Host and Stream Live Videos with ApsaraVideo Live

What Is ApsaraVideo Live?

ApsaraVideo Live is a live video and audio broadcasting platform. It allows you to live-stream high-definition video and audio content into many regions.

The ApsaraVideo Live platform is accessed and managed using Alibaba’s Management Console, where you can customize your live-streaming media infrastructure.

ApsaraVideo Live has more than 1,000 video nodes around the world, including in Mainland China, giving you the infrastructure to live broadcast your business globally. It’s easy to use and allows you to quickly establish a high-quality live video and audio platform, at a low cost.

Section 1 : Prerequisites

In this section, we’ll look at the prerequisites you need to set up the ApsaraVideo Live Console.

1.1 : Login to your Alibaba Cloud account

Before we start, you will need to login to your Alibaba Cloud account. You need to set up an Alibaba Cloud account with a valid payment method in place to make full use of this tutorial. If you do not have an account, this information is available in a separate video and tutorial.

1.2 : Apply for an ICP License for China

You will need to apply for an ICP (Internet Content Provider) license to broadcast in Mainland China. If you decide to host in another location, you will not need an ICP license, but this is not recommended for high-traffic sites that will predominantly serve the Chinese market.

Alibaba Cloud offers free assistance to help you apply for an ICP license. This information is available in a separate video and tutorial. You can also find more information here: https://www.alibabacloud.com/icp

1.3 : Complete the Real Name Authentication for China

You will need to complete the real name authentication form on the console to use the ApsaraVideo Live Tutorial, if you want to live-stream to Mainland China.

To do this, go to the Account Center at: https://account-intl.console.aliyun.com. You will need your passport to complete the registration form.

1.4 : Download VLC

Depending on the streaming tool you use, you may need to download the VLC player to play your content (see Section 3). It is free to download, and available here: http://www.videolan.org/videolan/

1.5 : Enable Alibaba Cloud’s Streaming Tools

Before we start, you need to log on to the ApsaraVideo Live Console:

1.Go to the Management Console.

2.Scroll down to the Media Services section in the Products & Services area of the Management Console.

3.Click on ApsaraVideo Live. You will now see this screen:

4.Click the checkbox to agree to the LiveVideo Service Agreement.

5.Click Enable. You will now see this screen:

Before proceeding, take a moment to check whether you have successfully completed all the prerequisites.

Quick Checklist:

•An Alibaba Cloud account.
•An ICP license (if serving content to Mainland China).
•Filled in the Real Name Authentication settings.
•Downloaded VLC (if needed for your streaming tool).
•Opened the ApsaraVideo Live Console.

If you have done all the steps above, you can move to Section 2.

Section 2 : Set up Your Domain

In this section, we’ll help you add a new domain name to the ApsaraVideo Live platform, bind a CNAME and configure the authentication.

There are several ways to apply for a live video domain name. The most common method for Mainland China is to apply at www.net.cn, for example. More information on alternative methods is available here: https://www.alibabacloud.com/help/doc-detail/29957.htm

You will need to have the details of your domain available to complete this step.

2.1 : Add a Live Video Domain Name

Next, we need to set up a live video domain name to stream your content on ApsaraVideo Live.

Go to the Domains section of the ApsaraVideo Live Console.

1.Select the region where you want your streaming service to be available. Remember, you will need a domain with an ICP license if you want to serve content to Mainland China.

2.Click Add New Domain.

3.Enter the Live domain name into the textbox. For this tutorial the live domain name is ‘videolive-en.aliyun.com’.

4.Click Next step.

2.2 : Bind CNAME to the Domain

Next, we need to modify the DNS and CNAME record of the live video domain name we’ve just added in the previous step.

1.Copy the CNAME value for the live video domain we’ve just added from the Console:

2.Go to the Domain Console: https://dc.console.aliyun.com

3.Go to the Domain Name List page.

4.Select the domain name, and click Resolve.

Now, we need to bind the streaming address provided by Alibaba Cloud with the live video domain name.

This acts as a gateway to push your video stream through to the live video center, when it reaches the live video domain name.

5.Click Add Record.

6.Click Add Record again.

7.This will bring up a window where you need to add the resolution parameters for the domain. These are:

a.Type: Select CNAME from the dropdown list.

b.Host: Enter the secondary domain of the streaming address. For example, if the streaming address is videolive-en.aliyun.com, then the secondary domain name is videolive-en.

c.ISP Line: Leave as Default.

d.Value: Paste the CNAME value you copied in step 1 here.

e.TTL: Leave as 10 minute(s).

2.3 : Configure the Authentication

You can either use the default settings to configure the authentication, or customize the authentication.

For the purpose of this tutorial, we will go through the default authentication procedure. More information on customization options is available here: https://www.alibabacloud.com/help/doc-detail/29957.htm

The authentication function uses these settings for this example: the authentication function is in the Opened state by default, the Main KEY is abcd1234 and the Expire time is 1800s. This means that the authentication expires if the time exceeds 1800s.

Log on to the ApsaraVideo Live Console: https://live.console.aliyun.com/, then:

1.Click Domains in the left-side navigation pane.

2.Select the region.

3.Select the domain name, and click Detail at the right side.

4.In Base Information > Center streaming information, click Go to generate authentication URL at the right side of Authentication settings.

5.In the Generate authentication URL page, click Start to generate.

6.Click to copy the generated URL authentication address. Store this in a secure location, you will need it in step 8.

7.Click OK.

8.The generated Authentication URL rtmp://video-center.alivecdn.com/AppName/StreamName?vhost=videolive-en.aliyun.com&auth_key=************** can be used for streaming and playback with your chosen streaming tool for the streaming operation.

A Note on the Live Broadcasting Address Structure

A live video service address consists of three levels of live video management units: the domain name (Domain), an application (AppName) and a live-stream (StreamName). You can create multiple apps (AppName) under each domain name (Domain), and multiple live-streams (StreamName) under each app.

AppName and StreamName can be edited and customized. Different values generate different streaming and playback addresses.

For example, if an app is named live you can create multiple live-streams under live. The streaming addresses are then as follows:

rtmp://video-center.alivecdn.com/{live}/{3}?vhost={live video domain name}
rtmp://video-center.alivecdn.com/{live}/{1}?vhost={live video domain name}
rtmp://video-center.alivecdn.com/{live}/{2}?vhost={live video domain name}

You can also create multiple live-streams for the app:

rtmp://video-center.alivecdn.com/{live1}/{Stream}?vhost={live video domain name}
rtmp://video-center.alivecdn.com/{live2}/{Stream}?vhost={live video domain name}
rtmp://video-center.alivecdn.com/{live3}/{Stream}?vhost={live video domain name}

Before proceeding, check if you have...

•Added a live video domain to the Console.
•Binded a CNAME to the domain.
•Entered the authentication settings.
•Generated an authentication URL.

You can now move to Section 3.

Section 3 : Streaming

In this section, we will give you the information you need to take to step up a live-streaming process.

Streaming is the process of transmitting live content to the server using streaming tools and other content capturing software.

To stream your content, you need to use a third-party streaming tool. Alibaba Cloud recommends the following streaming tools:

●OBS official download: https://obsproject.com/download
●XSplit official download: https://www.xsplit.com/
●FMLE official download: http://offers.adobe.com/en/na/leap/landings/fmle3.html

The ApsaraVideo Live platform will sync with your streaming tool so that, when you start to create content, it is automatically generated in the ApsaraVideo Live console. It does this using the authenticated URL information (generated in Section 2).

Please see the website for your desired streaming tool, which will give you full details on how to setup and use your tool.

Section 4 : Playing

In this section, we will show you how to preview your streaming content from the Alibaba Cloud console:

1.Go to the ApsaraVideo Live Console and click on Streams.

2.Select the region.

3.Select the domain name.

4.Select the stream status.

5.Select the streaming address, and click Address at the right side.

6.You can then check the playback address and preview the content by clicking Copy and pasting the address into a browser address bar. Alternatively, you can click Play and the content will play using the VLC Player (if this has been downloaded).

7.If you are happy with your preview, copy the URL of the desired quality and format for your live-streaming content and paste it into the URL field of your encoder or browser.

You have now created your first piece of streaming content on the Alibaba ApsaraVideo Live platform.