November 20, 2018

DVR thumbnails in Nimble Streamer

Nimble Streamer software media server has it DVR feature set which covers the majority of use cases for streams recording and playback.

DVR setup is described in this article and you're probably already familiar with it. Now, to get snapshots of DVR stream, you may use direct URL described below.

Notice that thumbnails are generated as .mp4 files containing a single keyframe. This allows inserting thumbnail in any modern browser using <video> element.

The latest thumbnail can be obtained using the following URL:
http://<server>/<app>/<stream>/dvr_thumbnail.mp4
If you'd like to get specific time spot, add epoch time:
http://<server>/<app>/<stream>/dvr_thumbnail_<utc>.mp4
E.g. http://serverip/live/stream/dvr_thumbnail_1542708934.mp4

This feature is enabled by default and if you'd like to disable it, use this parameter in Nimble Streamer config file:
dvr_thumbnails_enabled = false

MP4 output was chosen over PNG or JPG images due to resources usage. MP4 frame can be extracted and inserted into MP4 container with relatively small amount of CPU and RAM. Still image capture requires frame decoding and encoding into proper format which needs extra resources. Our customers like Nimble Streamer primarily because of its high performance and we'd like to keep it that way.

If you have any questions on this or other features, let us know.

Related documentation


Nimble Streamer, Live streaming scenarios, DVR feature setDVR setup for Nimble Streamer, Usage snapshots

November 7, 2018

White Paper: Tools for tailor-made streaming

We're excited to announce our latest white paper published at Broadband TV News news web site.

It's called Softvelum: Tools for tailor-made streaming and you can download it by filling out the form on its webpage.


Let us know of your thoughts on this article, tell us what else you'd like to read about.

October 28, 2018

Recent failures analysis

Recently WMSPanel web service had 2 major malfunctions which affected our customers. This is the first time we had that kind of strong impact in years.

We'd like to share more information about those issues.

We creates WMSPanel failures status page which has description of recent malfunctions or incidents happened to our infrastructure. We'll keep updating it in case if anything else happens.

We apologize for all inconveniences caused by the described malfunctions. As we described above, we made proper adjustments to our infrastructure to avoid various types of failures.

Unfortunately, nothing is perfect so we know that our hosting infrastructure will give us some hard time going forward. However, we continuously mitigate those possibilities which gives us strong optimism for the future of our services.

September 30, 2018

Softvelum Q3 news

During the third quarter of 2018 our team was working on improving our products.

Before checking the updates, take a look at the State of Streaming Protocols for Q3 2018. Total view time of our server software among all of customers was 21 million hours watched every day.

Nimble Advertizer


HLS ads insertion

Major improvement was made for Nimble Advertizer, the Server-Side Ads Insertion (SSAI) framework for Nimble Streamer. This framework allows dynamically insert personalized ads into live streaming content.
Key features of Advertizer are:
  • Pre-roll ads per each connection
  • Mid-roll ads flexible timing setup
  • Per-stream ads insertion business logic
  • Personalized ads based on your user IDs
Now Advertizer supports HLS live streams output in addition to currently supported RTMP, SLDP and Icecast protocols. It supports both video+audio and audio-only modes. Advertizer may use all input live protocols supported by Nimble Streamer, which are RTMP, RTSP, SRT, UDT, HLS, MPEG2TS, Icecast and SHOUTcast.

The workflow is easy to adopt within any business logic using your own handler app.

You can read full technical spec here.

Advertizer Live Demo

You can see SSAI in action on our Nimble Advertizer Live Demo page. It has RTMP, SLDP. HLS and Icecast live streams with pre-rolls and mid-rolls being inserted for you.

That page also has description of how this demo works so you could try the same approach in your solutions.

Nimble Advertizer Server-side Ads Insertion framework is a premium functionality which requires additional payments. Please check this page to get more details about functionality and pricing.

SLDP


Upcoming 2019 is the last year of Adobe's support for Flash technology which means upcoming decline of RTMP for end-user streaming. This brings the need for real-time low-latency streaming solution which could be used for live delivery and playback.

This year Softvelum introduced SLDP - Softvelum Low Delay Protocol. SLDP is a streaming protocol based on WebSockets. Its basic features include
  • Sub-second delay between origin and player.
  • Codec-agnostic: H.264/AVC, H.265/HEVC, VP8, VP9, AAC, MP3.
  • ABR support: close-to-instant channels switch.
  • HTTP and HTTPS on top of TCP.
  • Buffer offset support.
Clients are currently available for HTML5 web pages, Android and iOS both as free players and premium SDKs.

Server support is available in Nimble Streamer. From setup perspective, it's just another option for your output streams. Read this article for full details on SLDP setup in Nimble.

Softvelum continuously improves SLDP technology by adding new features and updates. Feel free to try it out for your solutions, or just check Nimble Advertizer Live Demo to see SLDP in action with ads insertion.

Mobile solutions


We're updating our mobile streaming solutions on a regular basis, introducing new capabilities and fixes.

Larix free mobile app and premium SDKs for Android and iOS now have HEVC (H.265) encoding support for better compression of outgoing streams.  Also, SRT library in Larix is now version 1.3.1. Those features bring more robustness on unreliable networks and low bandwidth.
iOS Larix also has 60 fps support.

Restream.io has a new article in their help center called Stream From Mobile Using Larix Broadcaster. It's about Larix setup for using Restream.io services.

SLDP Player apps and SDKs had minor improvements and fixes as well.

You can check full description of releases and get SDK subscription any time.


We'll keep you updated on our latest features and improvements.
Stay tuned for more updates and follow us at Facebook and Twitter to get latest news and updates of our products and services.

The State of Streaming Protocols - 2018 Q3

Softvelum team continues analyzing the state of streaming protocols. It's based on stats from WMSPanel reporting service which handles data from Wowza Streaming Engine and Nimble Streamer servers - there were 3600+ servers on average this quarter. WMSPanel collected data about more than 13 billion views.

We've added a new metric - total view time for our server products. It's nearly 1.9 billion this quarter, or 21+ million view hours per day.

Let's take a look at the chart and numbers of this quarter:


The State of Streaming Protocols - 2018 Q3

You can see HLS share as 69% and RTMP at 17% while progressive download still going down.

You can compare that to the picture of Q2 streaming protocols landscape:

August 23, 2018

Vote for Softvelum in 2018 Streaming Media Readers' Choice Awards

The voting for 2018 Streaming Media Readers' Choice Awards is now opened.

Softvelum is nominated in 3 categories and we appreciate all of our customers and partners to vote for its products!


First, go to voting page here and introduce yourself to Streaming Media website to start voting.

You will find our products in the following categories:

  1. Encoding Software - Nimble Live Transcoder
  2. Media Server - Nimble Streamer
  3. Video Player Solution/SDK - SLDP Player
This article describes all categories and the voting process.

After voting closes on Monday, September 21, you will receive an email asking you to confirm your vote. If you do not confirm your vote, the vote will not be counted so please follow up with Streaming Media email to count your vote!


July 29, 2018

HLS support in Nimble Advertizer SSAI

Earlier this year Softvelum introduced Nimble Advertizer, the Server-Side Ads Insertion (SSAI) framework for Nimble Streamer. This framework allows dynamically insert personalized ads into live streaming content.

Key features of Advertizer are:
  • Pre-roll ads per each connection
  • Mid-roll ads flexible timing setup
  • Per-stream ads insertion business logic
  • Personalized ads based on your user IDs
Now Advertizer supports HLS live streams output in addition to currently supported RTMP, SLDP and Icecast protocols. It supports both video+audio and audio-only modes. Advertizer may use all input live protocols supported by Nimble Streamer, which are RTMPRTSPSRTUDTHLSMPEG2TSIcecast and SHOUTcast.

The workflow is easy to adopt within any business logic:
  1. Nimble Streamer media server processes incoming streams to get the content.
  2. Nimble Advertizer calls your handler web application to get business logic description.
  3. Advertizer gets files with advertisements to process them via Nimble Streamer according to your logic defined via handler.
  4. Nimble inserts the ads into original media and packages it into output protocol
  5. End user connects to Nimble and gets the stream containing original content mixed with advertisements.
  6. Playback is running smooth regardless of ads insertion over time in any player which supports the output protocol.
Live input codec for live stream for ads insertion needs to be H.264. Notice that with our Live Transcoder you may also use other live codecs. For your ads source files you need to use H.264 codec, the container needs to be the MP4 file.

You can read full technical spec here.

Nimble Advertizer Server-side Ads Insertion framework is a premium functionality which requires additional payments. Please check this page to get more details about functionality and pricing.

Related documentation


Nimble AdvertizerNimble StreamerLive streaming features in Nimble StreamerLive Transcoder,

July 13, 2018

July 1, 2018

Softvelum 2018 Q2 news

In Softvelum, we are continuously improving our products and services to protect customers' data, so we've made several major updates in Q2 of 2018.

Before reading further, check the State of Streaming Protocols for Q2 2018, we've added total view time for all of customers, and it's 18 million hours watched through our server software every day!

GDPR


On May 25th, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of European Union came into effect adding new requirements for companies who may work with data of users from EU.
We have improved our products to comply with new regulation, as well as updated Privacy Policy accordingly. Please read it and let us know if you have any concerns about it.

By logging into our services you agree to our privacy policy and you give a consent to Softvelum to use your email for sending products updates like this one.

We don't send you emails very often, but from time to time we'd like to share news about our products with you.
If you'd like to avoid announcement emails, you can go to Users management page in your WMSPanel account, click on editing user information and check "Exclude user email from WMSPanel announcements" checkbox.

If you have any concerns or issues regarding your privacy in our products, please feel free to contact us via our helpdesk.

Cookies


We've also added cookies usage banner for all users who use WMSPanel website - you might have noticed it entering your account lately. It can be easily dismissed for your convenience.

If you use WMSPanel as a white label and would like this banner to appear for your users, you need to enable it. In order to keep white label look independent from Softvelum, we removed links to Softvelum privacy policy to make it neutral. If you want to control the appearance of this banner, go to Settings menu > Branding tab. For each domain you may click on gear icon to open settings dialog. There you may click on "Show cookie policy notice" checkbox to allow cookies banner for your white label users. It will have a company-neutral text, however if you'd like that banner to point to your own privacy policy, use "Privacy Policy URL" field to specify URL which will be used in banner text.

Nimble Streamer


Nimble Advertizer now supports audio-only HLS output. This means you can serve audio ads via Icecast and audio-only HLS.
You can check more about technical details in this document.

Speaking of HLS, Nimble Streamer now supports fMP4 for VOD HLS for both H.264/AVC and H.265/HEVC content. It also supports ABR VOD via SMIL files. Read this article for more details.

We follow up with latest updates of operating systems and create new packages for Nimble Streamer for supported platforms. Check out new packages of Nimble Streamer for Ubuntu 18.04 and Raspbian 9.

Live Transcoder


We've made a major improvement for transcoder which now allows using shared contexts. This enhances resources usage and simplifies the fine tuning. Read this article for more details on shared contexts.

Also, take a look at Troubleshooting Live Transcoder article for various cases you may face while using Live Transcoder.

We've also added NVidia decoder deinterlacing mode, you can read more about it here.

You may also find useful a step-by-step description for wildcard ABR scenario setup.

Mobile SDKs


Larix mobile SDKs were updated to include new improvements as well as mobile playback solutions. It has a number of bugfixes and performance improvements.

You can check SDKs release notes for all updates and use this page to subscribe for SDKs.


Stay tuned for more updates and follow us at Facebook and Twitter to get latest news and updates of our products and services.

The State of Streaming Protocols - 2018 Q2

Softvelum team continues analyzing the state of streaming protocols. It's based on stats from WMSPanel reporting service which handles data from Wowza Streaming Engine and Nimble Streamer servers - there were 3600+ servers on average this quarter. WMSPanel collected data about more than 13 billion views.

We've added a new metric - total view time for our server products. It's nearly 1.7 billion this quarter, or 18+ million view hours per day.

Let's take a look at the chart and numbers of this quarter:




You can see HLS share as 67% and RTMP at 17% while progressive download went down a bit.

You can compare that to the picture of Q1 streaming protocols landscape: