April 9, 2017

Streams failover hot swap via Live Transcoder

Nimble Streamer Live Transcoder now supports hot swap capabilities for live streaming scenarios.

This covers use cases when there is some original (primary) stream active all the time and a substitute (secondary) stream to replace it on some occasions. Those include cases like emergency stream activation and an opposite one like streams failover which is described below.

During stream failover, the substitute stream is always active and once the original stream goes down, the data from substitute stream is taken. Once the original stream is online again, it replaces the substitute stream back.

This feature requires making the swap smoothly from viewers point of view, which means a player must not stop the playback. Nimble Streamer covers this properly.

The setup is similar to emergency stream hot swap. with a few changes.

April 5, 2017

Emergency streams hot swap via Live Transcoder

Many of our customers requested us to support hot swap capabilities for live streaming scenarios.

This basically refers to use cases when there is some original (primary) stream active all the time, some substitute (secondary) stream to swap on some occasions, and either of the following actions needs to be done:

  • Emergency stream activation. The substitute stream is usually inactive but when it goes live, it must replace the original stream. Once the secondary stream becomes inactive, the original stream must be continued.
  • Failover stream. The substitute stream is active and once the original stream goes down, the data from substitute stream is taken. Once the original stream is back online, it replaces the substitute stream again.

Both cases require to make the swap smoothly from viewers point of view, which means a player must not stop the playback. Nimble Streamer handles both cases correctly. This article covers the first case.

Emergency stream hot swap is used for several cases, and the most notable example is the support of United States Emergency Alert System (EAS). It requires a broadcaster to replace any media with the content provided by EAS once it becomes available.

Let's take a look at the setup process of this capability.

March 31, 2017

2017Q1 news

First quarter of 2017 was full of updates for all major products of our company.

Before telling the news, we'd like to mention that our company CEO and CTO will be visiting 
NAB Show 2017 this April.
If you'd like to meet us and talk about our products, plans or anything around - just drop us a note so we could schedule proper time slot.

Also, check out the State of Streaming Protocols for Q1 of 2017 is available with MPEG-DASH going up.

Nimble Streamer

Our software media server and its transcoder got a number of important updates.

We've ported Nimble to IBM POWER8 architecture. It's a good addition to traditional x64 and ARM which were supported before.

Speaking of hardware, we ran an extensive testing of latest NVidia Tesla M60 graphic card in IBM Bluemix Cloud Platform to see how much it increases the performance of Live Transcoder for Nimble Streamer. We got excellent results, read this article for full details.

Live Transcoder now uses two more coding libraries in addition to already supported ones:

Video and audio can also be binded together in case they come from un-synced sources. Read this article for details. Those un-synced sources may be video and audio files - our transcoder is now capable of producing live streams from them. Same article describes how this can be done. You can also check our videos which illustrate this process.

CEA-708 subtitles forwarding is now available in Nimble Streamer for both transmuxing and transcoding.

Handling live streams timing errors compensation for DVR was added as well.

A couple of updates for our protocols processing engine:

  • RTSP can now be take over HTTP using VAPIX.
  • MPEG-TS processing was enhanced by adding mux rate. We've also added a brief troubleshooting section in the corresponding article to make sure our customers can overcome typical issues related to UDP delivery. Read this article for more details.

New WMSPanel statistics

ASN viewers count metric is now available in WMSPanel. It will be useful for those companies that want to build delivery networks with better latency and user experience.

Larix Mobile Broadcasting SDK

Mobile SDK have continuously been improved. You can find all latest versions' descriptions in SDK release notes.

Android and iOS

Both platforms had the following updates:

  • Multiple connections streaming. You can add several connections profiles and choose up to 3 connections for simultaneous streaming. You can stream to several destinations like your primary and secondary origin servers and also target it to some third-party service like YouTube Live or Twitch.
  • Limelight authentication is available. You can publish your streams directly into Limelight CDN for further delivery.
  • Streaming and user experience improvements.

Windows Phone

We've added various updates to Windows Phone application to make it up-to-date with the fixes on other platforms.

As always you can find the latest releases of Larix Broadcaster streaming app in AppStore, Google Play and Windows Store.

The next quarter will bring more features so stay tuned. Follow us at FacebookTwitter or Google+ to get latest news and updates of our products and services.

The State of Streaming Protocols - 2017 Q1

Softvelum team which operates WMSPanel reporting service continues analyzing the state of streaming protocols.

First quarter of 2017 has passed so let's take a look at stats. The media servers connected to WMSPanel processed more than 10 billion connections from 3300+ media servers (operated by Nimble Streamer and Wowza) during past 3 months.

First, let's take a look at the chart and numbers:

The State of Streaming Protocols - 2017 Q1

You can compare that to the picture of 2016 Q4 protocols landscape:

The State of Streaming Protocols - 2016 Q4

In the 4th quarter of 2016 it had being collected from 3200+ servers.

What can we see?

  • HLS is still stable at ~3/4 of all connections, its share is 70%.
  • RTMP is at the same level and even increased its share to 12%. Low latency streaming use case still need this protocol.
  • Progressive download is 3rd popular at 6%.
  • MPEG-DASH overcame HDS, Icecast and MPEG-TS going up by nearly 3 times by views count - it's now 5th popular protocol.
  • RTSP and Icecast kept their shares.

So MPEG-DASH is the only protocol which was visibly improving. You can also check December summary of steaming protocols.

We'll keep analyzing protocols to see the dynamics. Check our updates at FacebookTwitter or Google+.

March 15, 2017

VA API (libVA) support in Nimble Streamer

Video Acceleration API (VA API) is a royalty-free API along with its implementation as free and open-source library (libVA). This API provides access to hardware-accelerated video processing, using hardware such as graphics processing units (GPU) to accelerate video encoding and decoding by offloading processing from CPU.

Nimble Streamer supports VAAPI and allows using libVA in Live Transcoder as one of the options for encoding among other libraries and SDKs.

Let's see how you can start using libVA in Nimble Streamer Live Transcoder.

March 7, 2017

Nimble Streamer on IBM Power8 platform

Nimble Streamer media server is being developed as a native application for all popular platforms. You can see this in the full list of supported OSes. It also supports basic architectures available at the majority of hosting providers.

Today we add support for a new platform, POWER8 by IBM, a family of symmetric multiprocessors. Both Nimble Streamer and Live Transcoder were ported so you can use full capabilities of our products on this platform, including live streaming, VOD, DVR and build delivery networks of any kind.

Check installation instructions for Ubuntu to proceed with deployment. Only Ubuntu 14.04 is currently supported at the moment.

Nimble Streamer can be potentially ported and embedded to any platform or OS, so feel free to contact us in case you have some special cases.

Related documentation

Nimble Streamer, Live Transcoder,

February 27, 2017

Stress-testing NVidia GPU with IBM

Recently we finished extensive testing of latest NVidia Tesla M60 graphic card in IBM Bluemix Cloud Platform to see how much it increases the performance of Live Transcoder for Nimble Streamer.

We got excellent results, please read this article for more details:

Stress-testing NVidia GPU for live Ttranscoding

February 16, 2017

FDK AAC encoder and decoder in Nimble Transcoder

Live Transcoder for Nimble Streamer has full support for AAC decoding and encoding, along with various audio filters like re-sampling, transrating or audio channels manipulations.

Now we add FDK AAC support for both decoding and encoding. It allows adding HE-AAC and HE-AACv2 to your transcoding scenarios. This is also another alternative to ffmpeg decoder for audio streams, while having decent quality.

Let's see how you can set up FDK usage in your scenarios.

February 14, 2017

Forward CEA-708 subtitles with Nimble Streamer

Providing subtitles as part of live streaming is important and is required by law is some countries. So people ask adding that capability into Nimble Streamer in addition to VOD subtitles support.

There are cases when source stream which comes into Nimble Streamer already contains subtitles metainformation. So now Nimble allows forwarding CEA-708 subtitles. This means that all outgoing streams for all supported protocols will include subtitles.

This works for both transmuxing and transcoding.

Transmuxing support this forwarding by default. Whatever metainformation is inserted into the original stream, it is passed through to all other protocols.

To make this work in Live Transcoder scenarios, you need to enable this feature for outgoing streams. It's a premium add-on for this media server and it has easy-to-use web UI to control transcoding behavior. To install and get a license for it, visit this page.
To enable this feature fr particular encoded stream, you need to edit an encoder block for the stream which you want subtitles to be forwarded for.

Transcoder scenario

Click on encoder details icon to open encoder details dialog.

Enable "Forward CEA708 subtitles" for encoder

Check the Forward CEA-708 subtitles box and save settings to close the dialog. Then click Save on scenario age to apply it on server.

That's it - the forwarding will start working right after a scenario is saved on server.

Feel free to visit Live Transcoder webpage for other transcoding features description and contact us if you have any question.

Related documentation

Handling live streams timing errors in Nimble Streamer DVR

Sometimes when an MPEG-TS stream is received from media source, it may have some glitches either in video or audio. This is caused by third-party encoders which set incorrect time stamps assigned to media fragments - they may go back and forth in some un-predicted range. This also happens even when the source stream is transmuxed into other protocols, e.g. RTMP.

This may bother the viewers and also cause media servers to malfunction during the recording of the stream. Nimble Streamer allows compensating those timing issues and perform correct recording of video and audio in DVR. If the compensation can't help, then Nimble just removes the chunk and resets recording period.

Go to Nimble Streamer top menu, select Live Streams Settings menu and select DVR tab to open its settings.

Choose the designated stream properties and find Error correction section and check Drop invalid segments checkbox. This will perform the required correction to the recorded media, and the playback will be smooth from player point of view.

DVR setup with invalid segments handling

If you have any further questions, contact our team.

Related documentation

February 9, 2017

Viewing ASN statistics for streaming connections

A number of our large customers build and maintain their own media content deliver networks. Common layout includes origin servers to process the content from its sources and edge servers which handle connections from end-users who watch and listen the media.

It's important to locate edges as close to possible viewers as possible to reduce latency and improve overall user experience. So you need a way to determine optimal physical location for each edge. This is why it's important to know what ASNs your viewers have. That will allow putting your edges on a proper hosting location with proper network peers.

WMSPanel allows showing ASN statistics of your views showing how many connections were made with from the most active ASNs. It's part of our media servers reporting framework.

January 25, 2017

Binding un-synced video and audio sources in Live Transcoder

Live Transcoder for Nimble Streamer has wide range of content transformation features which can be used in transcoding scenarios.

Some scenarios may require to take unrelated and un-synchronized sources of content and bind them together into a synchronized stream. This capability covers some major use cases like the following to name just a few:

  • YouTube does't accept audio-only and video-only content, so you need to add missing video/audio in order to comply.
  • Take video stream (e.g. a game footage) and put commentator's voice on top.
  • Online radio graphics overlay: take Icecast online radio stream, put still picture as video and publish it on a website or an external CDN so common video player could play sound and has was visual representation.
  • Take surveillance camera video stream, insert some sound of silence from MP3 or MP4 file and publish it to external destination - like aforementioned YouTube or CDN.

Nimble Streamer Transcoder is currently capable of both transforming file content for further live streaming usage and synchronizing it. Let's see how you can do this.

January 1, 2017

Year of 2016 overview

Happy New Year!

We wish you and your company all the best in the new year of 2017!

To celebrate this upcoming year, we would like to make a summary of what was done during past 12 months of 2016.

You might have noticed the mention of Softvelum, LLC in many updates. That's right - we've grown from a startup established in 2011 into a technology company so this incorporation was performed to build a platform for further activities. We've been strengthening our team this year and we're ready for new challenges!
As a company, we're honored to have Nimble Streamer as a finalist of Streaming Media Europe Readers Choice Awards 2016 in the "Best Streaming Innovation" nomination!
We appreciate this acknowledgment and we'd like to thank everyone who voted for us.

Before getting into products summary, let's take a look at the State of Streaming Protocols for 2016. It shows current status of streaming technologies and compares it to the data back from 2015.

Now, let's see what was new in our products set.

Nimble Streamer

Our flagship product was continuously improved through the year. Here are most notable enhancements from what was implemented.

Nimble Streamer is now available for ARM architecture and its installation packages are built for for Raspberry Pi / Orange Pi / Odroid.
Read this page for all details regarding Nimble Streamer embedding capabilities.

Transmuxing engine was improved to improve performance and take more codecs as input. New codecs include H.265, VP6, VP8 and VP9 as video input with AC3, E-AC3, Speex and PCM G.711 for audio input. This gives more capabilities for broadcasters who receive media from various source and want to bring it to the internet viewers.

Icecast transmuxing was also added into common engine and now it allows taking AAC audio from any input stream and deliver it both as playback stream and as republished stream. You can also define metadata for any outgoing Icecast stream. Read more about current audio streaming feature set here.

DVR feature set was also improved through the year to improve performance and also get timeshift scheduled recording.

Subtitles support was added for VOD streaming to follow with multiple customers requests.

Nimble control API was significantly improved, it now covers full set of operations that are available via web UI. Also, Nimble status native API was updates with new calls.

Server control capabilities can now be granted to non-admin users by account administrators.

Paywall framework for Nimble Streamer was also improved with new blocking capabilities: by User agents and by Referer HTTP headers.

One more significant feature is Publish Control Framework. It allow setting full control over RTMP and RTSP streams publication process - you can apply your own business logic to any incoming streams. This is especially useful for people who create their own mobile broadcasting services as they need to find a way to control their content contributors.

Live Transcoder

We had many questions from our customers about content transformation in Nimble Streamer - like changing resolution, bitrate, graphics overlay and many other. So after technical and legal research, we've released Live Transcoder. It's a premium addition for freeware media server available via license subscription.

It supports multiple video and audio codecs for decode and encodes it into H.264/AAC output streams with codecs passthrough option.

After the content is decoded you can also apply wide variety of FFmpeg filters to transform the content as you need for your live stream. This includes changing the resolution, bitrate, profile, applying graphics overlay, adding picture-in-picture video and much more.

All operations are performed via excelled drag-n-drop web UI, you can check this playlist of videos to see it in action.

Besides software decoding and encoding, Live Transcoder supports Intel QuickSync and NVidia GPU hardware acceleration technologies. This allows combining flexible filtering, excellent UI and best hardware transcoding technologies into a single powerful product.

Visit Live Transcoder website to learn more about its capabilities.

Mobile SDK

Larix mobile broadcasting SDK was extremely popular during this year.

We improved feature sets for both iOS and Android to add highly required features - you can see list of major features here and also check Larix Broadcaster to see them in action.

After multiple requests we've released our mobile streaming SDK for Windows Mobile platform along with Larix Broadcaster WinPhone version. So now our SDK covers all popular mobile platforms.

We also used our streaming library in new app called Larix Screencaster - it's an Android application that allows streaming the content of your screen. This is helpful for game streamers, educators and all those who need to share their device screens to wide audience.

You can obtain latest SDKs using this purchase page in just a couple of steps .


Our reporting and control panel was also improved with a new set of metric - Unique visitors. It allows calculating how many actual users were viewing your content within each slice and each file or stream in case of Deep stats usage.

WMSPanel stats API was also improved to return all available metrics with more convenient methods.

These are the basic updates but we've done a lot more than that - check our blog and website for more. You can use the new Search page which covers our resources.

We'll continue keeping you up-to-date with all new features and improvements.
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