[POLYV Insight] Video convention or Live streaming?

Video convention has been one of the most common ways to connect and interact with each other. It helps people to communicate face to face even they’re thousand miles apart, eliminating what we know as “deserted islands of information”.

However, with the rise of mobile internet, video convention gets old-schooled – especially when businesses and enterprises require online collaboration, cloud office workflows and many things else.

Besides, video convention has several critical flaws:

  • High expense – the whole set of video convention system costs at least tens of thousands of dollars; what’s more, installing it and training sessions afterwards costs another thousands of dollars as well as the time consumed;
  • Poor quality – the transmission of video convention system really depends on the quality of internet, and even with gigabit broadband and super-low latency, the graphic quality doesn’t go very well as expected; and if disconnected, it needs more time to reconnect;
  • Lack of collaboration – you can only hear what other colleagues talking and not able to anything else, or vice versa.

All in all, video convention is not an efficient choice.

 

Now, we have another choice – holding conventions with the help of live streaming.

It’s not a fully perfect plan — the latency of live streaming is within a few seconds, but still acceptable for group discussions or brainstorming.

And its advantages are obvious – you can attend the live streaming convention and continue your work at the same time without interrupting each other; or you can record the ideas together with other colleagues in cloud office applications, Evernote or mind mapping tools; with the help of big data and cloud analysis, you can draw accurate conclusions to the analysis and make improvements to your workflow.

What’s more, this new workflow can be applied to various situations and industries – from long-distance office collaborations to massive live events or exhibitions, from e-learning to financial analysis, you can find its way to the situation or field you are working in.

Still troubling with the old school video convention systems? Now it’s time to embrace the new technologies and switch your workflow to video live streaming!

Questions from You: How to troubleshoot the issues of my live streaming?

Question:

I’m now using Streaming Cloud for long, and it’s been working well. But recently my livestreams are getting sluggish and buffer a lot, and my audience often report about the lagging and poor watching experience. What can I do to troubleshoot the issue?


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Honestly saying, our technical support team has received different types of complaints about the lagging or buffering during live streaming. Since the cause of lagging varies, we have to find out the right way to solve the issue.

We usually judge if the lagging is temporary or lasts longer first. If the lagging is temporary, it is more likely caused by the network condition – either by the network you use for pushing the livestream, or by the network of your audience.

At this situation, you need to check the network connection, and see if the issue is on your network device, your ISP (Internet Service Provider) or something else. We will not discuss this in detail since the possible cause varies.

If the lagging lasts long (like for tens of seconds or keeps lagging since your livestream started), you have to determine if the issue is caused by the Push side (who start the livestream and upload the streaming data) or the Pull side (who receive the livestream and download the streaming data).

You can check the livestream by the following steps –

1. Find out how many of the audience (Pull side) that encounter lagging.

2. If not all audience encounter lagging, that means the network condition of these audience is not good, and is required for further inspection.

3. If all audience encounter lagging, that means the streaming source from the livestream host (Push side) is not set properly. This can be caused by one of the following problems –

(1) The network condition of the Push side. Since it directly affects the transmission of the livestream, we recommend you check this first. And if it is the problem, you should fix it immediately.

(2) The firewall settings. Sometimes the livestream gets affected by the firewall settings of your operation system, which may block the live streaming client from transmitting the streaming data. You can add the live streaming client to the application white list to make it gain access needed for your livestream.

(3) The settings for the livestream. Sometimes improper parameters cause the lagging, such as using streaming bitrate that is too high for the network, or enabling too much features that the network is unable to process in time (especially the interactive functions in a jammed network). For this situation, you can try disabling some of them to see if the lagging issue is solved.

4. If you can’t find any problem with the inspections in Step 3, and you are using our live streaming client (PC/iOS/Android), you can submit the log file to our technical support to diagnose and pinpoint the issue.

If you are using OBS or other streaming client, you can try to find the log file if there is one, and submit to our technical support with the streaming client you use and its version if available, as errors may occur in some versions of the third-party streaming clients.

Besides, our technical support will contact the provider of our CDN, to see if there are anomalies appearing during the time of the livestream, and will have further contact to solve them.

OK, that’s a wrap for this Q&A session. It may take some time to find out the cause of lagging, but this process can help you understand live streaming better and adjust the settings for better livestreams. And of course, we strongly recommend you giving a test or rehearsal before starting the livestream to fix the problems early.

Or, if you want to learn more about troubleshooting the issues during livestream beforehand, check out the develop center for manuals or detailed information. And if you encounter any problems during testing or livestream, feel free to contact our technical support in time. We are always here to listen.

Hope you like this article and find it useful. We’ll see you soon!

[Questions from You] The suitable live streaming service for online education scenario

We have received many requests from our audience over the last two months, asking about our Video Cloud and Streaming Cloud service.

First, we really appreciate for your replies and support for our articles and updates, because your feedbacks always matters and help us improve our products and services.

What’s more important, your feedbacks also raise new needs and demands for us to research. If we find them useful through the research and necessary to add to our service, we will do it in no time.

Here we start the new series “Questions from You”, which we pick some typical or valuable questions and requests from you guys, and we will discuss the issue throughout the articles. We hope you enjoy this series, and keep sending us feedbacks.


Question:

I want to set up an online education platform for live streaming my course. There will be about 50 to 60 students attending, Q&A should be available and the latency should be within 1 second.

Live streaming is getting popular in online education industry

We received quite a lot of requests from the audience as well as the potential users of choosing the right service to set up their e-classroom and give courses through livestream. The question listed above is one of the most typical request we have seen.

We can extract three main demand from this question –

  1. For online education use (Purpose)
  2. 50 to 60 students online at the same time (Scale)
  3. Latency within 1 second (Low latency)

Let’s take a look for the first demand – purpose.

There are a lot of video cloud services available, yet not all of them are dedicated for online education. For big corporations like Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, even they provide “education solutions”, the video service is not a major part of their cloud computing, which means the functionalities can be limited and the technical support team may not respond in time.

We recommend you consulting online video services which dedicate in education and business fields, such as Qiniu, POLYV, Kaltura and Panopto. They have accumulated online education clients and keep improving their products and services from their feedbacks, and you can directly use their service for building your e-classroom or live streaming courses just like real-life classrooms.

It's not a heavy load for video service to hold a classroom of 60.

For the scale of students, a capacity of 60 students is not a heavy load for the cloud videos services above at all, thanks to the development of CDN. And if the audience capacity keeps growing, most of the services can still work perfectly, or you can add some more CDN nodes for some sudden high-concurrent scenarios just in case, or balancing the distribution load and make the latency within reasonable range.

The problem for this demand may be the cost of extra CDN nodes. It varies among different video services, so we recommend you asking the customer service team for detailed pricings and plans.

And now the last one – latency.

Almost every video services use HLS or RTMP protocol for pushing or pulling live video streams. The latency of HLS is quite long, which varies from 10 to 35 seconds and is unusable for e-classroom. The latency of RTMP is about 3 to 5 seconds, which is acceptable for most of the live streaming scenarios.

For your latency demand in the question, it is a little too harsh for live streaming services because currently RTMP is not able to reduce latency within 1 second (yes, not even YouTube is able to achieve that so far). If you insist with that, the livestreams have to be transferred through UDP protocol, which is very common in intercom applications where a lot of people can communicate through their microphone at the same time. And of course, these applications are really expensive, and may not be suitable for actual use.

A latency of about 3 to 5 seconds is very common and acceptable for live streaming courses.

So we have a compromising solution – the course lecturing session can be delivered through ordinary RTMP live streaming, and when student asks or answers questions, you can activate the microphone for the designated student and start conversation with microphone (through UDP protocol) like in an intercom system, while other students remain in RTMP streaming. This is what we known as “Microphone streaming”.

For these features, POLYV, Tencent QCloud, Panopto and a few other live streaming services have integrated Microphone streaming. It is proved useful for e-classroom scenarios, cost less compared to intercom applications, and the actual latency is within fair and acceptable range.

We hope the answer above can satisfy your demands. And if you want to try our service for your live streaming classroom, check out our Streaming Cloud website http://www.polyv.net/live to register your account, and then visit our Download Center http://www.polyv.net/download for our live streaming clients.

And if you want to learn more about our Video Cloud or Streaming Cloud service, check out our blog for our previous articles or visit our official website http://www.polyv.net for more information.

Last but not least, we are looking forward to your next questions, so stay tuned everyone! 🙂

PC Streaming Client Update (May 2017)

Howdy! We are very excited to announce the latest feature of our PC Streaming Client – automated subtitles from voice recognition.

The feature of Automated Subtitles is now available for PC Streaming Client.

The feature of Automated Subtitles is now available for PC Streaming Client.

When your streaming goes live, the latest voice recognition system will process the audio automatically, and display the subtitles in the source window of the streaming client, with accuracy above 90%.

Now you don’t have to worry about the audience miss your point – the automated subtitles can help them understand your livestream better.

Other updates in the latest version include –

1. New skins for user interface, with more refined details and color schemes.

2. Bug fixes and minor updates.

The latest PC Streaming Client is now available. You can visit our Download Center for your copy, or click here for a direct link for the installation package. If you don’t have a Streaming Cloud account, visit http://my.polyv.net/v2/register first to sign up.

We will notify you if there’s any major updates for our clients, so stay tuned and we’ll see you in the next article. 🙂

iOS Streaming Client Update (March 2017)

Howdy! Here we are glad to tell you that our iOS Streaming client is now updated!

Splash of iOS Streaming client

The updates in this latest version (1.1.0) include –

1. Bullet commentary functionality is added. The commentaries from the audience can now be displayed in real-time. You can switch on or off this feature in the preference settings panel.

2. Real-time chatroom management. You can manage the chatroom in your live streaming channel better, making the audience more engaged to your livestreams.

User interface of iOS Streaming Client

User interface of iOS Streaming Client

3. Refined details, such as notifications for skin enhancements.

4. Bug fixes and minor updates.

The latest iOS Streaming Client is now available in the App Store. You can visit https://itunes.apple.com/cn/app/polyv-yun-zhi-bo-xie-shou/id1178906547 for more information or download it to your iOS device. If you don’t have a Streaming Cloud account, visit http://my.polyv.net/v2/register first to sign up yours.

Video Marketing Gadgets: Audience Info Collector in Streaming Cloud

We have talked about the audience information collector of Video Cloud, which is very popular among our clients. And now, you can collect the information of the audience from our Streaming Cloud service as well, knowing your audience’s actual needs and demands better.

It works mostly the same as Video Cloud’s audience information collector, with some mildly different steps in the Streaming Cloud. Here’s how –

1. After signing in POLYV, select “Live” to enter the admin page of Streaming Cloud.

2. Select “Channels” in the navigation bar, and click the channel name to enter channel settings.

Entering the channel settings section

3. Click the “View conditions” tab on the left panel, and then click the “Viewer registration” tab to set up the form for collecting audience information.

Entering the form settings

Note that the form supports up to 5 fields, with the following attributes required –

  • Name – The name of the field
  • Description – Describe what the field is about
  • Type – You can designate the field as “Text”, “Number” or “Drop-down list”.
  • Content of drop-down list – If you choose “Drop-down list” in the “Type” attribute, you can enter the options used in the drop-down list, each separated by comma.

You can add the field by clicking the “+Add field” button above the fields, and remove the field by clicking the cross mark on the right of the field. Also, you can choose to show or hide the field by checking or unchecking it.

You can add, remove the fields, or choose to show the fields or not.

4. When you finish setting up the field, click the “Apply” button on the bottom of the “Viewer registration” tab.

And this is how the form looks like in the actual player –

The appearance of the form

With the audience information collector, you can now understand what the audience would like to watch, as well as how much they are engaged to your content. It really helps to provide guidance for your further plan of your live streaming.

If you want to know more about Video Cloud or Streaming Cloud, be sure to check out our blog, or visit our official website http://www.polyv.net/ for further information. We’ll see you in the next article.

Joint Tutorial: Livestream export and playback in Video Cloud

In previous article, we talked about the connection between Video Cloud and Streaming Cloud, and demonstrated how to import the media from Video Cloud to Streaming Cloud. You may wonder, “Can I record and export my livestream to a single file that can be used in Video Cloud?”

Absolutely! All you need is some simple setups before starting your livestream like this –

1. After signing in POLYV, select “Live” to enter the admin page of Streaming Cloud, then click “Channel list” on the navigation bar.

2. Find the channel you want to export the livestream, then click “Settings” on the right and “General information” (or simply click on the channel name), and select “Playback management” on the left panel. If you don’t have any channel, create a new one before moving on to the settings.

Click the channel name or the setup menu on the right to enter channel settings

Entering Playback management

3. After entering “Playback settings”, select the “Recording” tab, then find the livestream you need and click “Export” on the right.

Exporting the livestream to Video Cloud

4. In the popup window, enter the name of the livestream and choose the category to be exported to and click “Save” button. After that the system will start transcoding, all you need is to wait for your livestream being exported to the designated category in your Video Cloud.

Select your designated Video Cloud category for the livestream

And here’s the exported livestream in the video list of your Video Cloud.

The livestream playback in the streaming channel page

Or you can download the recorded livestream video by clicking “Download” on the right of the livestream, and then import it to video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut X or Sony Vegas Pro, etc.

The livestream can also be transcoded to a single file and be downloaded to your local storage for further edit

If you want to put the livestream in the “Previous videos” tab in your live streaming channel, you can follow the instructions down below –

1. Head back to the “Playback settings” section and click the “Playback list” tab.

2. Click the “+ Add video” button, then check the exported livestreams you want, and click the “Add” button, then you can see the exported livestreams are listed in the “Previous videos” panel in the live streaming channel.

Adding livestream to playback panel

Note that the recorded livestreams will be available for 30 days, so we strongly recommend you exporting your livestream right after the streaming is over.

And that’s a wrap for how to export your livestream from Streaming Cloud to Video Cloud. All you need to do is just some simple clicks to save and export your livestreams right after it’s done.

If you want to know more about Video Cloud or Streaming Cloud, be sure to check out our blog, or visit our official website http://www.polyv.net/ for further information. We’ll see you in the next article.