First, what is an RTMP server, and even before that, what is RTMP?
RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol) is an application-level protocol owned by Adobe. It was originally designed for delivering on-demand media and live media (i.e live audio, video, and data) over the Internet between a Flash player and an RTMP Media Server. For example, we have the HTMP protocol, which is the sites that you can see on the browser, so the HTMP protocol is for the website. While the RTMP is for media, it allows media files, like video, audio, images, to be easily transferred or streamed by other users.
So an rtmp server is a normal server, or a vps, which has an rtmp software which can then be used to transfer this media files.
Now the important thing on all this is what is this software? And the main softwares that create the RTMP are
1- Flash Media Server, now changed to Adobe Media Server.
3- Wowza, now called, Live Streaming Engine.
And these are the 3 main RTMP servers or software, there are others like Nginx, but not so well known and not really used for production purposes.
How it all started, the RTMP?
It started with Adobe, they the ones who created this software with flash media server, it is a high quality software and it is very expensive, $4500 for the license.
But we must explain the issues with the RTMP, it is very popular some years ago, 2010 and about, every one wanted to make video chats, the problem is that flash is going to be disabled at the end of this year 2020 and video chats with flash will stop working.
But the RTMP has one incredible advantage, it is very fast between servers, a delay of 1 or 2 seconds of latency.
So RTMP will not go out soon because we can use it for live streaming from the broadcaster to the server, using the RTMP and then on the server it is distributed on any device using instead of RTMP using HLS, which means HTTP Live Streaming.
The latency now is 20-25 seconds, so it cannot be used for video chats but is perfectly alright for live streaming and on-demand video streaming.
Then we have Red5, which now has two versions. The paid version is called Red5 Pro, and it is also expensive, difficult to manage, but it can be used for live streaming and for video chats.
Hosting Marketers uses the free open-source software on all our servers, and it was the first shared hosting offering this service.
It is still used on some video chats but not sure what will happen after 2020….
Then we have Wowza, which is the one we mostly use on our RTMP servers, it is very stable, easy to manage and very high quality.
There are many reasons for using Wowza to provide HLS streaming services compared to a generic web server. You’ve essentially listed them yourself, though to provide a few specifics; Wowza’s HLS implementation includes robust DRM functionality, timed data events via ID3 tags, alternative audio tracks. More are listed here.
I would recommend reading our Quick Start Guide which covers the concepts involved. For more detail around the HLS capabilities, I’d suggest you try our rtmp free trial account, on our site.
We also use it for live streaming on sports and Church services with live streaming, we adjust the server to reduce the latency, we can reduce it to 5-6 seconds by making some adjustments.
Given the growing popularity
and support of HTTP video streaming, it may be tempting to consider
Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) streaming obsolete. But in many
cases, working with RTMP server
is still very meaningful. As soon as Macromedia first pronounced RTMP
with Flash Player 6 in 2002, the brand new Macromedia Flash
Communication Server MX (FCS) required to stream the evolving Flash
Video (FLV) format, stream was live or VOD.
for FCS, licensing costs were high (up to $5,000 per server), and as
a result, CDN costs were high than other proprietary streaming
formats. Some manufacturers in the industry have called RTMP
streaming costs a “Flash tax”. But Flash Player has been a
ubiquitous introduction to desktop browsers for well over a decade,
much larger than other plug-ins. Though, streaming server technology
has traditionally been harder for web developers to implement, and
simpler HTTP delivery has mostly been easier and more cost-effective.
In 2003, Macromedia enabled Flash Player 7 to support HTTP delivery
of FLV files, allowing integrators to use standard web server
technology to deploy online video.
in many ways, RTMP as a VOD transport delivery has not been a
requirement for web video for more than a decade. As a video solution
architect, I think of business requirements as the leader in most
audio video decisions. And still, in 2014, RTMP is the de facto
standard for the following use cases:
live streams from software/hardware encoders:
Almost all streaming devices support RTMP to publish to CDN providers
and streaming servers. Some native mobile applications also use RTMP
libraries to publish live video from their mobile camera.
One of the benefits of RTMP streaming is its enhanced search
capability. With real-time streaming, the player can search anywhere
in the video with less buffering than HTTP delivery. However, to
enjoy this feature, you need a Flash Player on your desktop and as
such, it is not possible in mobile browsers. HTML5 browsers use HTTP
domain requests to facilitate faster searching of VOD files.
can facilitate different levels of content protection, from
obfuscation to true DRM. RTMP streams are not stored for playback on
a desktop browser.
Streaming: One of
the preferred uses of RTMP is adaptive streaming playback, where we
provide the video player with more bitrates and content resolutions,
providing the best resolution at the current network speed. Some HTTP
adaptive streaming technologies, such as HLS and MPEG-DASH, allow
similar delivery, but RTMP may be more responsive to switching one
bitrate to another. Unfortunately, there is no standard for HTTP
adaptive streaming between HTML5 video-enabled browsers. As such, the
Flash-based display of adaptive streaming is still a requirement for
While live streams do not need to be adaptive, compressed video
segments apply the same principle to all live streaming playback. For
desktop playback within the browser, virtually every live streaming
event requires a video player that supports Flash-based rendering and
RTMP playback. Apple Safari on iOS natively supports HLS, and
luckily, all modern streaming servers, including the Wowza Streaming
Engine, support RTMP and HLS compression.
The requirement for a Live
Streaming Flash Player will only change if MPEG-DASH appears
everywhere as Flash currently. If Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10
support is required to install live streaming, then RTMP streaming is
still required. Also, if you need a delay close to zero in a live
stream, then HTTP streaming will almost certainly not meet your needs
while RTMP is capable; HTTP mechanisms require that multiple packets
be collected on the server before being sent to the video player.
summary, if your video workflow involves live streaming or any kind
of packaged video installation, RTMP is the key to a successful video
experience. HTTP delivery has already replaced most Flash VOD
installs on video, but HTTP video can’t handle all RTMP video use
important setup on Red5 Server is the Python Hosting offered to all
hosting customers, with python cpanel hosting the advantage is
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hosting. With Python
Hosting and rtmp server the customer can really start a
webmasters and increase a number of usages to host python scripts or
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Transcode and deliver stream using a format that plays in Chrome mobile browser, like MPEG DASH or WebRTC.
RTMP is still used quite a bit by broadcasting application and hardware, such as Wirecast and OBS.
It’s not widely used for end delivery anymore, though. As viewing RTMP streams pretty much requires a flash plugin, and most modern browsers have (or are) dropping support for it, other solutions are the norm today.
HTTP live streaming is widely used because it uses existing CDN:s for delivery, and plays natively on smartphones – which is a huge selling point today. In 2018 52% of all web traffic was through mobile phones.
Red5 is a media server created with Java language. It is a free open source software but recently a new version Red5 Pro came out developed by the same people, this new version supports streaming to mobiles, Android or iOS, which red5 does not. The Red5 Pro is commercial product and costs $55 per server.
A media server allows Flash based applications connect to it using Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP). The server can send and receive data to and from the connected users who have a flash player installed. The server also allows users to receive and publish streams. This permits video chat applications, live streaming and even ondemand video streaming.
Most common Video chat software’s are:
For live streaming the necessary tool if you already have a server with red5 installed is an encoder, an encoder is the software that will connect your computer to the red5 server using the RTMP, which your server provider will give you.
1- FMLE, it is an free Adobe product and does a good job.
2- Wirecast, it is an expensive commercial product of very high quality, absolutely necessary if you starting a TV station.
Although red5 is a free product many people prefer to use Wowza Streaming Engine or Adobe Flash Media Server which are commercial software’s and can be quite expensive, the FMS costs $4500 per server. The reason is that the developers of red5 although have created a wonderful system did not spend much time with tutorials and instructions on how to install and manage a red5 server, for this reason if you searching for a red5 server we suggest you pick a web host which specializes on red5 servers and red5 shared hosting.
1- Red5 Servers relatively cheap red5 servers starting at $15 a month.
2- Red5 Hosting, Hosting Marketers, a web host for experienced webmasters, it is the oldest hosting company specialized on Video and media servers, they also offer Wowza Streaming Engine on its shared plans. They have a very experienced customer support and a reputation for going out of their way to help customers. They starting plan with Red5 enabled costs $9.95 a month. Most other red5 hosting companies are resellers of Hosting Marketers.
Red5 is a formidable media server, extremely flexible and has the advantage of being a free product with with many people working on developing it, for now the main version does not yet work with mobiles, if that is what you need we suggest that instead of using the Red5 Pro version to use the Wowza instead. Hosting Marketers also offers Wowza, in fact they even offer a 3 days free trial.