This topic shows you how to prevent stuttering and network instability and accelerate live streaming when the casters and viewers reside in different countries.

Differences between live streaming in mainland China and live streaming outside China

Compared with live streaming in mainland China, live streaming outside China has the following requirements:
  • Edge group, live center, and premium streaming acceleration configurations of live domains and uplink and downlink monitoring

    When you live stream videos, you must specify appropriate live center, edge group, and premium streaming acceleration configurations to prevent unstable transmission over cross-border connections and a high stuttering rate.

    You can monitor the uplink frame rate and bitrate to check the live streaming status of the casters in real time, and collect downlink playback statistics to understand viewing behavior.

  • Qualifications, including Internet Content Provider (ICP) filings for domain names

    To use a domain name to provide live streaming services for viewers in mainland China, you must apply for an ICP filing for the domain name, regardless of whether the casters reside in or outside China.

  • Features of ApsaraVideo Live for live streaming outside China
    • ApsaraVideo Live allows you to encrypt live streams during live streaming outside China, especially in scenarios in which live streams are ingested and played outside China.
    • ApsaraVideo Live supports adaptive bitrate streaming depending on the network conditions. Adaptive bitrate streaming meets the requirements for long-distance transmission over cross-border connections.
    • ApsaraVideo Live provides a Secure Reliable Transport (SRT)-compliant solution for cross-border live streaming of National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) regulation-based activities, events, and concerts.

Solutions for different scenarios in terms of network connection optimization

The following table describes the three scenarios for live streaming outside China. ApsaraVideo Live provides solutions for these scenarios.
Scenario for live streaming outside China Task involved
The casters reside in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, or regions outside China, while the viewers reside in mainland China Add live domains and configure premium streaming acceleration. You must apply for ICP filings for the live domains in advance.
Both the casters and viewers reside in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, or regions outside China Configure edge ingest and monitor the status of live streams and network conditions.
The casters reside in mainland China, while the viewers reside in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, or regions outside China Add live domains and configure premium streaming acceleration.

For more information about how to configure premium streaming acceleration, see FAQ.

The casters reside in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, or regions outside China, while the viewers reside in mainland China

Problem description

During live streaming, the transmission quality is unstable over cross-border connections, and the stuttering rate is high.

Solution

ApsaraVideo Live provides the premium streaming acceleration feature that can transmit live streams to mainland China over a stable virtual private cloud (VPC). You can configure premium streaming acceleration to prevent unstable transmission over cross-border connections and a high stuttering rate during live streaming. Perform the following steps:
  1. Add your live domains to the live center in the China (Shanghai) region.
    Note Premium streaming acceleration takes effect only for the live domains whose live center resides in the China (Shanghai), China (Shenzhen), China (Qingdao), China (Beijing), or Singapore (Singapore) region. Therefore, you must add live domains to a live center in one of the preceding regions.
  2. Configure premium streaming acceleration in the Premium Streaming Acceleration Settings dialog box. For more information, see Configure premium streaming acceleration.
Notice

To use a domain name to provide live streaming services for viewers in mainland China, you must apply for an ICP filing for the domain name. For more information, see ICP Registration Support.

Both the casters and viewers reside in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, or regions outside China

Problem description

  • The viewers are widely distributed around the globe, and your live streaming services cannot reach all of the viewers.
  • The locations of the casters are not fixed. In addition, the network transmission is unstable, and the live streaming quality is poor.

Solution

ApsaraVideo Live provides live centers in the Germany (Frankfurt), Singapore (Singapore), and Japan (Tokyo) regions for casters outside China. We recommend that you select a live center that is near to the casters. Then, ApsaraVideo Live can ingest streams to the live center.
  1. Configure edge ingest.
    Alibaba Cloud provides Content Delivery Network (CDN) nodes that cover major countries. ApsaraVideo Live uses edge ingest to deliver streams to the edge nodes that are nearest to the casters. Then, ApsaraVideo Live uses the network that is optimized by Alibaba Cloud to deliver the streams to the live center that you specify.
    Note ApsaraVideo Live uses edge ingest to distribute content for streaming domains that are added after February 21, 2019. If your streaming domain is still using the live center ingest mode for specific reasons,we recommend that you submit a ticket to switch to the edge ingest mode.
  2. Monitor the network conditions in real time.
    • To monitor the network conditions of a caster in real time, perform the following steps: Log on to the ApsaraVideo Live console. In the left-side navigation pane, choose Stream Management > Ingest Endpoints. On the Ingest Endpoint Management page, select the domain name that you want to query. Then, click Stream Monitoring in the Actions column of a stream to check the stream ingest status and network conditions of the caster in real time. This helps ensure the stability of stream ingest. For more information, see Manage streams.

    • To query the real-time frame rate and bitrate of a stream, you can call the DescribeLiveDomainFrameRateAndBitRateData operation. For more information, see DescribeLiveDomainFrameRateAndBitRateData.
Notice Alibaba Cloud has abundant CDN nodes in and outside China, covering six continents and more than 70 countries and regions. All mainstream providers allow viewers outside China to view live streams. However, when you add live domains, you must set the Edge Group parameter to Global or Outside Mainland China. Otherwise, the added live domains do not take effect.

The casters reside in mainland China, while the viewers reside in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, or regions outside China

Problem description

  • How do I accelerate videos that are live streamed in mainland China to regions outside China?
  • How do I ensure fast and stable transmission of important videos to regions outside China?
Solution
  1. When you add live domains, set the Edge Group parameter to Global or Outside Mainland China. For more information, see Add a domain name.
  2. Log on to the ApsaraVideo Live console in a region in which you want to ensure the playback quality of live streams.
  3. In the left-side navigation pane, click Domains. On the Domain Management page, click Domain Settings in the Actions column of the streaming domain that you want to configure. Choose Templates > Premium Streaming Acceleration. Enable premium streaming acceleration and click Add. In the Premium Streaming Acceleration Settings dialog box, configure premium streaming acceleration. Set the Applies To parameter to Live Streaming. Then, ApsaraVideo Live transmits your live streams to the specific region in which you want to ensure the playback quality over a VPC. For more information, see Configure premium streaming acceleration.

Features of ApsaraVideo Live for live streaming outside China

Note By default, the following features are disabled in the ApsaraVideo Live console. To apply to enable these features, submit a ticket.
  • Content moderation

    ApsaraVideo Live provides Alibaba Cloud proprietary cryptography. Live streams are encrypted in live centers based on the cooperation between the server and players. In addition, Key Management Service (KMS) is used to dynamically manage keys. To decrypt and play live streams, you must use a player that is allowed by the server. For more information, see Alibaba Cloud video encryption.

  • Adaptive bitrate streaming

    If the uplink network conditions permit, you may be inclined to set parameters to values that can produce a higher definition. For example, set the bitrate to a large value. However, network conditions are complex and changeable. To meet downlink playback requirements in a variety of environments, you can enable adaptive bitrate streaming. This way, the live streams are played at an appropriate bitrate based on the viewers' network conditions. After you enable adaptive bitrate streaming, the player automatically selects the best definition when the viewers start to play a live stream. When the player detects that the viewers' network conditions are not good, the player switches to play the live stream at a lower bitrate.

  • Real-Time Streaming (RTS)

    The RTS feature of ApsaraVideo Live supports end-to-end live streaming with a low latency of 1.5 seconds. Uplink streams are ingested based on Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP). In terms of downlink stream playback, the Alibaba Real-Time Communication (ARTC) protocol is supported in addition to RTMP, Flash Video (FLV), and HTTP Live Streaming (HLS). ARTC is evolved based open source Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC). You can add sub-streaming domains to ensure low-latency stream playback based on ARTC. You can use ApsaraVideo Player SDK, RTS netSDK, or a self-defined open protocol to integrate RTS to your business logic. The time required for instant loading and the stuttering rate are less than or equal to those of RTMP-based playback. For more information, see Real-time Streaming.

  • Low-latency HLS (LHLS)

    LHLS is developed to reduce the latency of the HLS protocol. LHLS can reduce the latency of HLS from a range of 15 to 30 seconds to a range of 3 to 5 seconds.

  • Live streaming based on SRT and Dolby Atmos

    This feature is applicable to the live streaming of professional, large-scale NRTA regulation-based events. For more information, see Live streaming based on SRT and Dolby Atmos.