CDN Relayed Live Streaming

Last updated: 2020-09-22 16:57:45

    Use Cases

    CDN live streaming is also called CDN relayed live streaming. As TRTC uses the UDP protocol to transfer audio/video data, while LVB CDN uses protocols such as RTMP, HLS, and FLV to transfer data, the audio/video data in TRTC needs to be relayed to LVB CDN for viewers to watch.

    Connecting TRTC to CDN for stream watching is generally used to solve the following two problems:

    • Problem 1: ultra-high-concurrence watching traffic
      TRTC supports low-latency watching for up to 100,000 viewers in a single room. Although watching through CDN has a relatively higher latency, it supports more concurrent viewers and is more cost-effective.
    • Problem 2: playback on webpages on mobile devices
      TRTC supports connection over the WebRTC protocol, but this protocol is mainly used in Chrome Desktop Edition and has very poor compatibility with mobile browsers, especially on Android. Therefore, if you want to share your live stream on a webpage through mobile browsers, you are recommended to use the HLS (m3u8) playback protocol, which means that you need to use the capabilities of LVB CDN to support HLS.

    How It Works

    Tencent Cloud uses a relayed transcoding cluster to relay the audio/video data from TRTC to the LVB CDN system. The cluster converts the UDP protocol used in TRTC to the RTMP protocol used in LVB.

    Relayed live streaming of a single channel of video image
    If there is only one anchor in a TRTC room, relayed push in TRTC is the same as standard direct push over RTMP, but UDP of TRTC has higher immunity to bad network condition than RTMP.


    Relayed live streaming of mixed channels of video images
    TRTC works best in audio/video co-anchoring. If there are multiple anchors in the same room but a CDN viewer wants to pull only one channel of audio/video image, On-Cloud MixTranscoding is required to combine multiple channels of video images into one channel. It works as follows:

    Why not play back multiple channels of CDN video images directly?
    If multiple channels of CDN video images are played back directly, their latency cannot be properly aligned, and the download traffic for pulling multiple channels is higher than that for one channel. Therefore, on-cloud mixtranscoding schemes are widely adopted in the industry.

    Prerequisites

    You have activated Tencent Cloud LVB. You need to configure a playback domain name for live stream playback according to the requirements of applicable authorities. For detailed directions, please see Adding Domain Name.

    Directions

    Step 1. Enable relayed push

    1. Log in to the TRTC Console.
    2. Select Application Management on the left sidebar and click Feature Configuration on the row of the target application.
    3. In Relayed Push Configuration, click on the right of Auto-relay Push, and click OK in the pop-up window.

    Step 2. Configure the playback domain name and CNAME record

    1. Log in to the LVB Console.
    2. On the left sidebar, select Domain Management and you can see that a push domain name is added in the domain name list. Its format is xxxxx.livepush.myqcloud.com, where xxxxx is a number called bizid. You can find the bizid information in Application Management > Application Info in the TRTC Console.
    3. Click Add Domain Name, enter a playback domain name for which you have already obtained the ICP filing for service in Mainland China, select Playback domain name as its type, select an acceleration region (which is Mainland China by default), and click OK.
    4. Once your domain name is added, the system will automatically assign it a CNAME domain name (suffixed with .liveplay.myqcloud.com), which cannot be accessed directly before you complete the CNAME configuration at your domain name service provider. After the configuration takes effect, LVB can be used properly. For detailed directions, please see CNAME Configuration.

    You do not need to add a push domain name. After the relayed live streaming feature is enabled in step 1, Tencent Cloud will add a push domain name in the format of xxxxx.livepush.myqcloud.com in the LVB Console by default. It is the default push domain name agreed on between LVB and TRTC and cannot be modified currently.

    Step 3. Associate a TRTC audio/video stream with a LVB streamId

    After enabling relayed push, each channel of video image in the TRTC room will be configured with a corresponding playback address in the following format:

    http://playback domain name/live/[streamId].flv

    streamId in the address can uniquely identify a live stream in LVB. You can customize it or use the default one generated by the system.

    Method 1. Customize streamId

    You can specify the live stream ID by setting the streamId parameter in the TRTCParams parameter when calling the enterRoom function in TRTCCloud.
    This document uses Objective-C code for iOS as an example:

    TRTCCloud *trtcCloud = [TRTCCloud sharedInstance];
    TRTCParams *param = [[TRTCParams alloc] init];
    param.sdkAppId = 1400000123;     // `SDKAppID` in TRTC, which can be obtained after an application is created
    param.roomId   = 1001;           // Room ID
    param.userId   = @"rexchang";    // Username
    param.userSig  = @"xxxxxxxx";    // Login signature
    param.role     = TRTCRoleAnchor; // Role: anchor
    param.streamId = @"stream1001";  // Stream ID
    [trtcCloud enterRoom:params appScene:TRTCAppSceneLIVE]; // Please use the `LIVE` mode

    For the calculation method of userSig, please see How to Calculate UserSig.

    Method 2. Use the streamId generated by the system

    After automatic relayed push is enabled, if you do not specify a custom streamId, the system will generate one for you by default according to the following rules:

    • Fields used to splice streamId

      • SDKAppID: you can find it in Application Management > Application Info in the console.
      • bizid: you can find it in Application Management > Application Info in the console.
      • roomId: it is specified in the TRTCParams parameter in the enterRoom function.
      • userId: it is specified in the TRTCParams parameter in the enterRoom function.
      • streamType: it is main for the camera image and aux for the screen sharing image (as WebRTC supports only one upstream channel at the same time, the stream type of screen sharing over WebRTC is main).
    • Calculation rules for splicing streamId

      Splicing Applications created on or after January 9, 2020 Applications created and used before January 9, 2020
      Splicing Rule streamId = urlencode(sdkAppId_roomId_userId_streamType) StreamId = bizid_MD5(roomId_userId_streamType)
      Calculation Example For example, if `sdkAppId` is `12345678`, `roomId` is `12345`, `userId` is `userA`, and the user is using a camera,
      then, `streamId` will be `12345678_12345_userA_main`
      For example, if `bizid` is `1234`, `roomId` is `12345`, `userId` is `userA`, and the user is using a camera,
      then, `streamId` will be `1234_MD5(12345_userA_main)`, which is `1234_8D0261436C375BB0DEA901D86D7D70E8`

    Step 4. Control the mix scheme for multi-channel video image

    If you want to get the live stream video image after mixing, you need to call the setMixTranscodingConfig API of TRTCCloud to enable On-Cloud MixTranscoding. The TRTCTranscodingConfig parameter of this API can be used to configure:

    • Position and size of each subimage
    • Quality and encoding parameters of mixed video image.

    For more information on how to configure the video image layout, please see On-Cloud MixTranscoding. For more information on the relationship between modules involved in the whole process, please see How It Works.

    setMixTranscodingConfig does not perform stream mixing on devices; instead, it sends the stream mixing configuration to servers in the cloud, where stream mixing and transcoding are performed. As both stream mixing and transcoding require decoding and encoding of the original audio/video data, a longer time will be needed for processing. Therefore, the actual watching latency of a mixed video image is 1–2s longer than that of an independent video image.

    Step 5. Get the playback address and start playback after connection

    After you configure the playback domain name in step 2 and map the streamId in step 3, you can get a live stream playback address, which is in the following format:

    http://playback domain name/live/[streamId].flv

    For example, if your playback domain name is live.myhost.com and you use a room entry parameter to set the live stream ID (streamId) of userA in room 1001 to streamd1001:
    Then, you can get three playback addresses:

     RTMP playback address: rtmp://live.myhost.com/live/streamd1001
     FLV playback address: http://live.myhost.com/live/streamd1001.flv
     HLS playback address: http://live.myhost.com/live/streamd1001.m3u8

    You are recommended to use the http - flv address prefixed with http and suffixed with .flv, as it features high stability and reliability and low playback latency and delivers an excellent instant broadcasting experience.
    You are recommended to select the player based on the following schemes:

    Platform API Overview Supported Format
    iOS application TXLivePlayer(iOS) FLV is recommended
    Android application TXLivePlayer(Android) FLV is recommended
    Web browser - Chrome Desktop Edition supports FLV
    Safari on macOS and mobile browsers support only HLS
    WeChat Mini Program <live-player> tag FLV is recommended

    Step 6. Optimize playback latency

    After the http - flv address is enabled for relayed live streaming, as the traffic is distributed through LVB CDN, the watching latency will certainly be higher than the call latency in the TRTC live room.
    The following latency values can be achieved through the current Tencent Cloud LVB CDN technology together with the TXLivePlayer player:

    Relayed Stream Type TXLivePlayer Playback Mode Average Latency Test Result
    Independent video image Ultrafast mode (recommended) 2–3s Please see the comparison (orange) in the left part of the figure below
    Mixed video image Ultrafast mode (recommended) 4–5s Please see the comparison (blue) in the right part of the figure below

    The test in the figure below is conducted by using the same set of mobile phones. iPhone 6s on the left uses the TRTC SDK for live streaming, while Mi 6 on the right uses the TXLivePlayer player to play back a live stream over the FLV protocol.

    If your actual latency is longer than that as listed in the table above, you can optimize it as follows:

    • Use the TXLivePlayer built in the TRTC SDK
      Common players packaged based on the FFmpeg kernel such as ijkplayer or FFmpeg lack latency control capabilities. If you use them to play back a stream at the live stream addresses above, the latency will generally be uncontrollable. TXLivePlayer has a proprietary playback engine, which can control the latency.

    • Set the ultrafast mode as the TXLivePlayer playback mode
      You can set three parameters in TXLivePlayerConfig to implement the ultrafast mode. Take iOS as an example:
      This document uses Objective-C code for iOS as an example:

      // Set the ultrafast mode as the TXLivePlayer playback mode
        TXLivePlayerConfig * config = [[TXLivePlayerConfig alloc] init];
        config.bAutoAdjustCacheTime = YES;
        config.minAutoAdjustCacheTime = 1; // The minimum cache time is 1s
        config.maxAutoAdjustCacheTime = 1; // The maximum cache time is 1s
        [player setConfig:config];
        // Start LVB playback

    Applicable Fees

    Fees of CDN relayed live streaming include watching fees and transcoding fees. The watching fees are the basic fees, while transcoding fees will be charged only if On-Cloud MixTranscoding is enabled.

    The prices in this document are for reference only, and the prices listed in the billing description of LVB shall prevail.

    Watching fees: incurred during CDN relayed live streaming

    For CDN relayed live streaming, LVB will charge you for downstream traffic/bandwidth incurred during watching. You can choose an appropriate billing mode based on your actual needs. The bill-by-traffic mode is used by default.

    Transcoding fees: incurred after On-Cloud MixTranscoding is enabled

    If you enable On-Cloud MixTranscoding, as stream mixing needs decoding and encoding, additional On-Cloud MixTranscoding fees will be incurred. On-Cloud MixTranscoding is billed by resolution and transcoding duration. The higher the anchor's resolution or the longer the co-anchoring duration (generally, On-Cloud MixTranscoding is required only in co-anchoring), the higher the fees.

    FAQs

    There is only one user in the room, but the video image is lagging and blurry. Why?
    Please specify the TRTCAppScene parameter in enterRoom as TRTCAppSceneLIVE.
    The VideoCall mode is optimized for video calls, so when there is only one user in the room, the video image will maintain a low bitrate and frame rate to reduce network traffic usage, which will look lagging and blurry.

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