What is HLS Protocol?


HLS is an adaptive HTTP-based protocol used for transporting video and audio data from media servers to viewers’ screens. Apple first launched this protocol in the summer of 2009. Users can easily watch real-time or on-demand audio and video transported through this protocol on PC and Apple terminals.

Compared with common streaming protocols such as RTMP, the HLS protocol mainly has the following advantages:

  1. HTTP-based protocols have good network compatibility, and HTTP packets can easily pass through firewalls or proxy servers, which is more conducive to video distribution. RTMP streams not only have requirements on the player, but also cause viewers to be unable to watch the video due to the interception of firewall.
  2. HLS has a good ecosystem. For the audience, Apple's full range of products natively support HLS decoding, which means that audience can easily watch videos sent by the HLS protocol; For video publishers, cloud service platforms such as Amazon Web Service support transcoding and sending HLS video streams. From the generation of video source to the playing of terminal equipment, HLS has already a mature foundation.
  3. The video transported through HLS protocol can adapt to playing under different network bandwidth conditions, so as to ensure that the live streaming is not jammed.

Of course, in streaming into the cloud for live streaming (such as Facebook Live, YouTube, Amazon Web Service, etc.), or in live streaming applications among systems, RTMP is still the widely selected protocol. Magewell's Pro Convert decoders can adapt to a variety of application scenarios, helping users decode IP streams transmitted through RTMP, HTTP (including HLS), RTSP, and TS over UDP/SRT/RTP protocols, and output high-quality HD or 4K AV signals.