What are the Common Streaming Protocols Used in Professional Broadcasting

Pamela Morgan, Media and Entertainment Tech outlook | Thursday, March 18, 2021

Professional broadcasting uses streaming protocols as it is a standard method of breaking videos, sending it to viewers, and reassembling it. 

FREMONT, CA: When companies first start live streaming, they will find a multitude of acronyms that serve several functions. There are RTMP, HLS, HDS, and many more. Many of these abbreviations apply to various video streaming protocols. Protocols are technical processes that allow data to be transferred from one program to another. It refers to transferring video files from the encoder to the streaming host and then to the video player where the audience watches the stream.

What is a Video Streaming Protocol?

Since most video files aren't developed to be streamed, uploading a video requires converting it to a streaming format. It entails cutting it up into tiny pieces. These chunks are then delivered in order and played back as they are received. The source video for live video streaming comes directly from a camera. Otherwise, it's from a video-on-demand (VOD) file.

Streaming protocols can become highly complicated. Many of them, for example, are "adaptive bitrate" protocols. This technology can provide the highest possible output for a viewer at any given time.

Some protocols aim to reduce latency or the delay between when an event occurs in real life and when it appears on the viewers' screen. Such protocols are only compatible with specific systems, while others are solely concerned with digital rights management (DRM).

Common Video Streaming Protocols

Here are some of the standard video streaming protocols. 

Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP)

The first is RTMP, or real-time messaging protocol, which has been around for a long time. The RTMP protocol was established by Macromedia in the early days of streaming and is still commonly used today.

With the support of an RTMP-enabled encoder, RTMP is now primarily used for ingesting live streams. When users set up the encoder to send the video feed to the video hosting platform, it will use the RTMP protocol to access the CDN. The content is eventually delivered to the end-user through a different protocol, typically HLS streaming.

Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP)

Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP), a lesser-known video streaming protocol, was first released in 1998. RTSP was created primarily for managing streaming media servers in entertainment and communications systems.

In several ways, RTSP is identical to the HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) protocol. RTSP is not capable of transmitting live streaming data on its own. Instead, RTSP servers often deliver media streams in accordance with the Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) and Real-Time Control Protocol (RTCP).