What Is Live Streaming And How Does It Work?
Live streaming services in India are increasing with time. By and large, it works by delivering video content to the viewers through various available streaming channels. The streaming is done in real-time, without any latency. It all has been made possible with the help of WebRTC, HLS, and RTMP. Streaming live is used for a number of purposes but at its core, it is made to help people to attend expos, events, and at last, brings an experience of being present at the event. Organizations and businesses use live streaming platforms to connect and engage with the target audience. This will connect the dots between the service provider and the targeted audience.
Some of the most popular cases of live streaming services are:
- Virtual Events
- Online Education
- Live Concert Streaming
- Sports Coverage
- Virtual Conferencing
There are endless possibilities for streaming content live. It gives us a chance to connect with those who are far from our place. There is immense technology used to make things accessible to the end-users.
The Technical Understanding Of Live Video Streaming
There was a time when sending a video file was a task in itself. Nevertheless, technological developments are here to make things possible. Modern technology with impeccable possibilities is making dreams a reality. Today, any broadcaster can make their content visible to the screen of their viewers in just seconds.
Live streaming uses a series of protocols to transfer high-quality content to the screen of the viewers.
These are little tricky terms that need to be understood in order to understand the functioning of live streaming services. Let us now understand the basic terminologies such as HTML5 video player, encoding, CDN, transcoding, and including other protocols and how they help in getting the video content streaming.
HTML5 Video Player
The HTML5 video player has come on the floor and replaced Adobe’s flash video player that made live streaming possible. The Flash player had a number of limitations such as restricted compatibility and security concerns with various devices and browsers. It is all thanks to Apple that created it to overcome the limitations.
The present HTML5 video player has made it all easy because of its compatibility with any internet-enabled device or browser. The platform is easy to customize and secure to use. The fine utility of the platform has made it the first choice for all broadcasters. All this is possible with HLC, one of the protocols used to stream the video.
Any raw video file captured by the camera is a little large and it is quite impossible to stream over the internet. But the video encoders help in solving this issue by converting massive files into streamable files.
Raw video content includes thousands of still frames and naturally, these have a number of duplicates. Encode uses codecs to compress the video content by removing all the unnecessary still frames present in the video.
Transcoding is a crucial part of streaming live video content. This development has made the streaming of adaptive bitrate and multi-bitrate possible. This helps in increasing the quality of video content. Transcoding produces multiple versions of the particular video content that makes multi-bitrate streaming possible.
Adaptive bitrate players choose the appropriate version as per the speed of the internet of the consumer. This is helpful in reducing the situations of lagging or buffering in the middle of the streaming due to the internet variations.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
CDN or content delivery network string of servers deliberately placed around the geographical regions that help in delivering content to the viewers that are physically away from the location of the origin.
With the available servers throughout the world, the content jumps from the content host to the closest server and then server to server until it appears on the screen of the viewer.
These are named Internet Exchange Points deliberately placed on some of the other areas to reduce the time of transmission. This has made streaming possible in real-time. Here the delivery speed of the content is partially determined by the jumps that it takes. So basically if the server is in your nearby area, the content will load effortlessly. And if the host server is from a distant area, it may take a little longer than required.
Some Of The Live Streaming Protocols
There are a number of streaming protocols that are used behind the curtains to make the streaming process possible. These processes are technical in nature that the platform creators understand. Some of the most popular video streaming protocols are:
HTTP Live Streaming (HLC), is a protocol created by Apple to deliver content to the HTML5 video player. This has made streaming possible. The security and reliability of the content make it all a popular choice for the content provider. The primary use of HLS is for delivery but also helps in content ingestion.
Real-Time Messaging Protocol or RTMP is a major requirement for streaming live content. This protocol was priorly used for live stream delivery. But presently it has been utilized for RTMP ingestion from the encoder. For optimal streaming setup, RTMP can be paired with the HLS delivery. This combo can help in security and low latency in the delivery of the content.
Real-time Streaming Protocol or RTSP is structured in parallel to the RTMP. It is used for sending directions to the video players to the users. These servers sit between the viewer and the live stream and issue commands such as “record”, “play” and “pause” commands. Although it is not so popular, it is amongst the most important protocols.
Secure Reliable Transport or SRT is a streaming protocol that helps in ensuring streaming is secured over any public network. It is an open-source platform that makes it easy to implement.
Presently, it is not as popular as HLS and RTMP since it is new and various broadcasting tools are not compatible with the protocol yet.
WebRTC is a combination of a number of protocols and cutting-edge technology. This has been founded by Google to help in peer-to-peer streaming to add real-time capabilities of communication. This has been designed to power web conferencing like Zoom, video chats, etc.
Live streaming is quite a crucial tool for businesses, schools, and other organizations. It helps in branding, increasing the reach, and connecting with the audience in real-time. Not only this, but it has also made the streaming of events possible virtually.
If you have any content to stream or you are looking for an end-to-end streaming platform with on-demand, live streaming that is easy-on-pocket then Phando is the place to approach. Phando provides live-streaming services for OTT, EdTech, Media, and Corporates. With your hands 200+ live streaming channels, you can make your platform accessible to a wider audience.