December 24, 2019

Introducing Apple Low Latency HLS in Softvelum products

The HLS of RFC8216 is currently a de-facto standard for live and VOD delivery. Playlists and chunks delivered over HTTP/1.1 provide the simplicity of implementation, wide platforms availability, adaptive bitrate support and scalability. These advantages allowed it to get the biggest share of customer base. However it has some disadvantages for live streaming, primarily because chunks delivery means many seconds of delay at the start of a live stream. The industry has been making some improvements on top of HLS, and then Apple released its spec update to address existing issues.

Low Latency HLS


Low Latency HLS (LL-HLS) is the next generation of Apple's HTTP Live Streaming protocol introduced in early 2019.
Several key features improve it over regular HLS for live delivery:
  • Partial segments (parts) can be accessed before full chunks of content are available.
  • Holding playlist requests for obtaining latest parts as soon as they appear.
Softvelum team added LL-HLS into the bundle. We provide customers with playback capabilities using Larix Player for iOS, and Nimble Streamer allows generating LL-HLS for all supported containers such as fMP4, audio-only and MPEGTS.

1. Larix Player to play LL-HLS


Apple still has LL-HLS in beta stage as of iOS 13.3 at the end of December of 2019, so there are a number of shortcomings in its implementation. The main concern is the fact that iOS native player implementation cannot be published into AppStore yet. Lack of browsers' and other platforms' availability is also a big blocker so far. So the only way to try the playback for development purposes is to build your own app for that.

Larix Player SDK for iOS allows having full-featured Low Latency HLS playback on iOS devices. It covers live streams from any source capable of LL-HLS like Wowza Streaming Engine and Nimble Streamer, and it also supports regular HLS from any available source.

If you'd like to build your own low latency playback app, you can get player SDK from our team for further test and integration. Once the LL-HLS technology goes from Apple beta to production (in early 2020 as per Apple), you'll be able to have full-featured app and publish it under your brand.

2. Nimble Streamer for LL-HLS transmuxing


Nimble Streamer software media server allows taking any supported live input streams and re-packaging them into Low Latency HLS.


We've created a separate article describing Apple Low Latency HLS setup in Nimble Streamer.

Also watch this video for brief setup description:



Feel free to try Nimble Streamer with Low Latency HLS and buy Larix Player SDK to get your hands on the iOS playback.

Let us know if you have any questions.