Internet Video Streaming — ABR part 2

Written by: Boris Asadanin, Streaming Media Consultant at Eyevinn Technology



  • ABR streaming — Adaptive bitrate streaming
  • Segments — parts of a video file
  • Manifest file — file containing references to each file in the collection of files that are parts of the same video asset
  • Profile — one quality/bitrate level among several for a video file

Live ABR video streaming

Fig 1: Manifest files referencing subsections of a live ABR stream.
Fig 2: Live stream example. Downloaded files are coloured green.

Recording and storing ABR streams

Fig 3: Recording session starting with Manifest n. All segments downloaded.

Storing ABR Recordings

Fig 4: One file ABR asset on disk. Initial manifest file referencing each segment as a byte offset within the file.

Various ABR Formats

  • HLS (HTTP Live Streaming): Apples format supported by Apple devices including iPhones, iPads and Mac computers. With its device reach, HLS is one of the dominating formats today and will probably stay so within the foreseeable future.
  • HDS (HTTP Dynamic Streaming): Adobes format supported by Adobe Flash player which was a common addon to internet browsers and available in Android devices. Without a natural client device support, and as the Flash player has lost its importance as browser add-on, HDS is considered dead today even if the format is still in use here and there.
  • MSS (Microsoft Smooth Streaming): Microsofts ABR format supported by clients built on Windows Phone 7 or on the Silverlight SDK. Having lost the dominance on the device market to Android and iOS, and with MPEG-DASH emerging, MSS is also on discontinued development status. It still remains an active format mainly on PCs and their IE browsers but will soon be overtaken by MPEG-DASH
  • MPEG-DASH: Format developed by MPEG Standardization Group to provide a standardized ABR format to bring confidence to the market. Using the standardized MPEG format would enable streaming industry players to record, store, and stream one format only to any client device. Together with HLS, MPEG-DASH is considered the dominating format which is being deployed in the streaming industry today.

Disadvantages with ABR streaming

  • Storing multiple bitrates
  • High over-head traffic — chatty protocols
  • High latency
  • Multiple formats

Storing Mutiple Bitrates

High Over-Head

High Latency

Multiple formats

Final Words



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