Tip #635: HTTP Live Streaming

… for Codecs & Media

Tip #635: HTTP Live Streaming

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

HTTP Live Streaming compensates for shifts in bandwidth for mobile devices.

HTTP Live Streaming compression settings applied to a job-chained clip.

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The problem with mobile devices is that the bandwidth that connects them to the web changes as they move from one cell tower to another. This becomes important when watching movies that are longer than 10 minutes.

Apple Compressor has a feature – called HTTP Live Streaming – that compensates for this difference in bandwidth. This process compresses a master file into ten-second segments, using seven different frame sizes and bandwidths. In the case of my one-hour webinars, it generates about 2,000 separate segments.

This allows the server to seamlessly switch between different quality levels as bandwidth changes. If you are connected via a high-speed Internet WiFi connection, all these different segments are ignored. They only apply to mobile devices connected via cell towers.

My website has supported this playback style for seven years now. The problem is that implementing this takes a bit of programming from your webmaster.


Here’s an article that explains this process in more detail. Remember, this only applies to movies longer than ten minutes which are NOT streaming on a social media service.

The reason you don’t need to worry about this if your files are streamed on Facebook or Vimeo, et al, is that these services create the HLS versions automatically on their servers.

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