Adaptive Bitrate Streaming over HTTP has become the accepted standard for delivering video to the broadest range of mobile, tablet, and OTT devices. Using a standard HTTP server and a browser or standalone player or app is all it takes to deliver ABR streams. The stream is managed by a manifest file that maps out all of the available stream bitrates and dimensions. Based on a client’s available bandwidth, the stream will automatically adjust to ensure best stream. Adaptive is a superior option to a static file because a static file only delivers a single bitrate to every device regardless of device or available bandwidth. In contrast, an adaptive stream can be switched mid-stream to be as good or as bad as the client’s available bandwidth. When and adaptive stream makes the switch to accommodate changing network conditions, a static file will often buffer, stutter, or fail altogether. Because ABR is delivered over HTTP, not special requirements are needed for firewalls, proxies, or caches, make it both efficient and cost effective.
We’ve developed four complete ABR guides; HTTP-Live-Streaming (HLS) that was popularized by Apple for iOS, MPEG-DASH which is an open source option, Microsoft Smooth Streaming (MSS), and Adobe HTTP-Dynamic Streaming (HDS). If you are considering ABR for your viewers, these guides are a great place to start.