March 30, 2021

Q1 2021 news: Cloud backups, Advertizer, Talkback, tutorials and more

Softvelum team kept working on products' improvements during Q1 of 2021 so let's see what we've got.


WMSPanel cloud service is the best way to control Nimble Streamer as it provides web UI for operating the vast majority of its features. Nimble settings are defined in the panel and synced up with Nimble instance.

Our customers always needed some way to back up their server settings, so in Q1 we introduced Nimble Cloud Backup. With cloud backups you can save streaming configs of your Nimble Streamer instances into distributed cloud database to improve redundancy. You can do it manually or automatically. If a customer needs to get back to some version of their cloud backup, he or she can restore it within WMSPanel account as a new server instance. After a backup is restored, a customer can initiate respective server instance to obtain these settings from WMSPanel, thus make new server to move into previous state. Learn more about Cloud Backups and try it in action.


Nimble Streamer Advertizer now has VOD server-side ads insertion. At the moment, HLS output with MPEG-TS and fMP4 containers is supported. Take a look at VOD SSAI overview article and also read tech spec page for full details.

We are working on other improvements for server-side ads insertion so stay tuned for updates.


SLDP protocol is actively used by our customers to provide low latency playback, especially after Flash has been officially abandoned and has put RTMP playback at denial. One of the use cases that our customers have discovered is browser-based videowall.

So we've made mosaic videowall demo page which allows playing 4 streams simultaneously. You can make your own mosaic using reference simplified version on our github. You may change it accordingly to make as many players as you need.


This quarter we also posted a number of video tutorials on our YouTube channel.

  • Converting NDI to Apple Low Latency HLS. There we demonstrate how you can use Nimble NDI feature set to get NDI input and transform it into Apple Low Latency HLS output. This can be a great case for customers who need to deliver live streams with low latency, check this brief description as well.
  • NDI to SRT to AWS Elemental MediaConnect via Nimble Streamer. Amazon recently introduced SRT support in their MediaConnect service. In our video we show how to take NDI input and use SRT feature set to stream live content out into AWS.
  • Widevine EZDRM setup in Nimble Streamer. Nimble DRM allows protecting live, DVR and VOD content using Widevine, Playready and FairPlay using various key management providers. This video uses EZDRM to show how easily you may set up Nimble DRM.
  • RTMP setup in Nimble Streamer. RTMP feature set is one of the most popular in Nimble Streamer so there we show all major scenarios related to the protocol.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to get other upcoming updates.


Larix Broadcaster has got a number of significant updates this quarter.

Larix Broadcaster now supports Talkback, which is the ability to get an audio return feed. So while you generate a stream, you may get audio stream via SRT, RTMP, SLDP or even Icecast. This is a great feature for those creators who need to get a word from their studios while streaming live. Other updates of Larix include SRT Listen and Rendezvous support and some improvements for RIST protocol.

The talkback feature already got some attention. Take a look at How to: mobile reporter video demonstrating SRTMiniServer working with Larix Broadcaster by getting its live stream and returning talk back feed.

Larix Broadcaster SDK for Android and SDK for iOS pages now have architecture overview of Larix Broadcaster to make it easier to understand for beginners. They also refer to apps' sample code available on github.

Larix Player for Android and iOS was also updated with fresh libsrt and got SRT playback in Listen and Rendezvous modes.

You can learn more about Talkback, Larix SDKs updates and other features by reading this blog post.

Also, since we've mentioned MediaConnect, we've made Stream to AWS MediaConnect via SRT from Larix Broadcaster article describing the process in case you need to stream there from mobile.


That's all for now. Follow us via social networks to get our updates as they appear: Twitter, Facebook, Telegram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Reddit.

March 23, 2021

NDI to SRT to AWS Elemental MediaConnect via Nimble Streamer

AWS Elemental MediaConnect can now receive SRT streams which means a lot of streaming software is able to deliver content there.

Being an active SRT Alliance member, Softvelum is excited to see this shift. So we decided to make a simple video where we show how Nimble Streamer can get NDI stream, transform it into SRT and publish to MediaConnect.



The described use case gives flexibility for various live production teams which use NDI as their primary format and who want to deliver their content over Amazon network.

Feel free to try this approach in action.

Take a look at related materials as well:


March 22, 2021

Stream to AWS MediaConnect via SRT from Larix Broadcaster

AWS Elemental MediaConnect recently announced their support for SRT ingest. This makes it capable of receiving streams from all modern encoders, media servers and other SRT-powered software.

Larix Broadcaster has full support of SRT besides RTMP. RTSP and RIST, it also allows streaming simultaneously to multiple destinations.

Here's a brief instruction for how you can stream from Larix to MediaConnect using SRT.


Set up MediaConnect


First, log into your AWS account, go to MediaConnect control page and open Flows section.

Then click on Create flow to enter flow creation dialog.


First you enter a name for your flow and select availability zone if you need to. The Protocol name needs to be SRT listener. Another important field to specify is Inbound port which will be used for further connection setup. Also, White list CIDR block must be specified to allow your devices streaming into Media Connect.

Once you save the flow, you'll see the Inbound IP address, you'll need it for further connection setup.


Click on Start for your flow to get it ready to receive the content.

Now let's proceed with Larix Broadcaster setup.


Set up Larix Broadcaster via Larix Grove


If you haven't installed Larix Broadcaster yet, you can do it via Google Play and AppStore.

Now, in order to set up Larix easily, we'll use Larix Grove. Larix Grove format allows propagating streaming setting across devices using special URL. It can be distributed via QR code for easier import in your device. So we'll create QR code with our SRT ingest point.

Go to Larix Grove wizard, enter srt://ipaddress:port in URL field and select Caller mode for this connection. Click on QR code button to get the image.


Having the QR code, scan it it on our device using any app capable of that. It will open Larix Broadcaster and will import the connection settings automatically. All you'll need to do  after that it to tap on big red start button to initiate the stream.


Check MediaConnect input


Now go to MediaConnect, you'll see when your input becomes active.


You will see charts which means you have the stream up and running. You may also change flow setup if you need to make changes specific to SRT protocol, like set up latency, maxbw or other parameters.



You can use AWS Elemental MediaConnect documentation to see what you can do next with your stream.


Related documentation

SRT capabilities of Softvelum productsLarix Broadcaster, AWS Elemental MediaConnect docs


March 20, 2021

Mosaic videowall with SLDP

We've released a demo page with mosaic videowall of SLDP HTML5 players in 2*2 grid. This is a useful setup for cases when you need to manually monitor and track multiple SLDP real-time streams on the same screen. By default, the sound is muted so it would not interfere, and players instances have VU-meters to track the audio level.

You can make your own mosaic using reference simplified version on our github. You may change it accordingly to make as many players as you need.

Learn more about SLDP low latency protocol and its benefits.

March 15, 2021

Converting NDI to Apple Low Latency HLS

Nimble Streamer supports NDI processing to get real-time input and produce multiple output formats. Apple Low Latency HLS is one of the protocols that can be produced from NDI.

We've made a brief video demonstration of how Nimble Streamer can produce Apple Low Latency HLS from NDI source stream.


Here are the steps described there:

  1. We use Nimble Streamer instance which has been previously installed.
  2. That instance has SSL set up with HTTP/2 enabled.
  3. Low Latency HLS is then enabled for a separate application.
  4. Then NDI processing was set up via Nimble Live Transcoder.
  5. The output is then checked for playback on Mac and iPhone.
We used default recommended settings:
  • 6 seconds chunks,
  • 1000ms parts duration,
  • 2000ms key frame interval.
Our latency is around 4 seconds on both Apple devices. You can follow our Low Latency HLS setup article to get more details about reducing the latency and other tips and tricks.

You can also watch Low Latency HLS setup tutorial and NDI setup tutorial to see more details about these respective technologies in depth.


March 4, 2021

Cloud backups of Nimble Streamer configuration

With cloud backups you can save streaming configs of your Nimble Streamer instances into WMSPanel to improve redundancy. You can do it manually or automatically.

Here are basic principles of our cloud backup approach.
  • Nimble Streamer streaming-related settings are defined via WMSPanel UI and stored in WMSPanel account and also locally in rules.conf file.
  • So usually customers perform backup by copying rules.conf for further restoration.
  • WMSPanel cloud backup allows copying all streaming-related settings into a distributed database within Softvelum cloud infrastructure.
  • A customer may initiate backups manually, as well as set automated backups creation. They all will be stored in the cloud.
  • If a customer needs to get back to some version of their cloud backup, he or she can restore it within WMSPanel account as a new server instance.
  • After a backup is restored, a customer can initiate respective server instance to obtain these settings from WMSPanel, thus make new server to move into previous state.
  • Cloud backups have multi-step removal process in order to avoid accidental damage.

The price is just 1 USD per month per backup.

More details can be found on Cloud backups page.

February 3, 2021

Larix SDK 2021-01 releases and tutorials

Softvelum mobile development team has released a major release for our SDKs.

Our subscribed customers have already received respective notifications and may download new packages under their WMSPanel account, where they always download them.

Larix Broadcaster and Larix Player SDKs for both Android and iOS now have version "2021-01". You can visit mobile releases history page to see the changes and here we'll briefly describe them.

First, we've created separate pages for each individual SDK to describe what customers get when they subscribe and give some other details.
  • Larix Broadcaster SDK for Android and SDK for iOS pages have architecture overview of Larix Broadcaster to make it easier to understand for beginners.
  • Larix Player SDK for Android and SDK for iOS has basic information, we'll add architecture description later on.

Now, here's what we added to the SDKs.

Larix Broadcaster SDK for both platforms:
  • Talkback audio return feed via SRT, RTMP, SLDP and Icecast. This is a feature which was often requested by Larix users, so we released in early January into production and after a few minor fixes, the final implementation is now available in SDK.
    Notice that if you want to enable Talkback in your apps, you'll need to purchase Larix Player SDK and use libsldp library from it. You'll get more details in release not in SDK package.
  • Publishing via SRT Listen and SRT Rendezvous. Larix now supports all modes of SRT for producing the live content.
  • libsrt 1.4.2: we moved to the latest stable release of libsrt.
  • librist 0.2.0RC2: RIST is getting more attention, so we moved to one of the latest librist release candidates.
Also, additional tutorials were added on our github showing how to create minimal application for iOS and Android based on our streaming library. They are just step-by-step guides easy to follow.

Larix Player for all platforms was also updated:
  • It can be used for enabling Talkback in Larix Broadcaster.
  • Playback via SRT Listen and SRT Rendezvous was added, so Player now supports all SRT modes to consume live streams.
  • libsrt 1.4.2: we also moved to the latest stable library here.

If you'd like to subscribe for any ot all of the SDKs described above, visit mobile SDKs purchase page or any individual SDK page for respective instructions.

Contact us if you have any questions and follow us via TwitterFacebookTelegramLinkedInYouTube and Reddit.

January 20, 2021

VOD server-side ads insertion with Nimble Advertizer

Nimble Advertizer server-side ads insertion for live streaming has been used by Nimble Streamer customers for quite some time and we continuously improve it.

Now we introduce VOD ads insertion for HLS. You can now insert your ads into MPEG-TS and fMP4 containers of HLS for VOD playback. It's part of our Addenda premium package available per subscription.

Nimble Advertizer provides an extended config grammar to cover various business logic such as pre-roll and mid-roll ads, per-stream and personalized ads and much more.

The setup is simple and is similar to how it's done for live streaming.

  1. Install Nimble Streamer or upgrade it to the latest version if you already have it.
  2. Setup if up for HLS VOD transmuxing.
  3. You'll have settings for a certain application, you'll need it for further setup. Make sure your output HLS VOD stream is working without ads after the setup.
  4. Subscribe for Addenda license. Advertizer is part of Addenda premium package so you'll need to get the license and register it for your server.
  5. Set up Advertizer using Advertizer tech spec which covers all the aspects of SSAI.

As a result, your output HLS VOD streams with MPEG-TS and fMP4 containers will have ads inserted into the stream's content.

Notice that fMP4 HLS with inserted ads can only be played on Apple devices and in hls.js player as of mid-January 2021. We'll keep working on making further compatibility improvements.

If you have any questions about Advertizer and its usage, let us know.


Related documentation

VOD capabilities of Nimble StreamerNimble AddendaHLS support in Nimble Streamer for live and VOD

.

January 13, 2021

Larix Talkback

Larix Talkback for audio return feed is now available in Larix Broadcaster for both iOS and Android:

Now a streamer who uses Larix Broadcaster can get audio return feed as a recipient via SRT Caller, Listener and Rendezvous mode, along with RTMP, SLDP and Icecast.

The use cases can be different. It can be a talent who needs to talk to a studio. Or a live show director can give instructions to an operator who uses mobile device to stream.

So basically this is our mobile implementation of Interruptible foldback (IFB) which you might know from professional-grade production setup.


The SDKs for Larix Broadcaster and Larix Player with talkback capabilities on board will be available soon.

December 30, 2020

Recap of 2020: NDI, Low Latency HLS, DRM, SRT, RIST, Larix Broadcaster and more

The year of 2020 is over and our team is glad to wish you a Happy New Year!

Despite everything that happened this year, our team kept moving forward and improving our products.

So let us show you briefly what we have accomplished this year. You could find more details and minor updates in our earlier newsletters and social media so here we'll just point to significant ones.


Nimble Streamer

Low Latency HLS

Apple Low Latency HLS is the next generation of Apple's HTTP Live Streaming protocol created to achieve latency of around three seconds. Nimble Streamer now supports LL HLS and it generates the output stream according to the latest spec.
Read LLHLS setup and usage article which includes video tutorial. Currently the output plays only on Apple platforms and via THEOPlayer. You can watch our sample stream on their LLHLS demo page.

DRM on board

Nimble Streamer now has full support for DRM. Our customers can protect their live streams, DVR and VOD output by encrypting them with Widevine, Playready and FairPlay. Key management can be done via BuyDRM, EZDRM, Pallycon and Verimatrix. Visit DRM feature set page to learn more about setup and usage.
DRM is available as part of our Addenda premium package. It covers DRM, Advertizer and a set of other premium features.

More protocols

NDI support was added into Nimble Streamer. It allows receiving NDI input for transcoding it into any supported output protocols, as well as turning any input stream into the NDI output. This is extremely useful for live production teams. Read NDI setup article to learn more and watch video tutorial to see it in action.

SRT protocol feature set had a break-through this year among our customers. We saw it gaining a huge momentum across the industry. And our team also improved our implementation in Nimble Steamer this year:

  • SRT Publisher Assistance Security Set (SRT PASSet) is our new security and management framework for SRT. It allows processing incoming streamid, making per-server, per-application and per-stream authentication, managing published streams and more. Read framework overview in this article to see what it can do for you.
  • In addition, we've added SRT playback protection to Paywall feature set and added playback stats for WMSPanel.
Read more about how Softvelum products implement SRT.

RIST is another technology which we've added this year. This is a new protocol for reliable streaming over UDP, you can read more about its advantages on RIST forum website. Nimble Streamer supports RIST in Push, Pull and Listen modes.

SLDP low latency protocol was another streaming technology that we improved. Synchronized playback on multiple devices became available as part of all SLDP implementations. You can stream simultaneously from Nimble Streamer to SLDP Player on HTML5 web page, Android and iOS for better user experience. View video demonstration of this feature in action, you'll love it.

If you build big infrastructures based on Nimble Streamer and WMSPanel, you will also like slice-wide permissions which you can use for assigning any group of non-admins to any group of servers, in order to give them a specific set of permissions for controlling Nimble instances.

Improving Transcoder 

Nimble Live Transcoder was also improved significantly this year with a bunch of sophisticated features:


More media

You may find interesting these articles mentioning the usage of Nimble Streamer in complex scenarios:

Side note: we've started producing video tutorials on various subjects, e.g. Nimble on Amazon EC2: installation and SRT setup. Check our YouTube channel to see more and subscribe if you want to get new videos as soon as they arrive.


Larix Broadcaster and mobile streaming

This year Larix Broadcaster had a huge increase in usage.

Larix was mentioned in a few articles on SVG News:

You can find more links, including industry leaders mentioning Larix, on our documentation reference.

This year we've put significant efforts into the quality control of mobile solutions. Softvelum apps now pass through a series of tests before being released into production. We've published our basic description of connectivity testing to demonstrate the most important aspect of that.

If you subscribe to any of our mobile SDK you can be sure you get a properly tested solution.

Before we go on to the features from past year, we'd like to share an awesome upcoming update.
  • Talkback provides audio return feed from the studio back to the mobile streamer. You can get feedback via SRT (all receiver modes), RTMP, SLDP and Icecast.
  • Besides Talkback, Larix Broadcaster will support publishing via SRT Listen and SRT Rendezvous modes.
  • To use these features right now, join Beta program in Google Play, and use this link to install it via TestFlight on iOS. Let us know how it works for you.

As for major Larix Broadcaster functionality, we've added plenty of major and minor 
updates, including more RTMP authentication compatibility with servers and services, audio-only mode, streaming pause, RIST streaming and more. We also introduced Larix Grove, a simple format which allows distributing streaming setup details across mobile devices.

Larix Player is the new name of our playback solution formerly known as "SLDP Player" which is available on Android, iOS, Android TV and tvOS. It can play SRT in Caller, Listen and Rendezvous modes, RTMP, SLDP, Icecast, HLS and MPEG-DASH.

SDK release notes has a list of all significant features added this year.

Also, we created mobile products playlist on YouTube to show our own video tutorials. Check SRT to OBS from Larix tutorial as an example.


That's it for now.

Our team wishes you a Happy New Year and we'll see you in 2021!


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