Why you should do a custom RTMP live streaming, instead of YouTube live streaming

The constant advancement in the field of technology has led to the growth of online video streaming’s popularity. It’s worth noting here that RTMP has been a major contributor to the success of the online video streaming industry. Further in the article, we will talk about the benefits of using custom RTMP live streaming over direct YouTube live streaming. 

But before that, let’s understand what RTMP is.


What is RTMP?

RTMP is an acronym for Real-Time Messenger Protocol and is an integral part of the technology that facilitates live streaming. Real-Time Messaging Protocol (or RTMP) was developed by Macromedia. Although RTMP was launched by Macromedia as a proprietary system for the transmission of video, audio and data between its server and Flash player, it soon changed hands. In 2005, Adobe bought Macromedia and re-launched RTMP as an open-source protocol later in 2012.

RTMP soon turned into an integral part of the streaming industry despite the fact that Adobe stopped supporting Flash in 2020.

RTMP was originally used for the transmission of content between a video player and a server. This was referred to in the beginning as “RTMP delivery.” However, its purpose today is quite different. The primary function of RTMP in modern live streaming systems is to transmit content from an encoder to an online video host. This function can be referred to as “RTMP ingest.”

RTMP is important and powerful in the context of its new role as a live streaming facilitator. RTMP can stream at low latency, which is a huge advantage for broadcasters streaming large events live. It’s also well-known for its low buffering, which really enhances the user experience.

Apart from delivering files from an encoder to an internet video host, RTMP technology is also involved in adaptive-bitrate streaming. It is a key component of the technology that allows users to fast-forward or rewind videos. 

Despite being nearly 20 years old, RTMP remains a “vehicle of choice” for sending audio, video and data via the internet. This is primarily due to its stability and low latency.

Even though they don’t realize it, most live-streamers rely on RTMP to broadcast their content to viewers.

Also, there are virtual broadcast solutions available nowadays that take away the hassle of managing the logistics behind live-streaming. However, it is worth learning a little bit about RTMP to understand the basics. A little knowledge in the subject will also help you understand how to reach new audiences beyond the traditional “go-to” platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.

When RTMP first came into existence, one of its biggest highlights was low latency which may be described as the delay in the transfer of data from the encoder to the video player. But later RTMP was able to achieve what may be termed as ultra low latency with a delay time as low as 5 seconds.

Now, we have other similar technologies like FTL and WebRTC gearing up because of their sub-second latency. But RTMP continues to be an important protocol for streamers primarily because of its broader platform support and reliability.


How does RTMP work? 

If you want to put your live stream onto a particular streaming platform using RTMP, you will need the following information—


RTMP Server URL – This is the backend link to the platform where you want to broadcast your live.


Stream Key – This is a special code, typically in the form of an alphanumeric string of characters, that is used to identify the source of the audio or video streaming. It connects your dedicated streaming software to your broadcast output channel.


Note that you get a unique stream key every single time you stream to a particular platform. But then the server URL never changes. When you set up an RTMP feed, it’s a must to copy-paste the stream key and the server URL.

Take care while writing these details as even a tiny mistake could cause hindrances in your broadcast.

Once the stream key and the server URL load, you are all set to begin the broadcast. Everything else will be taken care of by the protocol. 

When a live stream through RTMP is established, the data travels continuously from the source to destination in tiny packets.

The transfer of data ends as soon as the stream finishes. And this marks the end of the broadcast.


Benefits of RTMP

The reason why RTMP has gained such huge popularity in such a short span of time is because it’s a protocol with low latency. It is flexible, and is easy to integrate with many different media. Let’s talk about each of the benefits individually—


  • Low latency

Low latency keeps video connections stable. Viewers of live-streamed content like webinars can benefit from fast streams that don’t have a lot of lag.

  • Flexibility

RTMP is a flexible protocol that allows for feeds to be consumed in the order the viewer chooses. Instead of being forced to watch something in a linear direction, RTMP feeds can be skipped, rewound, or joined after they’ve already begun.

  • Easy to integrate

RTMP lets users integrate many different media types into one source. This means it’s possible to blend audio, video, and text together. It is also possible to have many variations of media channels. For instance, RTMP allows for streaming both AAC and MP3 audio streams.


Why is custom RTMP live streaming better than YouTube live streaming?

RTMP has grown in popularity over time, and now it’s a widely used technology that facilitates video streaming. Popular video streaming platforms like YouTube are compatible with this technology, and enable users to live stream without hassle. YouTube integrated the RTMP technology into “YouTube Live,” right when it was launched as a service.

RTMP has a secure extension: RTMPS. RTMPS protects YouTube viewers and content creators by preventing man- in- the- middle attacks on livestreams. This secures all live streaming data from creators, including audio, video and control signal, to YouTube’s servers. It protects it against tampering or interception during transit.


Final thoughts

Since RTMP has been the industry standard for so many years, it is cheaper to set it up and is widely supported. There are tools built around it, and we have people who have deep knowledge in how to use RTMP. 

Also, it is easy to set up an encoder for RTMP. Most of the software-based encoders available are inexpensive, while hardware solutions too are pocket-friendly.

What more? It is delivered as one file which makes it easier to process and manage.

Yes, there are other technologies available handling the same job, but nothing has been able to take up RTMP’s place as users still consider it one of the most efficient solutions.

Mogi’s Proprietary Video Tech

Mogi’s Video Tech 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.

One of the best individual products we have is our Transcoding Architecture, which is a unique cluster-based process, does the transcoding within 30% of the content length. 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 the enhanced video quality.

The pricing for Transcoding is very competitive as well, and along with it you get a highly compressed output with the same or higher quality. This means not only is your contractual pricing is low due to competitive pricing, but your bandwidth consumption also reduces, and user experiences increase multifold. It’s a win-win for all of us (Users, Clients, Mogi).

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