Haivision and Wowza attack stream latency by open sourcing SRT

At NAB this week US encoding firm Haivision and best of breed ABR Packager supplier Wowza, have formed an alliance to support a Secure Reliable Transport (SRT) for video and to get more people on board they are open sourcing it via the not quite so widely used LGPL license, a move which allows providers to create paid extensions alongside free uses.

SRT is something introduced by Haivision 3 years ago, a protocol over and above UDP which allows for both packet resends and different levels of forward error correction, depending upon the condition of the network. In essence, it is about allowing low latency streaming across the open internet.

There have been many of these attempts over the years to tamper with UDP and to give it some of the advantages of TCP, but without the disadvantages. The most notable was perhaps from Octoshape which used UDP multicasting to deliver live streams at scale and with low latency. This company was acquired by Akamai in 2015.

As we see the problem, using a CDN means that as your audience scales, the local CDN appliances do not scale with it, so scaling by using the cloud would be a better outcome for streaming. SRT can be applied on any video streaming workflow – on hardware, software and cloud-based environments and it can either co-operate with CDNs or be used as a point-to-point video link.

Haivision has SRT embedded in its Media Gateway product which bridges networks, and also uses SRT in its KB Series of HEVC capable encoders and transcoders.

The companies said “Live video transport has faced a variety of latency challenges. This includes complications from origin network conditions, CDN caching and video transcoding, and last mile network congestion. To solve these challenges, Haivision and Wowza are making SRT available as an open source full-stack protocol that provides a secure and reliable solution for low latency video transport with packet loss recovery, end-to-end security with network health monitoring between endpoints, and simplified firewall traversal.

Applied on encoders, streaming servers, decoders, set-top boxes and embedded media players, SRT presents a fundamental shift in technology for video streaming and it can be used by broadcasters, video streaming technology vendors, enterprise video platform developers, live event production companies and OEM hardware developers.

SRT is available on GitHub as source code with build tools, along with sample applications, so developers can incorporate the protocol into their own technologies.

“The most difficult challenge for interactive streamers is being able to deliver at scale while maintaining high interactivity,” says Charlie Good, chief technology officer and cofounder at Wowza. “To accomplish this feat, you need a protocol that can deliver across the technology stack, seamlessly and without fail, but does so with the lowest end-to-end latency possible. SRT is the first solution that’s offered freely by the leaders in the streaming industry, that has the potential to transform streaming applications for years to come.”

Haivision at NAB also launched its KB 4K encoder powered using the Intel Visual Compute Accelerator, which it was demonstrating with Nokia at the show. The Intel VCA augments Haivision’s KB 4K encoder with the power of the Intel Xeon Processor E3 v5 which makes it capable of encoding dual 4Kp60 HEVC with synchronized stereoscopic streaming through MPEG-DASH. It will be showcased working with a live VR workflow from Nokia complete with the 4K 3D 360 OZO camera,

Almost in step with this announcement Akamai has come out with its own cloud offering in the next generation of its Media Services Live system for delivering live video OTT. It now has four new components, together known as liveOrigin, which sounds to us like creating an origin server for the live event.

Akamai has built a distributed ingest network using its own mapping technology to match encoders to the best entry point into the network, which failsover to a different entry point if the connection is interrupted and its uses Akamai’s Media Acceleration technology to speed up ingest.

Akamai is introducing 10-second latency as part of Media Services Live, so that live and broadcast content can play back for viewers almost simultaneously with broadcast. It says this solves the traditional 30-second-or-more delay between broadcast signals and online streams.

And Akamai has added near real-time reporting giving customers insight into content and ingest performance with what it calls “at a glance” visualizations of streaming metrics such as average bitrate, latency, packet loss and error rate with customized thresholds and alarms.