The first step is to email us at email@example.com to ask for live streaming to be enabled for your Vidbeo video hosting account (this is an additional feature and so may cost extra).
Once live streaming is enabled, next you will need to decide if you would like to show a frame within the player before the viewer clicks play.
Unlike with a video (where the system can automatically extract a frame), your live stream has not happened yet and so we are unable to automatically extract a frame from it. You might be happy with just a black background to represent the live stream - if so, please skip the next paragraph - however it is likely you will want to show some kind of image to illustrate your event (even if just your logo).
If you would like to show an image, that image will need to be uploaded to your account’s content library (within ‘Images’) so that you are able to select it when you schedule your stream. If you have not added an image before, you might like to read our guide How do I add an image? and, as always, please do contact us if you have questions.
At this point we will assume that live streaming has been enabled for your account, and if you want to show an image in the player, that image is now in your library.
So now within the ‘Content’ section, click on ‘Streams’ and then on ‘Start a live stream’. You should see this form appear:
You will need to provide a title for your live stream, optionally enter a description, choose a player for the stream to be presented in and also any restriction that should be imposed on who can access the embedded player.
You are then asked to choose an image to represent the live stream. This is the frame mentioned above: the image that appears before somebody clicks play.
You are also asked to enter the event’s start time and end time. These are just for reference: you can of course start or end your stream earlier or later. However please be aware that if your account has only one ingest URL, make sure your colleagues are not also live streaming within the same account at the same time.
Click the ‘Create stream’ button to proceed.
On the following page you will be shown the stream’s unique name, which we call its ingest key. You now have the two key bits of information your live streaming application needs: the ingest URL (which will start with rtmp:// and which you were provided with when requesting live streaming be enabled), and this value presented here, the ingest key. Some applications, such as Adobe’s Flash Media Live Encoder, refer to this as the stream name.
If you are streaming from a desktop, one of the most popular applications is Adobe’s Flash Media Live Encoder. It is free.
Assuming you are using FMLE, the left-hand side of the window deals with the live stream’s video and audio settings. These control the amount of data sent to us from your camera. You will need to experiment with these settings to balance a smooth stream vs a high quality stream. The bit-rate governs the quality but you may find your internet connection is simply not fast enough to stream smoothly. Try 800 Kbps to start with.
If you have any questions, please do email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The right-hand side of the window is where you need to provide the details of where you are live streaming to: this is the Vidbeo ingest server. We provided you with the details you need to enter here a moment ago when you scheduled your stream (the stream’s URL and the stream’s key).
You may also like to record your own local copy of your live stream for later uploading to the platform for any viewers who missed the event but may will want to watch it. If so, simply tick the box and provide a file name on your computer. We will skip that step here.
So now you should be ready to start live streaming. Click on the small ‘Connect’ button.
If you are asked for a username and/or password, enter the ones you were provided with along with the ingest URL when requesting live streaming be enabled for your account.
If you entered the correct details and everything is working, the connection should be approved. In the bottom-left corner you should see a message saying you are connected.
Note: If you are streaming from a computer behind a firewall, that firewall may block your connection. This is because streaming to our server uses a port (1935) that is designed for the streaming protocol (rtmp) and this is sometimes blocked by default. You may therefore need to contact your IT department and ask them to let you connect on port 1935 - or you may be able to do it yourself if a box pops up asking you whether to allow the connection.
Having connected to the ingest server, you now need to start streaming to it. Click the green ‘Start’ button.
If all is well, you will see a new tab which shows the progress of your live stream. It will show how much data is being sent to our server - or any errors if there are any problems.
If you now leave your streaming application open, switch over to your web browser and open the Vidbeo admin panel again. Once you have this stream’s page open (Content > Streams > Stream) you should see the player. If you did not provide a poster frame image, it will be black, else your chosen image should be shown:
From our tests, we recommend waiting for 30 seconds (from when you clicked ‘Start’) before clicking play. This is because your stream first needs to be encoded, split into various formats (HLS) being divided into segments in the process. Each of those segments may be up to 10 seconds.
Try clicking play. You should be able to see the live stream from your camera.
If so, congratulations: you are now streaming live using the Vidbeo video platform.
Note: If the loading wheel does not disappear after a few seconds, it may be that you need to give the files a little more time to propagate. As mentioned at the start, the stream is divided up into small fragments and these can take up to 60 seconds to distribute. Please wait a minute, then click on play again. By now the stream should have updated and you should see the output from your camera. If it does not, try holding down the Ctrl button and then pressing F5 once. Let go of both keys and the screen should have reloaded - that should request a new copy of the stream.
At this point you can simply watch your own event, however you want to let other people watch your live stream. You have two options. On that stream’s page you should see two boxes on the right-hand side: the share URL, and the embed code.
If you simply want to email a link to someone to let them watch your live stream, you can send that ‘Share’ URL. That Vidbeo player URL - when opened in a web browser - shows the player on a blank page.
Or, if you have your own web site, you can embed the video player on that, so that people are able to watch your stream on your site. To do so, simply copy the code in the ‘Embed’ panel and paste it into the relevant section of your site.
Now, when anyone visits that page, they can click play and watch your live stream.
Audio If you are streaming audio - and are also previewing your stream in a player within range of the microphone - please make sure to turn the volume down/off in that player. Else you will quickly get feedback, as the audio circulates and amplifies.
Delay The HLS protocol divides each stream into small fragments (often 10 seconds). This means that when you watch your stream, there will always be a small time delay, known as latency, between the event happening and it then appearing within the player.
If you experience any other problems, or have any questions about live streaming in general or our video CMS, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.