Live streaming video explained

The Basics

Live streaming is not an out-of-the-box solution. It requires to be setup and then tweaked for optimization. A whole lot of people who purchase our software, often ask us “How do I stream live with your software?”. This article is for them to provide a proper understanding of how live streaming works.

Getting Started (What You Need)

Here is a checklist of what you need, before you stream live, the Flash way!

1. A video source, example a web camera or an IP Camera or a normal video camera. In all cases, the camera should come with it’s own software. Install this software on your PC and then attach your camera to your PC or laptop. You would be able to view the live video on your PC. This is the first step. If you cannot view the video on your PC, your camera has not been setup properly. So the first thing you need is a video source and it’s corresponding software.

2. The next step is to send this live video feed to a server which will relay the same feed on internet. For this step, you would need a live encoder. The live encoder, while being installed on your PC will accept the feed from your camera and then send this feed to the broadcast/media server (described below). The Adobe Live Encoder is a free live encoder and can be downloaded from here.

Live streaming video explained

Live streaming video

3. The server that accepts the feed from the live encoder and then relays or broadcasts the feed is known as a “Streaming Server” or a “Media Server”. It is different from a normal web server that hosts your websites. The Streaming Servers are equipped with a special software that are capable accepting the feed from the encoder and then broadcasting it as a audio-video live stream using real time message protocol. (RTMP). For this step, you have to decide between a few options. You can install a server side media streaming software like Flash Media Server or Wowza or Red5 on a dedicated web server or you can hire a service that provides you an account to use these through their servers. The later is suggested for small scale live streaming, since FMS and Wowza is costly (> $2400). Red5 is free, but, has issues. It is also very resource hungry. That is, you need good processors and large RAMs on your server to run Red5 smoothly.You can also choose Amazon EC2, that provides a “Pay as you use” feature. We can guide or help you to choose a media server or media server service that we feel appropriate for you after listening to your live streaming needs.

4. Finally to display this live stream on your website, you would need a video player that is capable of playing this live stream. This video player will be embedded on your HTML webpage and should be uploaded with your webpage on your normal web server or web host. To setup this player manually, can be a difficult task and that’s EasyFLV comes handy. All you have to do is provide the inputs on the software, and it will generate the live video player with the corresponding code for you. Upload the video player with your HTML and you are done.