Optimized HLS Streaming

By Jonas Krummenacher
Updated on January 28, 2020
Optimized HLS Streaming

KeyCDN has added a new feature for better HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) with a regular Pull Zone. Optimized HLS streaming comes for free and is available for everyone. It's now even easier to accelerate HLS streams from your origin server.

About HLS streaming

HLS is a streaming protocol developed by Apple. The live stream is split into smaller HTTP-based transport stream (.ts) files. The index file, which is the UTF-8 M3U playlist (.m3u8), contains the references to the actual video fragments (.ts). Transport stream files are normally MPEG-2 files of equal length, all delivered through HTTP.

HLS has a number of advantages:

  • Any firewall or proxy that allows HTTP traffic, can handle HLS as well.
  • iOS devices can't handle RTMP but can handle HLS streaming very well.
  • Most web players such as JW Player or Flowplayer require the Flash-based version to play RTMP streams, which is not so common anymore.

The new HLS streaming feature

The new feature can be enabled for any Pull Zone by going to the Zone settings and updating the Optimize for HLS feature to enabled. Like all other Zone features, it will be globally enabled within just a few minutes.

The index file (.m3u8) will not be cached at all. The .ts files will only be cached for 5 minutes. If the origin server sends other Cache-Control headers, it will be ignored by the CDN.

In most cases live streaming based on HLS is better suited and, therefore, recommended from our side as well over RTMP. KeyCDN's support is deprecated for RTMP.

This feature should be enabled for HLS live events but not for prerecorded HLS videos.

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