Live streaming is a type of streaming in which audio or video is broadcast live over the Internet. Media is transmitted while it is being recorded, allowing viewers to watch or listen in real time.
Live video streaming starts with compressing a large video file for delivery. Content distributors use a codec to digitally convert the raw video with a codec.
These bipartite compression tools shrink gigabytes of data into megabytes. The encoder itself may be built into the camera, but it can also be a hardware device, computer software like OBS Studio, or a mobile app.
After the video stream is compressed, the encoder packages it for delivery over the internet. This includes placing the components of the stream in a file format. These container formats act on a protocol or standardized delivery method. Common protocols include RTMP, HLS, and MPEG-DASH.
The packaged stream is then moved to a media server located on-premises or in the cloud. While the media server is streaming, it can convert the data to a more common codec, convert the video to a lower resolution, convert the file to a different bitrate, or convert it to a more scalable format.
This conversion process is critical when streaming to various devices. Without transcoding the original stream, it wouldn't be possible to reach viewers across a range of devices.
A streaming server software or cloud streaming service can be used to do this and more.
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