RTMP vs. RTSP: What’s the Difference and How to Choose Your Streaming Protocol

By The Zype Team on November 29, 2021

Are you a content creator or broadcaster who is looking to develop a streaming platform? Well, then you already know that the journey to launching your streaming service is filled with roadblocks.

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You need to weigh various factors, including the choice of video hosting service and the type of encoder you’ll use. Additionally, it’s important to select the right streaming protocol for your platform.

Streaming Protocols: An Overview

The streaming protocol you choose for your platform will go a long way to influence the viewing experience. 

But what is a streaming protocol?

Simply put, it’s a set of rules for transmitting multimedia files between two communication systems. It defines how your video files will be broken into small data packets and the order in which they’ll be transmitted over the internet.

But if you aren’t familiar with the technicalities of live streaming, the diverse spectrum of streaming protocols can overwhelm you.

The RTMP vs. RTSP comparison is one of the most common dilemmas you’ll experience when evaluating streaming protocols.

What’s the difference between them? Which protocol will provide a better viewing experience to end-users? What kind of hardware and software will you need to implement these protocols?

These questions may arise when you think about the “RTMP vs. RTSP” debate. Here, we’ll take a closer look at their differences to help you choose the right protocol. 

RTMP: A Closer Look

When it comes to live and on-demand video streaming, RTMP has been the standard protocol in use. Short for Real-Time Messaging Protocol, RTMP was developed by Macromedia and is now owned by Adobe.

RTMP was originally designed to establish a stable connection between a media server and a Flash player. It uses Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) to transmit data packets from the server.

Benefits of RTMP

The biggest benefit of RTMP is that it maintains a stable connection between your hosting server and the client’s server. It helps provide a seamless low-latency streaming experience, irrespective of the quality of a user’s internet connection.

RTMP is used by various established streaming platforms, including YouTube and Facebook. Additionally, it supports different types of media files, such as audio, video, text, and graphics. Apart from FLV, it supports various formats, including MP3, MP4, and AAC.

Drawbacks of RTMP

The only catch with RTMP is that it isn’t compatible with HTML5 players. That means you’ll need to use another protocol, such as HLS, for the last-mile delivery of your video files. Additionally, RTMP is susceptible to bandwidth issues.

RTSP: A Closer Look

RTSP, short for Real-Time Streaming Protocol, was developed by RealNetworks in 1996. It’s designed to control the entertainment and communication systems in a streaming server. Apart from TCP, RTSP also utilizes User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP).

An RTSP server is used to relay VHS-like commands, such as “play” and “pause,” between the streaming server and the client’s media player. RTSP is the standard protocol used for streaming video data from IP cameras.

Benefits of RTSP

RTSP supports reliable segmented streaming. That means users can continue to watch a stream while it’s still being downloaded. Additionally, it provides extensive customization options to help you build your own streaming applications and add new features.

Drawbacks of RTSP

The main disadvantage of RTSP is that it isn’t widely used for broadcasting multimedia via the internet. So, it isn’t supported by several established video hosting providers and media players. 

If you intend to use RTSP for your streaming platform, you’ll likely need additional software support.

RTMP vs. RTSP: Performance Comparison

Both RTMP and RTSP are designed for efficient and low-latency streaming of video files. While RTMP is widely used by broadcasters, RTSP is mainly used for localized streaming from IP cameras. Instead of focusing on the RTMP - RTSP difference, you need to evaluate your needs and choose the most suitable streaming protocol.

And if you want a reliable partner for it all, get in touch with MAZ for a free demo of our enterprise-grade OTT platform.

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