Overcoming the Challenges of Streaming Live High Quality HD

Making sure your live video is of high quality is critical to your success. Thankfully the increase of internet speed and better encoding techniques and technology is making broadcasting live video simpler.

Here we will cover some of the primary concerns that you will encounter when trying to broadcast your live stream. We will look at the top 4 challenges you will face when broadcasting live HD video.

Each year the number of internet audiences grows. Last year 81 % of viewers viewed more live video content than the year before. So making sure that your business has high quality video is crucial to get them hooked onto your content.

Why is broadcasting in high quality challenging?

Four reasons for why your video quality can suffer and buffering can interfere with your broadcast.
Obviously this is not an exhaustive list of everything that can go wrong but these are the most common reasons.

  1. Slow connection – slow upload speed
    This reason speaks for itself. If your upload speed is to slow then obviously you can not get your content to the CDN in a smooth manner. This can cause all kinds of issues including the video dropping, buffering and many more problems.

  2. Viewer’s connection is to slow – not enough download speed
    You need to keep in mind your viewers connection speed. For example if you are serving a rural community you can expect your viewers connection speed to be slower. Although this is becoming more rare in today’s world it can still occur. Or if your viewer is on a mobile device with a poor connection. So even if you are doing everything right does not guarantee your viewer will still be able to view it.

  3. Encoder is overloading your computer
    Many people do not realize that encoding can put a strain on your computer. The more demanding the encoding is the more your live broadcast can suffer. You need to make sure you computer has enough processing power and RAM to handle video processing. Also if you are doing a multibitrate or adaptive bit rate stream you will place heavier burdens on your computer. Some broadcasters want to broadcast live, record the stream, and do a multi bit rate stream all at the same time. The bottom line is the more you do the more your machine may overload.

  4. VBR may cause you to go over the max bitrate
    This does not occur as often as some people do not use VBR (Variable Bit Rate). Variable bitrate is a technique that increase and decrease video size (bitrate) depending on how much action is going on in each frame. This can allow for higher quality video at lower bitrates. However it can also have the opposite effect and cause you to exceed your connection speed for short burst of time causing dropped frames. You may be better off keeping a constant lower bitrate.

5 Steps for Streaming Live HD Video

  1. Your Internet Speed
    Make sure you know your upload speed. This is critical because a slow upload speed can ruin your broadcast. Take into account all of your audio and video stream (including multi-bitrate) and add them up. Make sure your internet speed is at-least double your sum total of all your audio and video streams.

A couple of techniques to boost your speed:

Using Ethernet is faster than WIFI
Turn off all devices connected to the same internet connection
Turn off any applications on your computer that are connected to the internet.

  1. Choose the right encoder
    Choose an encoder that meets your needs. Make sure you encoder is compatible with your CDN (your video platform provider). If you are using tvstartup.com to broadcast then any encoder that supports RTMP will work. In fact tvstartup.com has turnkey solutions to get you started including turk key solutions for TV apps on iPhone, Roku, Android, Android TV and more.

  2. Best encoder settings for Live Broadcast in HD

Video Settings

codec: h.264
Key-frame: 2 Seconds

Video Resolutions Settings

426 x 240 pixels (240p)
640 x 360 (360p, Low Definition)
854 x 480 (480p, Standard Definition)
1280 x 720 (720p HD)
1920 x 1080 (1080p, or Full HD)
3840 x 2160 (4K or Ultra HD)
Bitrate settings
Bitrates of all different ranges are quite fine for live broadcast.

3840 x 2160 — 4K, recommended bitrate = 25 Mbps (not recommended for live streaming)
1920 x 1080 — 1080p, recommended bitrate = 4-6 Mbps
1280 x 720 — 720p, recommended bitrate = 3 – 5 Mbps
854 x 480 — 480p, recommended bitrate = 1.5 – 3 Mbps
640 x 360 — AKA 360p, recommended bitrate = 500Kbps – 1 Mbps
426 x 240 pixels — Also known as 240p, recommended bitrate = 256 Kbps

Audio should be the AAC codec. This may not seem as familiar as MP3 but it gives better quality at lower bitrates.

Your sample rate should be 44100Khz and the audio bitrate should match the video resolution:

360p or lower 64Kbp mono

480p and 720p 128 kbps stereo.

1080p and better 256 Kbps stereo

Final Step is to make sure you have the right CDN

A “CDN” also known as a “Content Delivery Network” also known as a “Video Platform” is critical to the success of your live broadcast or IPTV channel. A CDN allows for hundreds, even thousands of viewers to watch your live broadcast simultaneously. Without a CDN you could only serve a few simultaneous viewers before your server would crash. A great CD N will have fantastic DNS load balancing (Balancing the request for your channel efficiently making video load times faster) and will be able to accommodat e large audiences with ease. You also want a CDN that can understand the client side of things. A CDN that knows TV apps like ROKU, iPhone, Android, Amazon FireTV, Android TV, Smart TV’s and more. Tvstartup.com offers turnkey packages including Internet TV channels and apps as well as their large CDN.

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