In live streaming, all that matters is the viewing experience for end users. To make sure your next live event reaches its remote audience smoothly across devices, we collected the top 5 helpful tips for setting up a live stream.
1. Identify your audience
Start by asking yourself: who is going to watch the stream? On which device are they likely going to follow the event? Will you have a higher share of desktop or mobile devices tuning in?
Anticipating the predominant user device will help you select the right stream format, whether it is HLS/HDS or Flash streaming.
2. Assume bandwidth limitations
To have a jitter free experience, your users need enough bandwidth available. Identifying the type and strength of their internet connection, paired with your insights about your audience from tip 1, will determine how to encode the live stream even for inferior connection speeds.
3. Select encoder and bitrate
The streaming platform of your choice should offer multi bitrate encoding (recommended formats are: HLS, HDS or Flash). Depending on the platform, decide on the bitrate you will be utilizing on the encoder to cover the last mile capabilities of your audience.
Below is an example of a multi-nitrate profile utilizing Flash Media Live Encoder 3.2 (Adobe’s free encoder program) as the encoder software and using Verizon’s Flash services as the platform being used. The example xml profile being used requires at least 1500 Kbps upstream capability from the encoder and allows last mile clients to view the multi-bitrate streams with a download capability of 150, 300 and 650 Kbps.
With this scenario in mind, we would recommend using a dedicated 3000 Kbps of upload capability from the encoder’s network to the ingest location to ensure enough bandwidth is available.
4. Dedicate bandwidth to encoder
One aspect of live streaming that is often overlooked is how much bandwidth your encoder can push out without congestion.
You should dedicate bandwidth to your encoder to avoid outbound traffic bottlenecks (that degrade the end-user experience). Make sure that there is no other traffic source that takes away bandwidth from your encoder.
We recommend having a high capacity line for that purpose. For example, if you encode in a multi-bitrate of 12 megabytes, you should have double that in outbound bandwidth capacity as mentioned in Tip 3.
5. Decide on player features
Apart from the actual live stream, what kind of features do you want your end-users to have available during the event?
For example, with Flash players, you could enable closed-captioning. Or, you can enable users to set the bitrate.
Players that offer a variety of features and we see used often are JW Player and Flow Player.