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Posts Tagged ‘live streaming’

This article will walk you through the process of downloading, installing and configuring all the software required to start broadcasting to a Flash Push Live Stream with Mydeo using the Flash Media Live Encoder (FMLE). In a previous article, we looked at the same process but using the Wirecast encoder instead. Please click here to be directed to that article instead.

It’s good practice to have a read through the whole article before attempting to configure your encoder.

FMLE is Adobe’s free to use Flash encoder. Currently, it’s the easiest and by far the cheapest way to get started in Flash live streaming. The encoder is a fantastic solution considering it’s a free to use application – however, it does lack some of the more professional features that comes pre-installed with encoders like Wirecast so if you’re looking to produce industry leading live streams, it might be a good idea to look into a more professional option. Nevertheless, FMLE is an amazing tool and is more than adequate for lower budget productions.

If you don’t have a trial account already, open a 15-day free trial account now by heading to http://www.mydeo.com. Once you’ve opened your account, you can trial our “on-demand” CDN services immediately, but for a live trial you’ll need to request one by giving us a call or dropping us an email from your registered account email address.

If you have your credentials email, containing all your Flash streaming details, then you’re all set to proceed to Step #1:

1. Download and install the software

Once you’ve received your Flash Live service login details from Mydeo, you’ll want to make sure you’ve downloaded the following:

  • Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder (PC and Mac versions are available) – it’s completely free to use!
  • Limelight Access Adapter – As you may already know, Mydeo runs on the backbone of the Limelight Networks CDN. To connected to their network using the details in your credentials email, you will need to install the Access Adaptor – this allows you to authenticate with the network and stream. If you’re using a PC, there’s a good chance you’ll be using FMLE version 3.2, however, you could be using an older version so please click on one of the following links that corresponds to your version of FMLE: (FMLE 3.0) (FMLE 3.1) (FMLE 3.2).
  • If you’re using a MAC, you can download the Access Adapter here – All Access Adaptors are free.

Please make sure to install FMLE before attempting to install the Access Adaptor – do not launch FMLE before you’ve installed the adaptor.

2. Configuring FMLE

Once everything has been installed, go ahead and fire up your copy of FMLE.

Referring to the screen shot below, you can configure your copy of FMLE with the correct settings for your account (the coloured boxes on our diagram represents the sections you need to change in order to set up your encoder properly).

Your Flash credentials email will contain two very important URLs that you now need: the Primary FMS URL and the Backup FMS URL – the third URL in your credentials email is the published URL but this can be set aside for now.Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Key:

  • The green box is where you need to enter your Primary FMS URL – this is essential for the stream to publish.
  • The red box is for the Backup URL – the Backup isn’t actually essential for the stream to work but does add a level of fall back. The Primary and Backup URLs point to different servers on the CDN so if you were to lose connection to the Primary server, the stream would continue streaming to the Backup. Playback would be seamless and the audience would never know anything went wrong. You can also use the Primary and Backup URLs to utilise two separate internet connections – for more information on that, please click here.
  • The blue box is where you give your stream a name – the stream name is a crucial part to the configuration so be sure to take note of whatever it is you set this to. You’re free to chose any stream name but it’s best to keep it as simple as possible and you can’t use spaces. If your stream name consists of more than one word, I suggest using a ‘_’ to separate the words like so: my_stream or use camel case: myStream.
  • Now select the bit-rates and camera setting you wish to use for your stream. A standard configuration is 500kbps for video, 128kbps for audio and a resolution of 640×480.

3. Start publishing

You should now be ready to start publishing your stream. To begin, click the green START bottom of the FMLE window:

FMLEStart

 

 

If you installed the Access Adaptor correctly, the Connect to Limelight FMS box should pop up where you’ll need to enter your username and password found in your credentials email:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click OK and the encoder should kick into action!

To view the stream, you will need to utilise the Published URL found in your credentials email. Each stream will have a different URL and this is determined by the stream name you entered into the encoder earlier. Assume for now that you used: ‘myStream’ as your stream name. Take the Published URL from your credentials email and add the stream name to the end – preceding a forward slash ‘/’. Here is an example: rtmp://mydeoxyz.fc.llnwd.net/mydeoxyz/myStream.

Assuming everything has been configured correctly, you should be able to playback from your Published URL. If you need to create player embed code, please click here.

And that’s it!

If you would like to hear more about our Flash live services or require any assistance in getting your Mydeo stream up and running, call us on: +44 208 540 2300 or email: help@mydeo.com and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Producing a professional live event over the internet is a complicated and stressful task. Making sure everything happens at the exact right time in a seamless fashion is paramount to the end user experience. The live feed itself has to be perfect to meet the expectations of your audience. The problem with live video today is the inevitable direct comparison to on-demand video services. Audiences’ witness the likes of Netflix, YouTube and other HD video streaming services and base their experiences as the benchmark in which to scrutinise all other forms of internet based video. Okay, this may be a bit harsh because the odd skip would probably be forgiven seeing that it’s live. However, a dead stream is a dead stream and your users aren’t going to just sit there and watch a frozen frame or a black screen.

Taking every precaution possible is obviously the best way to lower the chances of a broken stream. There’s not much you can do in terms of a backup stream for a live event because obviously the footage is sent out in real time. At least an on-demand file can reference a backup version if the primary source is compromised. In terms of backup with live services through a CDN, Mydeo has a system in place with Limelight that can seriously lower the chances of a broken stream.

The system Mydeo offers has is the ability to stream to a primary and a backup ingest server which introduces a number of key benefits. Firstly, by streaming to two separate ingest servers, you get double security from network errors. In the very unlikely case that one of the ingest servers were to experience a problem; the other server would take over with delivering your stream. The end user would be none the wiser and the video feed would continue delivering seamlessly. Again, it’s very unlikely that an ingest server would fail but at least you know there’s a fall back in the worst case scenario.

The second key benefit is the ability to utilise dual internet connections. If you’re able to tap into a secondary internet connection, you can set the primary ingest URL onto the main (fastest) internet connection and the backup URL can be set to the alternative internet connection. Again, if something were to happen to either of the internet connections, the stream would switch over automatically and the end user experience wouldn’t be compromised. Some customers of Mydeo have started utilising mobile internet solutions as a backup source. Couple this with backup power generators and you are on the way to complete resilience from internet connection failures.

Mydeo can offer backup (fall back) solutions with both normal Flash live and Stream Anywhere products. If you would like more information on our CDN services, please feel to contact by email: help@mydeo.com or by phone: +44 208 540 2300.

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We talk a lot about players here in the Mydeo blog but this due to the fact that we get a lot of questions from our customers about what players to use for their content. Unfortunately, there’s never usually a one-stop solution when looking into players but that may be about to change… JW 6 player is the latest offering in the JW player series and it’s packed full of features which we all should be very excited about.

One feature in particular that’s extremely useful is the HLS plugin. As you may already know, Mydeo offers full HLS support and is mainly used for reaching those all-important iOS devices. HLS itself isn’t supported natively within some of the more popular web browsers such as Chrome, IE and Firefox. Customers wanting to reach both desktop and iOS devices will generally stream with both a HLS feed and an RTMP feed. This however, could now be a thing of the past because JW 6 has the functionality to reach all desktop browsers and iOS devices with just a single HLS feed. When JW 6 detects a desktop browser, it uses a functionality called ‘flash mode’ and the HLS feed plays seamlessly within the browser. When it detects an iOS device, it then reverts back to HTML5 mode to play the same stream.

We had customer recently who needed this exact functionality and they utilised JW6 along with Mydeo’s HLS streaming accounts to pull off a very successful live event. This made things much easier for them because they only had to worry about the single feed and the built-in customisation options meant getting the player on their website was a breeze.

The HLS plug-in is only available through the JW 6 premium version but with this you get multi-end device functionality for both your live and on-demand content along with countless other customisation options. Using the built-in skins, you’re also able to integrate the player in a way that matches your existing website styling to achieve an overall professional look.

To find out more about the latest JW player, you can visit their website: http://www.longtailvideo.com/. To find out more about Mydeo’s HLS services, you can call us on: +44 208 540 2300 or email us at: m3@mydeo.com.

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British Rally driver Louise Cook from Maidstone has set the goal to be the first female World Rally Champion. Louise started a sponsorship campaign called ‘Promotion50’ to raise the money needed to get her started on her road to glory. The idea was to get as many companies to donate just £50 to run her mk6 Ford Fiesta ST Rally car for a whole season. With the backing of Mydeo and various other companies, Louise has already boasts a multitude of achievements, including: British Rally Championship Ladies Campion 2011, Fiesta Sport Trophy Vice Champion 2011, BRCC RC4 Champion 2012 and more. Louise still has to complete her ultimate goal of being World Champion but with the on-going support from Mydeo and other sponsors, we believe this is just around the corner.

Louise races towards the finish line!

Mydeo are a content delivery company utilising the Limelight CDN. For more information about our services, please visit www.mydeo.com. You can also call us on: +44 208 540 2300 or email: m3@mydeo.com.

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EDIT: Stream Anywhere has been upgraded, click here for details.

Consuming digital media has changed drastically over the past few years. It seems now everyone carries a Smart Phone in their pocket or an iPad in their bag. Mobile internet means people can access their favourite websites from anywhere and at any time. If you’re unable to cater for these consumers, you could be losing a sizable chunk of your audience and it doesn’t take a genius to tell you what that could mean for your business.

HTML5 and the <video> tag, gives us a relatively easy way to reach these mobile consumers for your on-demand video content – but what about live video? Flash is still supported by older Android devices but as people upgrade their handsets and more people update their software to the latest OS, you’re going to be losing more and more consumers as support for their newer devices is inevitably dropped.

Not to worry though because Mydeo have again teamed up with Limelight Networks to bring you Stream Anywhere. The Stream Anywhere solution utilises HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) which was included as part of the latest Flash Media Server (FMS) update. HLS has swiftly become the standard for live streaming to mobile devices as it was implemented by Apple for their highly successful iOS software.

One of the great features of Stream Anywhere is that the transcoding is all handled on the fly, within the cloud. This means you don’t have to install any software locally and the encoder doesn’t need access to extreme levels of processing power. This makes the whole process of publishing live video to mobiles much more convenient.

Benefits of the Stream Anywhere solution include:

  • Automatically deliver to multiple mobile devices without preencoding content.
  • Reach new audiences (such as iPhone and iPad) without having to make any changes to existing RTMP streams.
  • Leverage the global scale and reach of the Limelight HTTP Edge to deliver to HLS supported devices.
  • A cloud-based service! No need to worry about software or hardware installation and maintenance.

For more information on pricing or on how Mydeo can help you and your business reach mobile devices – Live and On-demand. Get in touch by phone: +44 208 540 2300 or by email: m3@mydeo.com.

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Even with the introduction of HTML5, Flash streaming is still one of the most widely used formats for delivering video over the internet – especially for live events. Here at Mydeo, we still receive many requests for Flash live and on-demand services.  The following article by Limelight Networks explains some of the options available to you when using FMS to deliver your video content:

Flash Media Server 3.5

Customers of Flash streaming services now have more options for broadcast-quality video delivery on the Internet. With support for Adobe Flash Media Server 3.5, Limelight Stream enables dynamic streaming, DVR functionality within a live stream, and enhanced H.264 video and High Efficiency AAC (HE-AAC) audio. 

Dynamic Streaming

For an optimum viewing experience, the quality of the video file you deliver needs to match your end user’s available bandwidth. The trouble is, their bandwidth may suddenly drop, perhaps because other users in the house or community start consuming more bandwidth on a shared pipe. Your viewer is left watching (or trying to watch) a high-bit-rate video on a connection that’s too slow to handle the stream, resulting in stutters, stops, and a less-than-positive experience.

Dynamic streaming addresses this common scenario by switching seamlessly to a higher- or lower-quality stream based on available bandwidth — without ever disrupting the flow of video or audio. (Of course, this means you need to have encoded and uploaded the same content as multiple independent files at different bit-rates.)

Although Flash Media Server 3.5 provides the ability to switch files, it’s the Flash client that actually requests the change. The user’s Flash player (version 10 required) monitors current bandwidth and CPU load. If the video buffer is filling up too rapidly or the CPU is nearing pre-defined utilization levels, the Flash client can simply ask the server to switch to a different file.

Dynamic streaming is available for live and on-demand Flash content and supports both .flv and H.264 files types.

Live DVR

Give your viewers the freedom to walk away from a live event without worrying about missing out on the action. Flash Media Server 3.5 supports live DVR, enabling end users to return to portions of live streaming events, even if their Internet connection choked and missed a crucial moment. With Live DVR, you can create streaming video solutions that include instant-replay, catch-up, or seek functionality.

Even with all these interactive features, there’s no transfer of your content to the user’s system. As with all streaming services, Flash Media Server 3.5 caches the live DVR at your discretion.

At Mydeo we offer a whole host of Flash delivery solutions including those mentioned above – We also offer instant set up with no installation fees. If you’re interested in Mydeo’s Flash services or any of our other many CDN solutions, please do not hesitate to get in contact – Email: danny@mydeo.com, Phone: +44 208 540 2300.

You can also find us at: www.mydeo.com

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Live streaming: Push vs. Pull

When encoding video or audio, you have two options. You can either ‘push’ the stream or ‘pull’ the stream. Each method has advantages and disadvantages which we will discuss here and help you to choose the method best for your circumstances.

Pushing a stream:

With a push stream, the local machine running the encoder is initiating the connection. This connection has to be made with a streaming server.

The main advantage of pushing a stream is that router port forwarding and firewall exceptions do not have to be made. A static IP address is not required to push a stream which would be necessary with the pull method. Static IP addresses are less common than they used to be and with some ISPs they have to be paid for. On an internet connection with no static IP address available, pushing the stream will be your only option. A push stream is generally less stable than a pull stream and would consume more local bandwidth because it is constantly connected to the streaming server that it is pushing to.

A push stream would normally be used for short one off webcasts rather than 24/7 webcasting because of its inherent bandwidth overheads.

Pulling a stream:

With a pull stream, a streaming server (or a viewer) initiates the connection with the encoding machine. It is possible to webcast without the use of a streaming server using the pull method; however, if more than 2 or 3 people connect to the stream simultaneously it will suffer and not be delivered properly to any of the viewers. When a streaming server is ‘pulling’ from the local encoder it would be possible to have hundreds of thousands of viewers without the stream suffering at all.

One of the big advantages of pulling a stream is that the server will only connect to the encoder when the stream is requested by a viewer. This means that you will be limiting your local bandwidth usage by using this method because you will not have to be constantly connected to the server. This obviously makes it much more suitable for constant 24 hour streaming. It is possible to restrict access to the encoder by IP address – which means you can only allow the streaming server to connect and restrict any unauthorised access. Windows media encoder also records and IP address of connections so you can see who is connected at any time.

One disadvantage of using this method is that in order for the streaming server to connect to the encoder, port forwarding and firewall exceptions will have to be set up. Using the pull method is ideal for streaming from a static location where the configuration of the network stays constant.

Conclusion:

When choosing the method you are going to use, the best thing to do is ask yourself a few questions before you start.

1.       Do I have a static IP address?

2.       Am I going to be broadcasting for longer than a few hours at a time?

3.       Do I have access to the router to set up port forwarding or firewall exceptions?

4.       Will I be broadcasting from more than one network?

If you answered no to the first question then pulling a stream will not be an option for you. If you are going to be broadcasting for more than a few hours pulling the stream would be the obvious choice because you will save on bandwidth use. Without access to the router (or someone who does have access) you will not be able to set up the port forwarding properly and the streaming server will not be able to connect to your encoder with the pull method which mean, you will have to push. When you are broadcasting from more than one network, the settings are likely to be different on each network. Pushing the stream would most definitely be a better option here because it will work regardless of the network security in most instances.

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Embedding live streams with Flowplayer

Previously, we discussed embedding flash videos into a webpage for on-demand content here – http://blog.mydeo.com/2009/04/24/flowplayer-quick-start-guide/. While this article covers both RTMP streaming and HTTP delivery methods it does not include instruction for how to get live flash streams to work with flowplayer.

The basics for this remain the same:

Please note that the .js and .swf files referenced in the code below could be a different version to the ones you’ve just downloaded in the Flowplayer pack. Make sure you reference the correct versions of these files in your code.

Flowplayer now needs to be told that the video is a live stream and for viewing stream from the limelight FMS the stream needs to be subscribed to. The code below explains how to do this:

<html>
<head>
<script src="flowplayer-3.1.0.min.js"></script>
</head>
<body>
<div>
<a style="display: block;height:400px;width:600px;background-color: #ffffff;border: solid 1px #ccc;" id="rtmp_player"></a>

<!-- Note: the property of the above tag (rtmp_player) must match the first parameter of the script below -->

<script>
                $f("rtmp_player", "flowplayer-3.2.5.swf", {
                    clip: {
                       url : 'stream1', //this is the name of the stream assset in the encoder
                       live : true,  // tell flowplayer it's live
                       provider: 'rtmp'
                 },

                plugins: {
                  rtmp: {
                  url: 'flowplayer.rtmp-3.2.3.swf',
				  netConnectionUrl: 'rtmp://xyz.fc.llnwd.net/xyz' ,  //this is the rest of the URL excluding the stream name that you set in the encoder
				  subscribe:true  //subscribe to the stream
                      }
                 }
              });
</script>
</div>
</body>
</html>

With all that in place you should have no problem viewing your live flash streams in Flowplayer.

As usual, if you have any questions or problems, please feel free to contact us on m3@mydeo.com and we will do our best to help you.

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Mydeo live streaming

Although many of you may not know, Mydeo does offer live streaming. This takes place outside of m3 at the moment but we have had such a huge demand for it that we are working on integrating in right into m3. More details about this will follow once we are closer to releasing this feature. For now, anyone who would like to stream live events in either Windows media formats or flash simply need contact us on m3@mydeo.com and we can arrange it almost instantly. We can arrange a ‘push’ or a ‘pull’ stream for Windows Media. For those of you who would like to learn a little more about the difference between the two have a look at http://blog.mydeo.com/2009/01/19/windows-media-live-streaming-push-vs-pull. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to organise a trial stream and we should be able to get it setup within a few minutes.

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Windows media live streaming: Push vs. Pull

When encoding Windows media video or audio, you have two options. You can either ‘push’ the stream or ‘pull’ the stream. Each method has advantages and disadvantages which we will discuss here and help you to choose the method best for your circumstances.

 

Pushing a stream:

With a push stream, the local machine running the encoder is initiating the connection. This connection has to be made with a streaming server.

The main advantage of pushing a stream is that router port forwarding and firewall exceptions do not have to be made. A static IP address is not required to push a stream which would be necessary with the pull method. Static IP addresses are less common than they used to be and with some ISPs they have to be paid for. On an internet connection with no static IP address available, pushing the stream will be your only option. A push stream is generally less stable than a pull stream and would consume more local bandwidth because it is constantly connected to the streaming server that it is pushing to.

A push stream would normally be used for short one off webcasts rather than 24/7 webcasting because of its inherent bandwidth overheads.

 

Pulling a stream:

With a pull stream, a streaming server (or a viewer) initiates the connection with the encoding machine. It is possible to webcast without the use of a streaming server using the pull method; however, if more than 2 or 3 people connect to the stream simultaneously it will suffer and not be delivered properly to any of the viewers. When a streaming server is ‘pulling’ from the local encoder it would be possible to have hundreds of thousands of viewers without the stream suffering at all.

One of the big advantages of pulling a stream is that the server will only connect to the encoder when the stream is requested by a viewer. This means that you will be limiting your local bandwidth usage by using this method because you will not have to be constantly connected to the server. This obviously makes it much more suitable for constant 24 hour streaming. It is possible to restrict access to the encoder by IP address – which means you can only allow the streaming server to connect and restrict any unauthorised access. Windows media encoder also records and IP address of connections so you can see who is connected at any time.

One disadvantage of using this method is that in order for the streaming server to connect to the encoder, port forwarding and firewall exceptions will have to be set up. Using the pull method is ideal for streaming from a static location where the configuration of the network stays constant.

 

Conclusion:

When choosing the method you are going to use, the best thing to do is ask yourself a few questions before you start.

1.       Do I have a static IP address?

2.       Am I going to be broadcasting for longer than a few hours at a time?

3.       Do I have access to the router to set up port forwarding or firewall exceptions?

4.       Will I be broadcasting from more than one network?

If you answered no to the first question then pulling a stream will not be an option for you. If you are going to be broadcasting for more than a few hours pulling the stream would be the obvious choice because you will save on bandwidth use. Without access to the router (or someone who does have access) you will not be able to set up the port forwarding properly and the streaming server will not be able to connect to your encoder with the pull method which mean, you will have to push. When you are broadcasting from more than one network, the settings are likely to be different on each network. Pushing the stream would most definitely be a better option here because it will work regardless of the network security in most instances.

 

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