Why is RTMP protocol so important for your video streaming?
Online video streaming has been on a growing tangent and is expected to keep on this pace for a long period owing to consistent development in technology and change in people’s attitudes. RTMP is an online video streaming technology that has played a significant role in the industry’s growth. The Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) was the de facto standard for transporting video over the internet in the early days of streaming. RTMP is a TCP-based protocol for maintaining persistent, low-latency connections and, as a result, for smooth streaming.
The protocol was initially a secret sauce behind Adobe Flash Player’s live and on-demand streaming. RTMP was widely used in its heyday when this popular Flash plugin powered 98 percent of internet browsers. The majority of today’s encoders can send RTMP, and the majority of media servers can receive it. It is accepted by major social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, and Periscope. When it comes to playback on popular browsers and devices, however, RTMP streams have compatibility issues. RTMP has been used to solve problems at various stages of the live streaming process, and its role is likely to change as technology advances.
So let’s look at how Real-Time Messaging Protocol is changing the world-
What is RTMP?
RTMP stands for “ Real-Time Messaging Protocol” which has been a component of technology that helps with live streaming. RTMP was first used to send content between a video player and a hosting server, a process known as “RTMP delivery”. Its purpose today is a little different. The primary role of RTMP in modern live streaming setups is to deliver content from an encoder to an online video host. “RTMP ingest” is the name for this RTMP function. Because RTMP supports adaptive bitrate streaming (ABS), it’s ideal for over-the-top (OTT) services. RTMP can stream live content with a low latency using the Internet transport control protocol (TCP). As a result, it’s frequently used as an intermediate protocol for streaming between an encoder and a transcoder before being delivered in other formats like HLS or MPEG-DASH.
History of RTMP
Until the early 2010s, the most common delivery mechanisms for live streaming were Flash Player and RTMP. When combined, these technologies enable lightning-fast video delivery with a latency of around five seconds. However, when it came to last-mile delivery, HTML5 video streaming, open standards, and adaptive bitrate delivery eventually pushed RTMP streaming out. While RTMP is a good protocol, it has had trouble getting past firewalls in the past. RTMP also necessitates the use of a dedicated streaming server because it is a stateful protocol. When Adobe announced that Flash would be phased out this year, the writing was on the wall. Flash’s demise is long overdue. However, this cannot be said of RTMP. Many content producers still use RTMP encoders, with 33% of respondents to our Video Streaming Latency Report indicating that they do. The majority of broadcasters use RTMP to send live streams to their media server, where they are then transcoded and distributed to a variety of players and devices. To put it another way, RTMP streaming is still going strong for content contribution.
Benefits of RTMP
The data stream is split into fragments by RTMP, with the size of each fragment negotiated dynamically between the client and the server. This allows for the transmission of larger amounts of data, effectively reducing the stream’s latency to around 5 seconds. Glass to glass latency is the time between when a live stream is recorded and when that live stream is displayed on the viewer’s screen. Low latency is critical for live event broadcasting, and achieving it is a constant challenge for streaming platforms that want to attract time-sensitive events such as sports.
RTMP causes minimal buffering, which is the dreaded wheel that starts spinning over your frozen video image and is closely related to its low-latency features. Users abandon a video experience after a second round of buffering, according to studies. According to research, the longest a viewer will tolerate buffering is 90 seconds; the longer your stream buffers, the more likely people will abandon it.
Adaptive Bitrate Streaming
ABS (Adaptive Bitrate Streaming) matches a stream’s compression level and video quality to the user’s available bandwidth. This ensures a pleasant viewing experience across all devices and connections, as well as reduced buffering. ABS displays the highest quality available within a given bandwidth without buffering or freezing. ABS employs RTMP technology.
Fast Forward and Rewind
It might not appear to be a big deal but having control over the flow of the stream and the option to rewind and forward it is incredible. RTMP is the technology that lays the foundation of this feature. From the audience’s perspective, it enables them to go through parts which they might have missed or something they liked and would want to watch again.
What does the RTMP setup include?
You don’t need to focus on a hundred things for RTMP protocol to work. There are just 3 major requirements for it which are as follow-
A live video encoder is a software program that converts RAW video to digital video. The encoder receives video footage from a camera on one end. In real-time, this footage is converted to a different format. The goal of the conversion is to get the video ready for internet broadcasting. A hardware encoder or a software encoder can be used. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Content Distribution Network
Content Distribution Network (CDN) refers to the platforms which is used to distribute video over the internet and which reaches your audience. The platform’s goal is to stream video-on-demand as smoothly as possible with the least amount of latency and buffering. Facebook and YouTube are two of the most popular delivery platforms today.
This is the channel through which the encoder communicates with the content delivery network. The value functions as a one-of-a-kind address that links the two parties. There are two parts to it: the server URL and the stream ID.
How does the RTMP protocol work?
RTMP is a TCP-based protocol to maintain low-latency audio and video connections. Streams are divided into smaller fragments called packets to increase the amount of data that can be transmitted smoothly. RTMP also defines several virtual channels for packet delivery that work independently of one another. This means that video and audio are simultaneously delivered on separate channels.
However, RTMP is still widely used in the first mile. RTMP establishes a persistent connection between the client and the server, allowing the protocol to deliver data packets as a carrier. It’s a three-step process-
After establishing a TCP connection, RTMP performs a handshake between the client and the server by exchanging three packets. Chunks are the name for these packets. It’s a chronological process where the first course of action is the client sending over a chunk to the server in order to inform it of the protocol version it is using. A client does not wait and sends another chunk with a timestamp. In response to this server sends back an echo of the chunks which it has received along with a timestamp for when they were received. Then the client sends the last package which is a copy of the timestamp packet. Handshake is considered complete once the final package is received.
Once the handshake is complete where both sides have confirmed these details with each other, the client and server are open to beginning negotiation a connection through Action Message Format (AMF) messages. The client sends over a connect request which the server receives and then responds with an appropriate message sequence.
The client is now all set to start his stream and with merely just by few clicks, he can reach out to an audience. Quality is a separate issue and is dependent on various things.
By now, you should have a good idea of what an RTMP server is and how it can support your live streams. Video broadcasting and streaming protocols can be a very complicated and technical field. Fortunately, there are a number of platforms that can assist you with this, keeping the complexity under the hood while providing the end-user, you, with a simple and powerful interface that allows you to do everything you want with your live stream without impeding your creativity or goals.
Mogi's Proprietary video tech & live stream solution
Mogi I/O (www.mogiio.com) is an AI enabled Video & Image Delivery SaaS that helps Content Platforms to Improve Customer Engagement by enabling Buffer free Streaming Experience for the user through a patented multi-CDN upstream architecture called Mogi Streaming Engine, Enhanced experience through quality enhancement and compression of up to 50% both during transcoding itself and Deeper user insights through Advanced Video Analytics.
Mogi’s solutions are available end-to-end (Video Transcoding + Video Player + Mogi Streaming Engine (Multi-CDN delivery) + DRM + Video Analytics) or you can use individual products from the entire suite like just the Video Transcoding. Mogi also provides white label end-to-end plug n play solutions for OTT and EdTech Platforms, with Web, Android and iOS apps as well as a dedicated CMS for OTT and LMS for EdTech. The transcoding architecture’s result includes a highly compressed video of up to 50% with no loss in quality, and if you choose quality enhancement, a 40% compression with enhanced video quality, available in multiple bitrates.