HLS by StreamGuys: Improved Reliability and Scalability for the Modern Broadcaster

Posted in HLS on Mar 28, 2023

In today’s digital age, streaming audio and video content has become a vital aspect of any content creator. The rise of live events, on-demand videos, and podcasts over the past few years has created an overwhelming audience demand. StreamGuys' HLS solution is designed to deliver your content in a reliable and scalable manner, making it the perfect choice for broadcasters and content creators looking to improve their user experience with modern streaming technologies.

What is HLS?

HLS is a streaming protocol developed by Apple to allow audio or video content to be delivered over the internet in a segmented format. The content is broken up into smaller chunks (often 6-10 seconds long) and delivered over HTTP. This segmentation eliminates the need for each listener to have a consistent internet connection to the streaming server. It also means temporary congestion or network drops won’t impact the listener’s streaming experience. In addition, HLS supports Adaptive Bitrate playback, which allows media players to switch between bitrates/qualities to play the highest quality a user’s network conditions allow. If you temporarily have lower network speeds, the media player can seamlessly switch to a lower-quality stream, continuing playback at the lower quality.

Benefits of StreamGuys’ HLS:

Resiliency: with HLS, audio, and video content is delivered in smaller chunks, which means that if there is a brief change or drop in the network, the stream will continue to play without any disruption. This makes HLS a resilient solution for mobile streaming, where cellular networks or wifi can be unreliable. The segmented nature of HLS means users can also remain connected to the stream while switching cell towers or switching between WiFi and Cellular.

Metadata Accuracy: Older audio streaming protocols like Icecast send metadata out-of-band, which leads to a drift in timing between the audio and metadata. This means your song metadata isn’t exactly time aligned. Even worse, your ad insertion might happen a little early or late, leading to a rough transition to and from ad breaks. HLS has solved this with frame-accurate metadata, allowing for seamless transitions between song metadata or ad breaks. The metadata is included in the same data chunks as the audio, which means that the encoder can insert metadata at precisely the time an ad or song changes. This accurate metadata ensures that your content is delivered precisely as intended.

Ad-Insertion Support: Ad-insertion is critical for monetizing most content online. StreamGuys’ HLS solution offers a seamless ad insertion process, allowing for monetization and delivery of targeted ads to the audience. With HLS, ad-insertion can use ID3 metadata in the HLS chunks, or SCTE-35 triggers in the manifest files. SCTE-35 has traditionally been used in the video world, but StreamGuys is innovating to make SCTE-35 ad insertion available to audio broadcasters as well. Contact us to discuss your specific requirements and learn which technology is right for you.

AAC Support: StreamGuys’ HLS is a versatile solution for streaming audio and video content. AAC support in HLS enables high-quality audio streaming with a reduced bitrate. AAC codecs are more efficient than MP3 and have continued to improve over the last few years with xHE-AAC as the latest version. AAC codecs are the standard codecs used in HLS streams, and can be used in any device/browser that supports HLS. AAC provides 2x to 4x bandwidth savings over MP3 at the same sound quality. That means your users can remain connected with even less bandwidth, and you save on egress costs.

Content Protection Option: Our HLS solution is compatible with SGcontrol, a comprehensive content protection solution that enables content creators to securely deliver their media assets by encrypting media files, controlling access to content, and implementing restrictions against unauthorized use. SGcontrol is a powerful content protection solution that delivers your content with the highest level of protection and security, while also ensuring a high-quality streaming experience for your viewers.

How is StreamGuys’ HLS different?

StreamGuys’ HLS solution is based on a cloud-based infrastructure that can scale to meet the demands of any audience size. Typically, the workflow starts with the broadcaster encoding their audio or video content using an HLS-compatible encoder. While directly encoding HLS is a great option, StreamGuys also offers cloud-based transmuxing to create HLS from a different protocol. With transmuxing, the encoded content is delivered to StreamGuys’ cloud-based infrastructure, where it is segmented into HLS and delivered over HTTP to viewers’ devices.

StreamGuys’ HLS solution is an excellent choice for broadcasters looking to stream their content in a reliable and scalable way. With its support of frame-accurate metadata, high volume delivery, AAC format, mobile resiliency, and seamless ad insertion that offers these benefits, contact us to learn more!

Back to News