Welcome to the exciting world of RTMP Live Streaming with Universal CDN! 
In this blog post, we will answer some questions and introduce tools developed by Universal CDN (UCDN) that are designed to elevate your live streaming experience to new heights. Whether you’re a seasoned streaming professional, online TV provider or just starting your journey in live broadcasting, we aim to provide valuable insights as to how UCDN Live Streaming works.

What is RTMP?

RTMP stands for Real-Time Messaging Protocol. It is a protocol developed by Adobe Systems for transmitting audio, video, and data over the Internet in real-time. RTMP is commonly used for live streaming and interactive multimedia applications.

What is HLS? 

HLS stands for HTTP Live Streaming. It is an adaptive bitrate streaming protocol developed by Apple Inc. for delivering audio and video content over the Internet. HLS works by breaking the overall stream into smaller segments that are served over HTTP.

What is a Live Streaming CDN Zone?

A live streaming CDN (Content Delivery Network) zone is an abstract term in our control panel that handles a single RTMP stream. UCDN helps to distribute content such as live video streams by caching it on servers located closer to end-users. This reduces latency, improves load times, and enhances the overall streaming experience. Live streaming CDN zones are specifically optimized for delivering live video content in real-time to viewers across the globe.

What Live Streaming features does UCDN have?

UCDN Live Streaming Features are tools, developed by our team to help and enhance your arsenal of possibilities to interact with your viewers.

LIVE TRANSMUXING (converting RTMP to HLS)

Transmuxing, particularly from RTMP to HLS, involves altering the container and delivery format of video and audio content in real-time, preserving the original data. Unlike transcoding, transmuxing is lighter and demands less computing power as it doesn’t modify the uncompressed source.

LIVE RE-STREAMING

Live Re-streaming is used when you need to broadcast an existing live stream to another platform or audience. By exploring the possibilities of re-streaming with UCDN, you can reach a wider audience across multiple platforms simultaneously, maximizing visibility and engagement of your content.

LIVE STREAM RECORDING

Stream recording to CDN storage involves capturing and storing a live stream in MP4 format (MPEG-4) directly on the CDN’s storage infrastructure. This simplifies content delivery, reduces latency, and enables immediate on-demand access to recorded content after the live stream ends. This function is used when you wish to store, review, edit and present the recorded content on a later stage.

LIVE DVR

This function enhances the viewing experience of your live streams by providing your viewers with greater control over playback. It enables your viewers to pause, rewind, and replay live streams in real-time, similar to how a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) functions for a traditional television.  You can easiliy enable the Live DVR function for your streams from the settings of each individual live streaming zone.

LIVE TRANSCODING

The Base Stream Transcoding is necessary if you want to create a multi-bitrate stream or to change the transcoding parameters of the original stream. The parameters UCDN offers for transcoding are:

1. RESOLUTION (frame size)

Transcoding resolution, also known as frame size or video resolution, refers to the dimensions of a video frame expressed in terms of pixels. It defines the width and height of the image that constitutes a single frame of the video.

Available video resolutions include:

  • 144p: 256×144 pixels, often referred to as “SD” (Standard Definition) or “Low” resolution.
  • 240p: 426×240 pixels, typically considered as “SD’, “Low”  resolution.
  • 360p: 640×360 pixels, often referred to as “SD”, “Low” or “Medium” resolution.
  • 480p: 854×480 pixels, commonly known as “SD” or “DVD” resolution.
  • 720p: 1280×720 pixels, also known as “HD” (High Definition) or “Standard HD” resolution.
  • 1080p: 1920×1080 pixels, also known as “FHD” or “Full HD” resolution.
  • 2160p: 3840×2160 pixels, commonly referred as “4K” or “Ultra HD” resolution.
2. FRAMES PER SECOND (FPS)

FPS stands for “Frames Per Second.” It is a measurement used to quantify the rate at which consecutive images (frames) are displayed in a video sequence.
Frame rate is an essential factor in video production and playback, influencing the perceived quality and realism of the video. Different frame rates are commonly used for various purposes:

  • 30 fps: Standard frame rate for many television broadcasts and online videos.
  • 60 fps: Often used for high-quality video playback, offering smoother motion and enhanced realism, commonly seen in gaming videos and sports broadcasts.
  • 2 – 120fps: With UCDN, you have the flexibility to set a customized frame rate between 2fps and 120fps.
3. VIDEO CODEC (H.264)

H.264 compresses video into smaller file sizes, making it easier to transmit over networks without sacrificing much quality. In live streaming HLS, H.264-encoded video segments are delivered to viewers in a format compatible with their devices and network conditions, allowing for smooth playback across a variety of platforms and devices.

4. VIDEO BITRATE

UCDN offers a wide video bitrate selection range: from 100 kbps to 50 000 kbps.
Video bitrate in live streaming refers to the rate at which video data is transmitted over a network during the streaming process, typically measured in kilobits per second (kbps). It represents the amount of data that is used to encode each second of video content.

Higher video bitrates generally result in better video quality, as more data is allocated to represent details and motion in the video. However, higher bitrates also require more bandwidth for transmission and may not be suitable for viewers with slower internet connections.

In live streaming, video bitrate is a crucial parameter that content creators and streaming platforms adjust based on factors such as the resolution of the video, the fps (frames per second), the complexity of the content, available bandwidth, and the viewing devices’ capabilities. Balancing video bitrate with other parameters ensures that the streamed content maintains an acceptable level of quality while remaining accessible to a wide audience.

5. PROFILE (Encoding)

UCDN offers 3 levels of video encoding:  Baseline, Main and High.
Lower (Baseline) tiers of encoding are more readily deciphered by end-user devices, while higher tiers (Main and High) boast superior compression capabilities and additional functionalities. Take, for instance, certain legacy mobile phones that exclusively accommodate the Baseline profile, our default setting. Transitioning to the Main and High profiles signifies a notable enhancement in compression efficiency, seamlessly catering to web playback requirements. Opt for the High profile to experience top-tier quality, while relying on the Baseline profile ensures optimal compatibility with mobile devices.

6. AAC AUDIO CODEC

AAC, or Advanced Audio Coding, is a widely-used audio codec for digital compression. It offers improved sound quality and efficiency over MP3, making it ideal for streaming, broadcasting, and mobile devices. AAC achieves higher quality at lower bitrates, conserving bandwidth. It uses perceptual audio coding to efficiently compress audio while maintaining quality. AAC is versatile, delivering high-quality audio across various platforms, making it popular in both professional and consumer applications.

7. AUDIO BITRATE

UCDN offers a wide audio bitrate selection range: from 48 kbps to 320 kbps.
Audio bitrate refers to the rate at which audio data is encoded or transmitted, measured in kilobits per second (kbps). Higher bitrates mean better audio quality but larger file sizes and more bandwidth usage. It’s a crucial factor in audio compression, determining the balance between quality and file size.

Enhance web security by using UCDN IPv4 / IPv6 Dual Stack

What Security Measures does UCDN have?

Universal CDN protects your digital content against DDoS attacks by distributing incoming traffic across multiple servers located in different geographic locations. This distributes the load and mitigates the impact of an attack by absorbing and filtering malicious traffic, ensuring your website remains accessible to legitimate users.

Additionally, users can limit access to their content using our Limit access feature.

Limit Access by Referrer:

The access to your CDN zone can be restricted by the HTTP referer.
The HTTP referrer is an optional HTTP header field that identifies the URL of the website which is linked to the resource being requested.
For more info visit: https://help.ucdn.com/limit-access-by-referer/

Limit Access Using a Secret Key

Limiting access by a secret key is a security feature that can protect your web resource from bandwidth theft by prohibiting hotlinking and sharing your content to other websites or applications.
For more info visit: https://help.ucdn.com/limit-access-using-a-secret-key/

Limit Access by Country

UCDN users can restrict or limit visitors in certain countries from accessing your resources.
For more info visit: https://help.ucdn.com/limit-access-by-country/

Limit Access by a Single IP Address / IP Network

Access to a CDN zone and respectively to assets can be limited to an IP address or to an IP network. UCDN users can either define a list of disallowed IP addresses/IP networks, or a list of allowed ones.
For more info visit: https://help.ucdn.com/limit-access-by-a-single-ip-address-or-by-ip-network/

Make API v4 Calls with Universal CDN

Does UCDN have a Live Streaming API?

YES, as of January 2024 Universal CDN has introduced the new API v4. Developers can leverage this API to integrate and interact with UCDN’s services. This would enable them to manage and control various aspects of content delivery and streaming provided by UCDN. Developers interested in using UCDN’s API v4 should refer to the official documentation provided at
https://api.ucdn.com/docs/api_v4.php#livestream_zone for guidance on how to access and take advantage of the Live Streaming API’s functionalities.

Real-Time Analytics for Data-Driven Decisions with Universal CDN API v4

What Live Streaming Analytics does UCDN have?

Universal CDN offers a robust analytics panel tailored for live content delivery.
Here’s a breakdown of each criteria:

Bandwidth

The total amount of data transferred over the network for live streaming within a specific timeframe, reflecting the overall traffic volume for live broadcasts.

Bytes served

The total size of data served to users during live streaming sessions, including video, audio, and other supplementary content.

Requests

The total number of requests made to the CDN servers specifically for live streaming content, indicating the level of user engagement and viewer activity.

Requests by status code

Categorization of requests based on HTTP status codes for live streaming, providing insights into server responses and stream availability (e.g., 200 for successful streams, 404 for not found).

Requests by country

Geographic distribution of live streaming requests, allowing for targeted content delivery strategies and audience analysis.

Storage

The amount of storage space allocated for storing live streaming content on the CDN servers, including MP4 records to storage and DVR.

Bytes served via SSL

The size of data served over SSL/TLS encrypted connections for live streaming, ensuring secure transmission of live content to viewers.

SSL requests

The number of requests served over SSL/TLS encrypted connections during live streaming sessions, indicating the proportion of secure traffic.

Bytes served via HTTP2

The size of data served using the HTTP/2 protocol for live streaming, leveraging its efficiency in handling concurrent streams and reducing latency.

HTTP Requests

The total number of HTTP requests made specifically for live streaming content, encompassing all types of requests related to live video, audio, and associated resources.

Does UCDN have a Live Video Stream Player?

UCDN does not currently have its own native video stream player. However, users can exploit various open-source HLS players such as HLS.js, Video.js and others to integrate with their web projects for seamless video streaming experiences.

Who uses RTMP Live Streaming?

RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol) live streaming is utilized by a variety of individuals, organizations, and industries for broadcasting live video content over the internet. Some of the common users of RTMP live streaming include:

Media and Entertainment Industry

Television networks, movie studios, and entertainment companies often use RTMP live streaming to broadcast live events, concerts, sports matches, award shows, and other special events to online audiences.

Education and Training

Educational institutions, training organizations, and e-learning platforms leverage RTMP live streaming to deliver online classes, lectures, workshops, and training sessions to students and learners across the globe.

News and Media Outlets

News organizations, journalists, and media outlets use RTMP live streaming to provide live coverage of breaking news events, press conferences, interviews, and other newsworthy content to online audiences.

Gaming and Esports

The gaming and esports industry heavily relies on RTMP live streaming for broadcasting tournaments, gaming competitions,  sessions, and live streams from popular teams, personalities and influencers.

Government and Public Sector

Government agencies, political organizations, and public sector entities use RTMP live streaming for broadcasting government meetings, public hearings, town hall events, and official announcements to citizens and constituents.

Content Creators and Streamers

Individuals and content creators use RTMP live streaming to broadcast various types of content, including gaming sessions, tutorials, vlogs, and live events.

Conferences and Events

Event organizers, conference planners, and trade show exhibitors leverage RTMP live streaming to extend the reach of in-person events by streaming keynote presentations, panel discussions, workshops, and exhibitions to virtual attendees worldwide.

Religious Organizations

Churches, mosques, synagogues, and other religious institutions use RTMP live streaming to broadcast religious services, sermons, worship sessions, and special events to remote congregations and followers.

Corporate and Business Communications

Businesses and organizations use RTMP live streaming for internal and external communications, including company meetings, conferences, product launches, webinars, and investor presentations.

Healthcare and Telemedicine

Healthcare providers and telemedicine platforms employ RTMP live streaming for conducting remote medical consultations, telehealth appointments, surgical demonstrations, and medical training sessions.

Outdoor and Adventure

Outdoor enthusiasts, adventure seekers, and travel enthusiasts use RTMP live streaming to share outdoor adventures, nature exploration, hiking expeditions, and extreme sports activities with online followers and outdoor communities.

Concerts and Performances

Musicians, bands, artists, and performance venues employ RTMP live streaming to broadcast live concerts, music festivals, theatre productions, and artistic performances to online audiences, expanding their reach beyond physical venues.

These are just a few examples of the diverse range of users and applications for RTMP live streaming across various industries and sectors. The flexibility and accessibility of RTMP technology enable its widespread adoption for broadcasting real-time video content to global audiences.

What is the CDN Live Stream pricing and cost formation?

Universal CDN offers scalable Live Streaming solutions and the price varies based on the prepaid volume of traffic, storage plus the features used and needed. For the most cost-effective pricing tailored to your web project’s needs, take advantage of Universal CDN’s scalable Live Streaming solutions. Simply fill out the form at https://ucdn.com/?offer to receive a customized free quote based on your personal requirements.

! With UCDN you do not pay additionally for Requests, Cache Storage, Upload, SSL/TLS, Geo-blocking, Security, Transmuxing RTMP to HLS, Dedicated Support and Traffic Analytics fees, compared to other CDN operators.

How to start using UCDN Live Streaming services?

  1. Register an account:
    Registering an account with UCDN is free and takes 1 minute.
    Enter the correct details for your web project needs, so we can know how to properly set-up your account for your requirements.
  2. Account activation:
    After successfully completing the requirements in our registration form, you will receive an activation link on your email. You need to click this link for your account to be activated.
  3. CDN Solution Offer:
    You will receive an email from one of our representatives with a solution offer for an account with included 10 free Live streaming zones, and a detailed breakdown of the monthly cost for running your web project with UCDN.

    *NOTE: Live Streaming can be enabled only for a Prepaid CDN Package account by request, so make sure to add it in your criteria when filling our our registration form.
  4. Risk-Free Trial:
    If this is your first time using UCDN services, you will get a free trial with no initial commitments to the offered Prepaid CDN Package solution. This is valuable time that gives you security to test our services risk-free. You will be able to properly set up and get to know our systems. During this period, we will closely monitor your account and inform you if there are any optimizations that can be done for better content distribution, faster and wider reach. 
  5. Logging in:
    After our team confirms the succesfull activation of your account, you can into your new account @
    https://my.ucdn.com and start your configuration.
  6. Follow our Live Streaming configuration guide:
    Create your first RTMP Live Streaming Zone using the instructions from our
    HELP CENTER.
    You can leran more on how to use our API from our API v4 Documentation.
  7. Dedicated support:
    If you find anything difficult just write a ticket to our support team and they will assist in the best and fastest way possible.