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 Changing RTMP to HLS: Benefits and How-To
March 12, 2023

Changing RTMP to HLS: Benefits and How-To

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Final 12 months marked the long-awaited dying of Adobe Flash, and with that got here the phase-out of the Actual-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) for video playback. Whereas RTMP remains to be a dependable mechanism for transporting video between encoders and servers, the identical can’t be mentioned for supply to finish customers. Fewer units and browsers help this protocol than ever earlier than. And in Adobe’s personal phrases, broadcasters are inspired “emigrate any current Flash content material to… new open codecs.”

It additionally so occurs that Apple’s HTTP Stay Streaming (HLS) protocol leads the way in which for last-mile supply. It’s essentially the most extensively supported streaming protocol on the market, can shortly scale to succeed in audiences of any dimension, and ensures high-quality viewing with adaptive bitrate streaming. For these causes, nearly all of reside video streaming workflows contain compressing reside streams with an RTMP encoder after which changing the RTMP stream to HLS as soon as it reaches the media server.



Known as transmuxing, this conversion course of is crucial when streaming to quite a lot of units. It permits content material distributors to ship video streams utilizing varied protocols with out having to govern the precise file. Consider transmuxing like changing a phrase doc right into a pdf and vice versa. A streaming server software program or cloud streaming service will be employed to perform this and extra.

On this weblog, we’ll check out what RTMP and HLS are, the advantages of architecting a workflow that makes use of each protocols, and steps for changing RTMP to HLS with both Wowza Streaming Engine or Wowza Streaming Cloud.



What Is RTMP?

The RTMP specification is a streaming protocol initially designed to transmit audio, video, and different information between a devoted streaming server and the Adobe Flash Participant. RTMP maintains a continuing connection between the participant shopper and server, permitting it to behave as a pipe and quickly transfer video information by means of to the viewer.

As a result of RTMP sits on high of the Transmission Management Protocol (TCP), it makes use of a three-way handshake when transporting information. The initiator (shopper) asks the accepter (server) to begin a connection; the accepter responds; then, the initiator acknowledges the response and maintains a session between both finish. Because of this, RTMP is kind of dependable.

Flash Participant and RTMP have been the dominant supply mechanisms for reside streaming up till the early 2010s. When used collectively, these applied sciences help lightning-fast video supply with round 5 seconds of latency. However HTML5 video streaming, open requirements, and adaptive bitrate supply ultimately edged RTMP streaming out when it got here to last-mile supply.


What Is HLS?

HLS is an adaptive HTTP-based protocol used for transporting video and audio information from media servers to viewers’ screens. It additionally occurs to be the commonest streaming protocol for supply. The recognition of HLS over its options will be chalked as much as playback compatibility and high quality of expertise. All Mac, Android, Microsoft, and Linux units can play streams delivered utilizing HLS.

Video streams delivered by way of HLS are damaged up into segments of knowledge (additionally known as chunks or packets) on the media server somewhat than being delivered as a steady circulation of data. Segmented supply permits the participant to shift between completely different renditions relying on accessible sources. Referred to as adaptive bitrate streaming, this permits broadcasters to ship high-quality streams to customers with excellent bandwidth and processing energy, whereas additionally accommodating these missing within the velocity and energy departments.



Benefits of Changing RTMP to HLS

A unique protocol is usually used for ingest and supply to hurry up the journey from the digicam display to the end-user machine — whereas additionally optimizing the viewing expertise. That’s why content material distributors use a media server software program or service to transform the reside feed from one protocol to a different.

RTMP is nice for environment friendly video contribution, but it surely now not is smart on the publishing finish of a workflow. Conversely, we’d extremely suggest HLS for last-mile supply, but it surely isn’t perfect as an ingest format.

Utilizing a mix of RTMP and HLS helps maximize compatibility with out pushing latency too excessive. This structure additionally permits broadcasters to make use of well-supported protocols on both finish of the reside video supply chain. Nearly all software program and {hardware} encoders help RTMP, and the identical will be mentioned for HLS on the playback facet.


Why Do You Want a Stay Streaming Server Resolution?

As a result of right now’s HTML5 gamers require HTTP-based protocols like HLS, a media server or streaming service can be utilized to ingest an RTMP stream and transcode it right into a extra playback-friendly various. Whether or not the RTMP stream is coming from an IP digicam, cell app, or broadcast-grade encoder, Wowza’s reside streaming platform makes the conversion and supply course of seamless.

Robert Gibb at StackPath writes:

“A media server is an absolute necessity if you wish to leverage RTMP for reside streaming. Wowza Streaming Engine, for instance, is a extensively used streaming software program for reside and on-demand video that may be put in on any server.”


How you can Convert RTMP to HLS

  1. Set Up an RTMP Supply: To ship an RTMP stream throughout the web, you’ll want to begin with an RTMP-compatible digicam or encoder. Chances are you’ll be utilizing an IP digicam, software program encoder, or {hardware} encoder. We suggest the free OBS software program.
  2. Select a Stay Streaming Resolution for Conversion: When you’ve chosen the supply encoder on your RTMP stream, you’ll need to choose a software program or service for video transcoding and supply. We provide the Wowza Streaming Cloud service as an out-of-box resolution or the Wowza Streaming Engine software program for anybody requiring extra customization.
  3. Configure the Stay Streaming Server: Under, we’ve included two easy tutorials for changing RTMP to HLS. These tutorials present the step-by-step course of when utilizing OBS Studio as your encoding software program, however different encoding options may also be employed.


Convert RTMP to HLS With Wowza Streaming Engine


To view this video please allow JavaScript, and contemplate upgrading to a
net browser that
helps HTML5 video


Convert RTMP to HLS With Wowza Streaming Cloud


To view this video please allow JavaScript, and contemplate upgrading to a
net browser that
helps HTML5 video


Causes to Take into account Different Protocols

Wowza helps loads of different reside streaming protocols, which means that it’s in the end as much as you to pick the very best ones on your use case. We’d recommend asking the next questions earlier than taking the usual RTMP-to-HLS route.


Do you require easy, browser-based publishing?

When simplicity is the secret, and also you’re hoping to skip utilizing an encoder altogether, WebRTC is a greater possibility than RTMP for ingest. The protocol means that you can begin streaming in seconds with Wowza Streaming Cloud. Learn the way in this video tutorial.


Do it is advisable transport broadcast-quality content material throughout the general public web?

As an open-source various to RTMP, Safe Dependable Transport (SRT) was designed to deal with distant video contribution challenges. The cutting-edge know-how additionally achieves that elusive mixture of top of the range and low latency that each reside producer appears to be chasing.


Is real-time interactivity required on your use case?

For those who want true interactivity — we’re speaking sub-one-second video supply for eventualities like emergency response and distant monitoring — then utilizing WebRTC finish to finish is the one strategy to go. It’s the quickest know-how of the bunch and likewise can be utilized for ingest and supply. Low-Latency HLS and low-latency CMAF for DASH are additionally good low-latency choices, however full-blown implementations of those rising applied sciences haven’t but been deployed.


Begin With Wowza

It doesn’t matter what kind of streaming structure you’re attempting to construct, Wowza makes it occur. Our full-service platform can energy any workflow with reliability in addition.

Extra Sources:

  • [Docs] Join an RTMP Encoder to Wowza Streaming Engine
  • [Docs] Join an RTMP Encoder to Wowza Streaming Cloud


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About Traci Ruether

As a Colorado-based B2B tech author, Traci Ruether serves as Wowza’s content material advertising supervisor. Her background is in streaming and community infrastructure. Other than writing, Traci enjoys cooking, gardening, and spending high quality time along with her kith and kin. Observe her… View extra

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