder, Haivision, Microsoft Expression Encoder Pro, or Telestream Wirecast. to serve as a front end. Multiple-platform adaptive distribution can be used by HLS and other providers of adaptive streaming technologies.
The different online video platforms have started to support HLS distribution, which is not surprising given the level of technical support they offer. Examples include Brightcove, Kaltura, and Ooyala.
The iOS platform is a valuable target for a number of streaming publishers, and HLS delivers the best possible experience to it and to other services that support HLS playback. Fortunately, the streaming industry has embraced HLS with tools and technologies that make it easy for even the simplest of publishers.
Apple has created multiple documents that comprehensively address the creation and deployment of HLS files. The HTTP Live Streaming master page with links to all these resources can be accessed here.
RealNetworks – Delivering content to Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad with RealNetworks Helix Solutions (whitepaper)
What is H.264/MPEG-4 AVC Codec
The H.264/MPEG-4 AVC codec is a video compression standard that is used in several applications, including Blu-ray discs, streaming video services like Netflix, and live video broadcasting. The codec is designed to achieve high video quality at low bitrates, making it an efficient choice for both HD and SD content.
High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), / H.265 and MPEG-H Part 2
The MPEG HEVC standard, also known as H.265, is a high-efficiency video coding standard that offers a significant improvement over previous generations of video coding standards such as H.264/MPEG-4 AVC and H.263. HEVC can achieve better compression than its predecessors while maintaining the same level of visual quality, making it an ideal solution for applications such as HD and Ultra-HDTV, Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), and video streaming services.
HEVC was developed by the Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC), a partnership between the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). The standard was finalized in 2013 and has been adopted by many countries and organizations worldwide.
There are two main types of HEVC encoders: Main profile (MP) and High-Efficiency Video Coding Extended profile (HEVC EP). MP is targeted at applications with low bitrate requirements such as internet streaming, while HEVC EP is geared towards applications that require high compression ratios such as Ultra HDTV.
HEVC provides several benefits over previous generations of video coding standards, including:
- Improved compression efficiency, leading to smaller file sizes or higher-quality video at the same bitrate
- Increased resilience to packet loss and errors, making it ideal for streaming applications
- Flexible support for a wide range of resolutions from QCIF (176×144) all the way
What is DASH-IF
DASH-IF is the industry body for developing and promoting standards for the use of the ISO base media file format, MPEG-DASH, for adaptive bitrate streaming over the internet. DASH-IF provides resources, guidelines, and specifications to assist with developing and implementing MPEG-DASH solutions that enable interoperability between various platforms, devices, and content delivery networks.
- The DASH-IF Player Protocol is used to play ads on ATSC 3.0-compliant devices. The protocol defines how to deliver the ad content, how to track the ad delivery, and how to report the results of the ad delivery.
- The DASH-IF Player Protocol is based on the MPEG-DASH standard and uses the ISOBMFF format for the ad content. The protocol defines a set of extensions to MPEG-DASH that are needed to support ad insertion.
- The DASH-IF Player Protocol is designed to work with any ATSC 3.0 receiver or gateway that supports MPEG-DASH and has a DASH client built in. The protocol does not require any special hardware or software on the receiver or gateway.
- The DASH-IF Player Protocol defines two types of ads: linear ads and non-linear ads. Linear ads are played in real-time along with the content being watched. Non-linear ads are played in a separate window that can be opened and closed by the viewer.
- The DASH-IF Player Protocol supports multiplexing of audio and video streams. This allows an advertiser to insert different audio tracks into the main content stream, or to insert video advertisements into an audio-only stream.
- The DASH-IF Player Protocol supports dynamic ad insertion, which allows advertisers to target their ads to specific viewers based on demographics, location, or other factors. Dynamic ad insertion is done by replacing
DASH IF Player ATSC 3.0 Intergration
The DASH IF Player ATSC 3.0 Integration allows for the distribution of live and on-demand content over the internet using the ATSC 3.0 standard. This standard is designed to provide a high-quality, robust, and scalable solution for content delivery.
DASH IF Player ATSC 3.0 Advertisements
DASH-IF Player Protocol is the newest standard for streaming media and it promises to revolutionize how we consume content. The DASH-IF Player is an important part of this new standard and it enables broadcasters to deliver advertisements in a more interactive and engaging way.
The DASH-IF Player supports the placement of interactive video advertisements within live or on-demand content. The user can control these ads and they offer a more immersive and engaging experience than traditional linear commercials.
The DASH-IF Player also supports other features that make it ideal for delivering ads, such as:
Precision Scheduling: Ads can be targeted to specific viewers based on demographics, interests, or even viewing habits.
Ads can be targeted to specific viewers based on demographics, interests, or even viewing habits. Dynamic Ad Insertion: Ads can be inserted into live or on-demand content in real-time, based on user interactions or other triggers.
Ads can be inserted into live or on-demand content in real-time, based on user interactions or other triggers. Personalized Ads: Ads can be personalized for each viewer, based on data collected about them.
Ads can be personalized for each viewer, based on data collected about them. Interactive Ads: Ads can include interactive elements that allow viewers to interact with them in new ways. With the DASH-IF Player, advertisers have a powerful new tool at their disposal!
DASH-IF Player Protocol
The DASH-IF Player Protocol is a new standard for digital media players that enables a high degree of interoperability between player applications and content. The standard was developed by the Digital Audio-Video Coding working group of the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and is based on the ISO Base Media File Format. The DASH-IF Player Protocol is designed to provide a high degree of flexibility for player developers, content providers, and service operators. It supports a wide range of use cases, including live and on-demand streaming, download, and offline playback. The player protocol is an open standard, and it is available free of charge.
DASH-IF Player Protocol is a set of rules that enable consistent and interoperable delivery of multimedia content over the Internet using the DASH format. It defines requirements for player software, including but not limited to: support for multiple profiles and levels, support for various codecs and container formats, handling of live streams, support for Trick Modes, etc. The goal of the DASH-IF Player Protocol is to provide a high-quality streaming experience to users while minimizing implementation costs for content providers and player developers.
DASH-IF Player Design
The DASH-IF Player Design Guidelines are intended to improve the user experience and interoperability of DASH clients. They were created by the DASH Industry Forum in collaboration with industry experts.
The Guidelines cover three main areas:
- User Experience: The Guidelines recommend best practices for designing a user interface that is easy to use and provides a consistent experience across different devices.
- Interoperability: The Guidelines recommend best practices for ensuring that DASH clients can interoperate with each other and with servers that support the DASH protocol.
- Security: The Guidelines recommend best practices for ensuring that DASH clients are secure against attacks such as man-in-the-middle attacks.
The Latest Portable Broadcast Production Systems
In the past few years, there has been a shift in the way that broadcasters are producing their content. Portable broadcast production systems have become increasingly popular, as they offer several advantages over traditional production methods.
Portable broadcast production systems are less expensive to set up and operate than traditional production methods. They also offer several other benefits, such as the ability to produce content in a variety of formats, including HD and 4K. Additionally, portable broadcast production systems offer broadcasters the flexibility to produce content anywhere, anytime.
There are several different portable broadcast production systems on the market today. Some of the most popular systems include Livestream Studio, Wirecast, and VMix, each system carries its own unique set of features and capabilities.
No matter which portable broadcast production system you choose, you’ll be able to produce high-quality content that your audience will love. So why wait? Get started today!
CDNs (Content Delivery Networks)
- CDNs (Content Delivery Networks)
A content delivery network or content distribution network (CDN) is a large distributed system of servers deployed in multiple data centers across the Internet. Content providers such as e-commerce sites, news sites, and video streaming sites use CDNs to deliver content to their users faster and more reliably.
A typical CDN architecture has three components:
Origin servers: where content is stored or generated. In many cases, origin servers are also the authoritative DNS servers for a domain.
Cache servers store frequently accessed content closer to the edges of the network, nearer to end users. Edge locations typically have high bandwidth connections to the rest of the Internet.
Proxy servers: these act as an intermediary between end users and cache/origin servers. Proxy servers receive requests from end users, forward them to cache/origin servers, and return responses to end users.
Not all CDNs follow this three-tiered model; some only have two tiers (origin and edge), while others may have four or more tiers (e.g., adding regional caches between edge and origin). The number of tiers can vary depending on the provider’s architecture and business model.
Broadcasting Through Wi-Fi Edge Networks
Broadcasting through Wi-Fi edge networks is a process of distributing digital television content over the internet to viewers. This can be done through several methods, including IPTV, live streaming, and content delivery networks.
IPTV uses a set-top box to receive and decode digital television signals that are then streamed over the internet to viewers. This allows for a high-quality and consistent viewing experience but requires a robust and reliable internet connection.
Live streaming broadcasts digital television signals in real-time over the internet, allowing viewers to watch as the content is being broadcasted. This method does not require a strong or reliable internet connection but can result in lower quality and more buffering issues.
Content delivery networks (CDNs) store and deliver digital television content over the internet from a central location. This allows for quick and easy distribution of content to viewers but can be more expensive than other methods.
The Best Smart Phones for Livestreaming in 4K and 8K
When it comes to living streaming, one of the most important factors is the quality of your video. If you’re looking to stream in 4K or 8K, you’ll need a phone that can handle those high resolutions. Here are a few of the best smartphones for live streaming in 4K and 8K.
OnePlus 7 Pro: The OnePlus 7 Pro is a great option for those looking to Livestream in 4K or 8K. It has a Snapdragon 855 processor and a 48-megapixel camera that can record in 4K at 60fps.
Samsung Galaxy S10+: The Samsung Galaxy S10+ is another great option for streaming in 4K or 8K. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and an impressive Quad HD+ display.
Google Pixel 3 XL: The Google Pixel 3 XL is a great choice for those looking to Livestream in 4k or 8k. It has a Snapdragon 845 processor and an impressive 12-megapixel camera that can record in 4k at 30fps.
Apple iPhone XS Max: The Apple iPhone XS Max is also a great choice for those wanting to Livestream in 4k or 8k. It has an A12 Bionic chip and a dual 12-megapixel camera system that can shoot in 4k at 60fps.