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RTMP and its Role in Video Delivery


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What is Real-Time Messaging Protocol and how does it work?

The Real-Time Messaging Protocol or RTMP was originally developed by Macromedia and later acquired by Adobe as a low latency TCP based protocol which is able to effectively deliver audio, video and data. Due to the decline of Flash in recent years, RTMP use has also decreased in popularity as newer protocols such as HLS or DASH have become more widely used (along with RTSP) for low latency streaming.


The main difference between the RTMP and the HLS protocols is that during the streaming process an active connection is opened when a TCP connection is established. The RTMP connection begins when a handshake occurs, it consists of three packets which are exchanged by the server and the client. This is slightly different when compared to the playback of HTTP streams which function based on a buffer of cached chunks downloaded from a streaming server.

RTMP diagram

With the rise of client-side encoding software such as Open Broadcaster Software, RTMP has played a transit stream role instead of the primary stream playback role. RTMP is then transcoded into a format such as HLS which is optimized for delivery and end-user playback, since it is based on a manifest that contains video tracks consisting of individual segments, which are also able to be easily cached by a CDN. It is the ideal choice for delivering video to multiple video devices, using various internet speeds.

RTMP transcoding and ABR compatibility

At M1GC, we accept a range of ingest signals including RTMP which we are able to then transcode into a format optimized for CDN Delivery. Converting your RTMP stream into HTTP protocols creates additional support for adaptive bitrate streaming (ABR) and playback compatibility on a wide range of desktop and mobile devices, including iOS and Android.


We can accept an RTMP Push stream from your encoding software or we are also able to pull an existing RTMP Stream. It is also possible to simultaneously restream your RTMP stream onto third party streaming sites such as Youtube or Facebook.

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