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How to Target and Test Your Livestreams

videoRx CTO Robert Reinhardt outlines best practices for choosing and testing players and targets for client streams in this clip from Streaming Media East Connect 2020.

Watch the complete presentation from Streaming Media East Connect, How to Optimize Your Live Streaming Workflow on the Streaming Media YouTube channel.

Learn more about live streaming ingest and distribution at Streaming Media West 2020.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Robert Reinhardt: Player setup. You want to make sure that you've got all your targets working. This is also something that stakeholders and product owners don't fully understand: Where do you want your stream to play? Especially if it's on their own webpage, what are the targets that they expect it to work on? You might need to coach them through that. How old of an Android device do you want to support? How old of an iPhone device do you want to support, and so forth? Obviously we can't just push everything out with HEVC, from a distribution point of view, because there's going to be players that can't work with that. So, make sure that you've got those things lining up again, just make sure that everything is working with playback during the day prior and the day of. I always like to keep a reference player open when I'm streaming, though that can eat into your bandwidth.

If I'm watching the same livestream that I'm pushing out--Chris Allen was demonstrating that in his Red5 latency test. It's a great idea to have that available so that you see what other people are seeing. Oftentimes I'll have my iPad or iPhone set up playing the stream, so that I can see what's going on in the live broadcast as if I were a participant. So if I start seeing issues there, then that's going to be a quick signal to me that something might be going on with something else in this workflow that I've got to fix. Obviously, that's going to use bandwidth, so you've gotta be careful. If you've got a limited pipe, you can only have so many reference players open. If you're going to be using your own data plan to do that, live streams are expensive.

So again, make sure that's in your costs. If you're going to use up a bunch of data watching live streams on devices, as quality assurance, then include that in your budget. You don't want to absorb costs like that, 'cause it's gonna cut into your margins. And of course, testing and testing and more testing. You can never do too much testing. In fact, most people don't do enough testing and it can be hard without having live audiences, participating to see how well you're going to do under load. There's all sorts of solutions you can do for load testing these days for your HLS streams. I'm a big fan of JMeter and BlazeMeter free plugins. There's an HLS sampler plugin from BlazeMeter that you can tie into JMeter and you can load-test your streaming media setup that way. 

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