Streaming video from a remote location to a head-office or directly to a video server or CDN (Content Delivery Network) is now possible with the recent advancements in video streaming technology. Bringing in the complete robust solution together however can require some research. Let’s start with the basics.
Your video source, i.e. your camera would normally provide raw video from its output port. This can be one of the legacy analog ouputs (such as s-video, composite or component), or some of the newer digital outputs (such as HDMI, SD-SDI, HD-SDI or 3G-SDI). The raw video out of your camera is not compressed and therefore is too large to push through any of the Internet connectivity options available today. However video encoding technologies such as h.264 has been successful in compressing the raw video into much smaller digitized video packets without loosing much of the video quality. Once the video is encoded, you can inject the video into a video-server (such as Flash Media Server, Windows Media Server, Wowza etc) that can take in the encoded video IP stream and then can push or can be pulled by viewers over the Internet. Usually the browser, or a video player application then will take the encoded video in and decode it to display on the user’s screen. So in summary, the flow-chart of IP video streaming traverses the following components: camera, IP encoder, transfer over the Internet, Video Server / CDN, end-user decoder.
If you have a fast enough Internet connection that transmits the encoded video to the CDN, you are all set to stream live. For the components from the video camera into the video server, you have various options, namely:
– Using a software based encoder on a laptop. You can use various or paid software applications to accomplish the encoding into the video format you choose. Some examples are, Flash Live Video Encoder, Windows Video Encoder, Wirecast and various other similar encoders. We recommend the highly efficient H.264 codec.
– Using a dedicated hardware based encoder. There are various devices that you can connect your camera and encode your video to stream into a CDN. As an example, Tricaster, Touchstream (now part of Imagine Communications) etc.
For Internet connectivity, ideally you want to use a wired and dedicated Internet connection. Any un-managed line can introduce latency, jitter and loss that can adversely effect your video stream. Ideally you should use a Broadband Bonded set of Internet lines to make sure you have the reliability and jitter mitigation built into your live video streaming solution. We recommend Streamer, Streamer PRO or Teleporter type devices. Such devices can provide you the bonded 3G/4G for optimum video streaming connectivity, or some solutions can go even further to integrate the video encoder into the system (i.e. Teleporter) so that the video encoding is also adapting to the bonded Internet connection. Video streaming over bonded 3G and 4G wireless can be very reliable and high quality, as long as the fluctuations, outages and jitter is managed intelligently by the broadband bonding appliance.
In terms of video servers / CDNs, you can use an ad-supported CDN (such as livestream, ustream, Twitch etc) or you can use a white-label/paid CDN such as Akamai, StreamGuys, Limelight, DaCast etc. Most of these CDNs will be compatible with the video streaming standards being used today.
Cahit Akin, CEO, Mushroom Networks, Inc.
Mushroom Networks is the provider of SD-WAN (Software Defined WAN) and NFV solutions capable of Broadband Bonding that enables self-healing WAN networks that route around network problems such as latency, jitter and packet loss.