October 28, 2020

Larix team approach to quality control

Softvelum team puts a lot of efforts into quality assurance of our products, and our mobile products are not an exception. Larix Broadcaster quality control process allows our team to deliver products of a good quality.

We wanted to share some details of the approach that we use so our Larix SDK customers could use it as an example for their own QA procedures.

Check this Wiki from Larix test plans github repo as a starting point. It has links to test plans of Larix Broadcaster for Android and for iOS.

Those test plans describe what we call connectivity tests to check how Larix handles connections via RTMP(S), RTSP, SRT and RIST to a number of streaming recipients like Nimble Steamer, Wowza, Facebook, Twitch, vMix, OBS, and a number of other tools.

Check our Wiki for more details and let us know if you'd like to get even more details.


October 20, 2020

Pallycon DRM support in Nimble Streamer

Softvelum team is glad to announce that Nimble Streamer DRM framework now supports PallyCon multi-DRM for protecting the content using Widevine, FairPlay and Playready encryption technologies.

Softvelum is now among PallyCon technology partners to provide its technology for mutual customers.

Please take a look at our joint PallyCon announcement to find our more about this partnership.



In order to use PallyCon DRM, please follow setup instructions on Nimble DRM page and let us know of any questions.







September 30, 2020

Q3 2020 news: NDI in Nimble Streamer, RIST in Larix Broadcaster, SRT in TV Players

Softvelum team keeps improving the products bundle and we'd like to share the most significant updates with you.


Nimble Streamer

Our flagship product has a number of interesting updates.


Larix Broadcaster

Larix Broadcaster was described in a couple of tutorials:

As for new features, we have them as well.

  • RIST streaming protocol is now supported for Larix Broadcaster for both Android and iOS. It's built with libRIST version 3.0.0 and uses RIST Main profile. Watch video tutorial showing RIST streaming from mobile.
  • Larix Broadcaster now has streaming pause for both Android and iOS. Long tap on Start will pause the stream without disconnecting it, video track will contain a black screen, audio track will contain silence.

Last but not least. We've started to describe our approach to quality assurance of our mobile products in our github Larix testing repo. Here are the areas which we've covered already, more pages are coming soon, as well as new tests for RIST:


Larix Player

Larix Player is the new name of our playback solution for Android and iOS formerly known as "SLDP Player". It's capable of SRT playback as well as Icecast, SLDP and other protocols.

  • Larix Player free app is available in AppStore and Google Play while Larix Player SDK is available for premium licensing.
  • Larix Player is now available in Apple TV / tvOS which means SRT can be played on all Apple devices. Check our Apple developer page for all apps. Watch this video tutorial for setup.
  • Larix Player is also available on Android TV. This allows playing SRT on STBs and TVs, as well as creating your own playback apps with our SDK. Visit player page for details.


That's all for now.

Follow our social networks and channels for future update: TwitterFacebookTelegramLinkedInYouTube and Reddit.

September 29, 2020

RIST support in Larix Broadcaster

RIST protocol support is now available in Larix Broadcaster for iOS and Android.

It has RIST Main Profile Baseline Level using libRIST version 3.0.0.

This show tutorial video shows the setup and usage example of RIST.




September 15, 2020

Building Quick Sync-only pipeline with Nimble Transcoder

Live Transcoder for Nimble Streamer provides many features for transforming live content using both software libraries and hardware acceleration.

Intel® Quick Sync is fully supported in Live Transcoder for decoding and encoding but all filtering operations were performed using CPU. That caused extra resources usage to transfer processed frames among CPU, GPU and RAM.

Nimble Live Transcoder now allows building transcoding pipelines which are performed completely with Quick Sync hardware acceleration. This is done using specific FFmpeg libraries which we use in addition to our own code.

This article shows how to set up this Quick Sync-powered processing chain.

1. Installation and initial setup


We assume you've already set up Nimble Streamer, it's been set up to get an incoming live stream and you've tested basic streaming. In our example we'll use a stream whose application name is "input" and stream name is "source".

If you're not familiar with Live Transcoder, take a look at Transcoder documentation reference.

Notice that the described functionality is available on Ubuntu 20.04 only. We'll support other upcoming LTS Ubuntu releases as well.

The basic steps to make Quick Sync working are as follows:
  1. Create a transcoder license and subscribe for it.
  2. Install Live Transcoder add-on.
  3. Create some simple scenario with CPU transcoding (e.g. downscale your stream to 240p). This way you'll make sure the transcoder was set up properly.
Now create a new scenario to start a new pipeline setup.

2. Decoder setup


Once you create a new scenario, drag and drop a blue decoder element onto the dashboard. There you need to specify "quicksync-ffmpeg" in Decoder field.


That's it. Now let's set up filtering.

3. Using filters


Once the frame is decoded you can process it via a set of ffmpeg filters which will work via Quick Sync. Nimble Transcoder supports a number of those, here are the most frequently used. Notice that you can refer to FFmpeg source code for more details about custom filters. As of September 2020, Nimble Transcoder uses FFmpeg 4.3.1 for some of its operations, including Quick Sync filters.

"Split" - allows creating several identical outputs from input video. It's available as a filter element in a tool box of Transcoder UI.

"Picture" - another filter available via UI element. Its setup for Quick Sync will look like this:



"fps" filter sets the frames per second rate and is defined via a custom filter. Its name is "fps" and the value is "fps=<number>", like "fps=30".

"scale_qsv" filter allows resizing the image. Add a custom filter into your scenario, set name to "scale_qsv" and then use filter parameters of your choice separated by comma. Common parameters are "w" (width) and "h" (height).


Other options include "format", "mode", "low_power", "hq". Please refer to FFmpeg sources file vf_scale_qsv.c for more details.

"vpp_qsv" filter allows transforming the content in a lot of ways, some of its parameters include "deinterlace", "denoise", "framerate" as well as flipping, scaling and a lot more. Please refer to FFmpeg source file vf_vpp_qsv.c for a full list of options.

4. Encoder setup


In order to encode video using Quick Sync within the hardware pipeline, you need to define Encoder as "FFmpeg" and set Codec to "h264_qsv" for H.264/AVC codec.


You can then define its custom parameters like "profile" for encoding profile , "b" for bitrate and many others which you can find in FFmpeg source file qsvenc_h264.c.

If you need to encode to H.265/HEVC, your Codec field must be set to "hevc_qsv".


It also supports a number of parameters like "b" for bitrate and you can find a full list in qsvenc_hevc.c from FFmpeg sources.

Once you finish your scenario and save it, you'll be able to transform your incoming video stream using only Quick Sync hardware acceleration.

When you have a video pipeline set up, you need to define the audio part. If you don't need any sound transformation, you can add a passthrough for it just like it's described in other setup examples.




If you have any questions, issues or questions, please feel free to contact us.

Related documentation


Live Transcoder for Nimble StreamerTranscoder documentation reference,

September 10, 2020

Make thumbnails for live streams

Nimble Streamer now allows generating thumbnails on-the-fly for any outgoing stream. At the moment it's a single-frame MP4 file which can be embedded into any web page via <video> tag.

In order to start generating those thumbnail, you need to enable Generate MP4 thumbnails parameter for either Global setting of the server or for specific applications' settings as shown below.

Once the parameter is enabled, you can access the generated thumbnail via this kind of URL:

http://server_URL:8081/live/stream/thumbnail.mp4


Here are the examples of global and per-application "Generate MP4 thumbnails" setting enabled.  The thumbnails are re-newed within a Interval period which you set up after checking the checkbox, by default it's 6 seconds.


Here's application setting:



Related documentations

Live streaming in Nimble Streamer

August 25, 2020

Install Nimble Streamer with SRT on MacOS using Docker

Nimble Streamer has full support of SRT protocol for the majority of platforms such as Linux and Windows. The MacOS support is missing due to a number of technical reasons. However our customers have been asking us about such capability.

With Docker, you can now bring SRT support in Nimble Streamer on macOS. Nimble will start and work properly on you Mac.

This article assumes you are familiar with macOS Terminal and you have an understanding of networking technologies. It's not a detailed description of Docker technology but rather a how-to describing our specific use case.

Here's a video that follows this article to demonstrate all steps. Read also read the text below to get more details on every step.




Now let's follow the steps below.

1. Install Docker for MacOS


Download Docker from its official website and follow installation instructions for MacOS. Those are very easy steps so we won't describe them in details.

2. Get Dockerfile from our GitHub


Create a new directory on your disk and download Dockerfile from our GitHub.

Change WMSPANEL_ACCOUNT and WMSPANEL_PASS parameters to your login and password in WMSPanel. Use WMSPANEL_SERVER_NAME parameter to set server name, it will be used in WMSPanel at the moment of container compilation and your server will be registered under that name.

3. Build image


Open the Terminal and go to the directory you've created earlier.

Run this command to create an image with the latest version of Nimble Streamer and SRT package:
docker build --no-cache -t nimble-srt:latest .
Now wait for a completion. If the operation was successful, you'll get "Successfully tagged nimble-srt:latest" message and your server will appear in WMSPanel marked as grey.

If anything goes wrong please contact our helpdesk with full log of your operations.

4. Run and Stop container


Now run your newly created container using this command:
docker run -d --rm -p 8081:8081 -p 1935:1935 -p 4444:4444/udp nimble-srt
After that you'll see your server in panel changing its color to green and status to "Running".

Once the container is launched you can connect to it using IP address of your Mac using mapped ports.

This new container is running in closed network of your docker so if you'd like to play streams produced by Nimble Streamer in that container, you need to specify proper IP in server settings at WMSPanel. Go to Servers top menu, then open server info page and click on Manage custom IP/Ports to add the IP of your Mac. After that you'll be able to perform the playback

To stop container, you need to get its ID using "docker ps" command and then stop using "docker stop CONTAINER_ID" command:

osa-vm-macos:nimble_img osa$ docker ps -q
53778662dec3
osa-vm-macos:nimble_img osa$ docker stop 53778662dec3
53778662dec3


5. Port mappings


In previous section we used TCP ports 8081 (for HLS and other HTTP-based protocols), 1935 (for RTMP) and UDP 4444 (for SRT). You may want to user other ports instead or add more ports. Please make sure these ports are not used by macOS.

To add another UDP port for container mapping just add "-p" parameter specifying required port, e.g. "-p 5555:5555/udp". Full command will look like this one:
docker run -d --rm -p 8081:8081 -p 1935:1935 -p 4444:4444/udp -p 5555:5555/udp nimble-srt
If you need TCP port then just remove "/udp".

6. Set up SRT in WMSPanel


Now you can set up SRT streaming using WMSPanel to control your Nimble instance in container with the previously mapped ports. We used port 4444 in our example so the SRT listener setup in "MPEGTS In" tab will look like this:


You can refer to SRT setup article to lean more about SRT setup process in Nimble Streamer.

Once you complete that you can start streaming SRT via IP and port specified above, using any SRT tool of your choice, like ffmpeg + srt-live-transmit, vMix. OBS or Larix Broadcaster.

7. Connect to the console of your container


If you need to log into the console of your container, get container ID first using this command
docker ps -q
Then use the result value in this command:
docker exec -it CONTAINER_ID /bin/bash

Once you get access, you can work with Nimble Streamer logs to track problems or update server parameters via nimble.conf file.

More on virtualization

The Dockerfile which we use in this article can be used for creating containers at other OSes.

Docker for macOS is basically using a small virtual Linux machine to work so you can also use other virtualization methods of running Nimble Streamer with SRT under Mac, like Virtual Box or VMware Workstation. Let us know if you need some special virtual machine to work with hypervisors.

Feel free to tell us about your experience of using Docker with Nimble Streamer.

August 18, 2020

Live Transcoder upgrade

Nimble Streamer Live Transcoder is widely used among Softvelum customers. The core technology of the Transcoder combines both Softvelum team's own know-how and third-parties' work. Those third parties are listed on a corresponding page. One of those elements is FFmpeg which is used for filtering and some decoding operations. We periodically upgrade our code base to work with one of the latest stable releases as it has a number of important fixes and improvements. So in order to keep pace with FFmpeg, our team had to make adjustments and use FFmpeg version 4.2.4.

New FFmpeg version requires changes in both Nimble Streamer and Live Transcoder. So if you decide to make upgrade of Nimble Streamer then in order to make smooth transition Nimble and Transcoder packages will have to be upgraded simultaneously. If one of the packages is upgraded without its counterpart, then live transcoding will stop working.

We'll be releasing new packages for all platforms during next few days.
If you plan upgrading Nimble Streamer to 3.7.0-1 please also upgrade Transcoder package.

Here is what you need to do in order to complete this upgrade the correct way.

For Ubuntu and Debian, run this command
apt-get update
apt-get install nimble nimble-transcoder

For CentOS, run this command
sudo yum makecache
sudo yum install nimble nimble-transcoder


You may also run procedures from Live Transcoder installation page first and then Nimble Streamer upgrade page one after another do get the same result. If you have Windows, you also need to follow this path.

So we recommend you to perform this simultaneous upgrade when you have time and resource for that.


After the upgrade is complete, your Nimble Streamer package version will be 3.7.0-1 and Live Transcoder package version will be 1.1.3-1.


If you have any questions or face any issues during the upgrade, please contact us using our helpdesk.

August 12, 2020

Larix Player on Apple TV

Softvelum team introduces Apple TV support for Larix Player.

You can now play SRT, SLDP, Icecast, RTMP and HLS live streams on tvOS devices.



If you'd like to create your custom Apple TV application you can subscribe for our Larix Player mobile SDK.

August 11, 2020

SRT playback protection and stats

Nimble Streamer has had SRT support since the protocol's inception and our team keeps adding new SRT features into our products.

We see a growing demand for SRT playback using various solutions including Softvelum Larix Player for Android, Android TV, iOS and tvOS. So our customers want to see two major features which they already have for other playback protocols.

Those familiar features are:

So our team followed the feedback and made support for these features.

We've made those features available via Addenda so you'll need to subscribe for this premium package for as long as you need them. Notice that Addenda also covers SRT Publisher Assistance Security Set which allow controlling the publication process via SRT.

Please make sure you subscribe and register an Addenda license on your Nimble server before moving forward.


SRT listener settings


To make reporting and paywall features work, you need to set up SRT listener properly. We assume you are already familiar with SRT setup in Nimble so we'll show just specific settings.

Go to your SRT output settings at Live streams settings menu UDP streaming tab and either create a new stream or edit an existing one.


Listen is currently the only supported mode for this feature set so you need to select it in Mode drop-down.

All other fields' values are defined just like you would do for regular playback. The Local IP and Local port for connections, Source application name and Source stream name for defining the source as well as latency and maxbw parameters for proper error recovery.

nimble-srt-report-stream-name is the new parameter which you need to set up to make this feature work. This parameter's value defines what will be the name of that stream: all playback sessions will be reported under that name and your paywall settings will also use it.

It's set as <app name>/<stream name>. In our example it's live/srtstream.


Viewing statistics in WMSPanel


When your viewer connects to a previously configured SRT listener, one connection will be reported into your stats. If you have several ports opened for different listeners with this feature enabled then you'll see several simultaneous connections.

You'll have these connections counted in all other reports of WMSPanel, such as daily stats, geo-location, streams stats, in-depth streams reports, unique visitors and others.

If you create separate listeners on separate ports but use the same nimble-srt-report-stream-name then both connections will be registered (counted) under that same stream name. This way you can combine data for a single content publisher.

If you have a stream with the same name available via different protocol, then their stats will be combined too. They'll also be show under different columns in daily stats, like you see on a screenshot above.

Multipoint listeners

Nimble streamer supports multipoint listeners option which means that more than one viewers can connect to the same port, and in case of this feature - to the same stream. If you'd like to enable multipoint, read "One-to-many multipoint listener" section in this article.

From statistics perspective, if you create a multipoint listener and 2 viewers connect there then 2 connections will be registered in our reporting.


Paywall support for SRT playback


With nimble-srt-report-stream-name set, a number of features from Softvelum paywall become available for that specific listener:

They are set up the same way as you do for other protocols, follow links above to see detailed instructions. The specific thing for SRT is that you need to specify app name and stream name according to nimble-srt-report-stream-name value. That is <app name>/<stream name> so you put app name into Application field and stream name into Stream field as shown below.

One limitation for paywall is that user agent and referrer restrictions do not apply to SRT.

All other features and approaches described on respective pages and in our paywall FAQ fully apply to SRT. For example, as described in Q6 you can allow stream for just one country and forbid for all others by defining the country in allow list and setting any non-empty password, with SRT checkbox enabled:



If you try playing this SRT stream, you won't be able to do it and you'll see "failed to accept srt socket" error in Nimble log.

That's just one example, visit Paywall page for more information.

Hotlink protection and PPV

This feature is set up the same way as you would do it for HLS or other protocols. You'll need to set up WMSAuth rule with password, then provide your viewers with a URL to your stream with a signature which is based on password and other parameters. Read this page to get all details and to get code examples.

Once you get a signature you will need to add it into your stream URL at streamid parameter this way:

srt://<ip>:<port>/?streamid=wmsAuthSign=<signature> 

Here's an example of running srt-live-transmit this way:

./srt-live-transmit srt://127.0.0.1:2020/?streamid=wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9MDgvMTEvMjAyMCAwMzoxNzowMSBBTSZoYXNoX3ZhbHVlPVZvak5wT3RvSDJWaHJ1UW1UNUdDaHc9PSZ2YWxpZG1pbnV0ZXM9MTA= file://con > /dev/null

You may generate that signature on your website where people open your link with our Larix Player for Android and iOS which handles srt:// deep links\ to open them for playback. Or you can use your own method of delivery to give this link to your viwewers.

Pay-per-view framework is also set up the same way as for other protocols, with the signature placed into the URL at streamid as shown above.


That's it. Please subscribed for Addenda license to use this feature and if you have any questions pelase contact our helpdesk.


Related documentation