We have rebuilt live streaming

29th July 2016

The latest update includes many improvements. The main one being the completely rebuilt live streaming system.

The interface is now much simpler and explains the process better. To complement that we have written new articles explaining how to set up live streaming and also explaining why there is a live streaming delay.

Live streaming is an additional feature within the platform that can be enabled for your account. However there is an additional cost for it, due to the additional resources in providing the ingest servers. The profile set for your account determines the quality of stream that is output. It is possible to output both a single bitrate or multi-bitrate (the HLS and DASH formats both support adaptive streaming and so can adjust the quality based on the available connection speed). However naturally the more versions that are output - and the higher quality they are - the more data is output and so the additional cost for live streaming is higher. Finally, the data used to deliver your live stream (to viewers) is taken as part of your normal monthly allowance.

You can stream for any device or application that can output to a custom rtmp:// URL (which should be most apps, as this is the most common way to stream). On a desktop, one popular choice (since it is free) is Adobe’s Flash Media Live Encoder.

Our online video platform then takes care of transcoding, generating the output (using formats like HLS that can now even be played natively by many browsers) that can be watched both on desktop and mobile, and then delivering that output. For our enterprise users, we deliver that content using Amazon’s Cloudfront CDN. Cloudfront has many edge servers and near-infinite capacity to scale within the AWS infrastructure.

Other recent improvements to the platform include some substantial modifications to the player. Those include better error handling, with slightly friendlier messages, along with a different way of handling HLS. This is a format we make extensive use of within both VoD and live. Several browsers now support it natively (such as Microsoft’s Edge, or Apple’s Safari) however ones that don’t (like Google’s Chrome) can also play it due to their support for MSE (Media Source Extensions) which our player uses. The latest update includes support for Internet Explorer 11. Now we don’t recommend using Internet Explorer in general - indeed Microsoft have effectively replaced it with Edge - however if you are not able to use a browser like Google’s Chrome, we did want to try and support it.

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