How Does RTMP Work? Learn More About Real-Time Messaging Protocol
In an article from flowplayer, we learn about Real Time Messaging Protocol, or RTMP for short. RTMP, as a protocol, enables real-time communication and data transfer between two devices. It is primarily used for streaming audio and video over the internet, and is often used in situations where low latency is important, such as in online gaming and live video broadcasts.
RTMP is a "first-mile" protocol, which means that it is typically used to transfer data from the source (e.g. a camera or microphone) to an intermediary server. The server then takes over and is responsible for delivering the data to its final destination (e.g. a web browser or mobile device). This allows the data to be distributed to a large number of viewers or listeners without overwhelming the source device.
RTMP is just one of many protocols that are used for streaming audio and video over the internet. Other popular protocols include HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) and Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH). Each protocol has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and the best one to use in a given situation depends on a variety of factors, including the type of content being streamed, the devices being used, and the network conditions.
A Brief History of RTMP
RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol) was developed by Macromedia in 1996 as a way to stream audio, video, and other data over the internet in real-time. After Macromedia was acquired by Adobe, the company continued to support RTMP as part of its Flash plugin. However, with the rise of other technologies and the discontinuation of Flash in 2020, RTMP is no longer as widely used as it once was.
RTMP is still used by many live streamers as a way to send streaming data to a media server. The media server then transcodes the data into a different playback format, such as HLS, which is better suited for streaming to a variety of devices. Content delivery networks (CDNs) are often used in conjunction with RTMP to improve the delivery speeds and ensure high-quality video streams. CDNs work by storing copies of content in multiple locations, so that users can access the content from a server that is closer to them, resulting in faster delivery speeds.
How Does RTMP Streaming Work?
RTMP was originally designed to handle the entire process of transmitting data in real-time from a server to a video player. However, these days RTMP is mostly used on the encoding side, where it is used to send streaming data from an encoder to a media server. The media server then transcodes the data into a different playback format, such as HLS, which is better suited for streaming to a variety of devices.
The four stages of a typical stream are:
- Camera captures RAW video.
- RTMP encoder converts this RAW video into digital video and sends it to an online video host like Flowplayer.
- The online video host receives encoded video and prepares it for delivery to the audience's devices via HLS protocol.
- Viewing devices play the live video in real time with minimal latency.
RTMP delivery is no longer widely used, as it has been replaced by other technologies. However, RTMP ingest is still popular and widely used by many video hosting platforms. RTMP ingest is used to send streaming data from an encoder to a media server, where it is transcoded into a different playback format. This allows the video to be streamed to a variety of devices using an HTML5 video player. Although RTMP delivery is no longer used, RTMP ingest remains a popular way for live streamers to send their content to media servers for distribution.
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