Which is better for live streaming, RTMP vs HLS vs WebRTC?

It’s hard to say which one is better, as we’re not comparing apples. Let’s break it up to the strengths and weaknesses of each method.

RTMP used to be the de facto standard for live streaming. Many CDNs offer delivery that scales to the masses. RTMP, however, does not take into consideration that broadcaster and viewers might have internet connections that aren’t always up to the task of transferring the stream at full speed. Smartphones and web browsers are also unable to play back RTMP natively; Browsers used to depend on a flash plugin for playback, which has been phased out over the last couple of years.

HLS was created for using existing HTTP CDNs for delivering live streams. It scales great, but latency can suffer in many implementations. Bitrate can adapt depending on the viewers needs. Most devices can play HLS natively, or through a javascript player. This is probably the most cost-effective way of delivering video.

WebRTC is more focused for one-to-one streaming. Bitrate is adaptable, but not many CDNs support edge delivery over WebRTC – those that do cost quite a bit more than other solutions. WebRTC can be played back in most browsers and smartphones today, using javascript players. Open source solutions for native playback and broadcasting are also available.

Red5 or Wowza Media Server consulting services

Since 2008 we worked with Red5 and Wowza Media Server platform, developing custom modules, helping our clients to integrate a number of systems to control the stats or installing a Wowza control panel into their servers, debugging performance issues, and tuning performance.

Our main areas of expertise are:

  • Live Broadcasts, Video chats Scripts
  • Server: custom module development
  • Integration: HTML, PHP, web services, etc.
  • Load Balancing

And since we know the Media Servers thoroughly, we might also be of help with:

  • Helping you choose the best server for your needs
  • Production environment setup and deployment
  • Server: installation & configuration
  • Wowza Control panel setup
  • Wowza Server: performance tuning

If you’re interested in our services, please contact us and we can further discuss your needs.