Top 3 Advanced-Feature Configurations for Wowza Streaming Cloud

January 30, 2018 by

The Wowza Streaming Cloud™ service is one of the easiest ways to deliver professional-grade streaming. With just a few clicks, you can deliver live-streaming events to global audiences of any size. What’s more, through advanced streaming settings, Wowza Streaming Cloud puts the ability to fine-tune at your fingertips.

Among other things, Wowza Streaming Cloud Advanced Settings enable you to:

  • Add and modify stream sources.
  • Add and modify stream targets.
  • Manage recordings.
  • Set and manage schedules.
  • View logs.

You will find the Wowza Streaming Cloud Advanced Settings in the top navigation menu of the GUI (Graphical User Interface).

 

Wowza Streaming Cloud Configuration

 

Transcoders, Stream Targets and scheduling are some of the most popular advanced-settings options among Wowza Streaming Cloud users. In this post, we’ll show you how to get started when configuring these top three advanced features. You can also see the process explained in the video below:

 

 

1. Transcoders

Transcoder functionality, among other things, enables you to optimize the user experience across a wide variety of devices and networks.  

When getting started, it’s usually most straightforward to modify the transcoders created with the new streams. To do this, once you have created a stream, under the Advanced menu in the top navigation bar, select Transcoders.

The left pane lists the five most recent transcoders created or modified, and the center pane enables you to search for a specific transcoder.

 

Wowza Streaming Cloud Advanced Settings

 

From either location, you can select and modify the transcoder. Note: If the transcoder is running, you will need to stop it before you modify it.

By default, when you create a stream, your transcoder is automatically set up with four different resolutions (180p to 480p) and one passthrough steam. From the far-right Output & Targets tab, you’ll be able to modify the adaptive bitrate renditions within the transcoder.

 

Wowza Streaming Cloud Outputs and Targets

 

You can quickly and easily add additional resolutions with the blue Add Output pull-down menu presets, which go from 320 x 240 up to 3480 x 2160. You can also click the Add Output button to create a custom output.

 

Wowza Streaming Cloud Add Output

 

Transcoder Settings Tips:

  • We recommend you try adding a 720p (1280 x 720) rendition to get comfortable with adding renditions.
  • For the best performance, have your transcoder located as close as possible to your camera or encoder. From the “Transcoder Setup” tab, you can change the location of an existing transcoder to test different combinations.
  • When first setting up your streams, you have the option to select “Lower Latency.” You can also tune latency by reducing block and buffer sizes. It’s important to note that reducing block and buffer sizes will increase the overhead on the network, and may result in inconsistent playback for viewers with poor-quality connections.

 

2. Stream Targets

Through the use of Stream Targets, Wowza Streaming Cloud enables you to syndicate your streams across multiple destinations, such as your own website, Facebook Live and direct-playback URLs for mobile viewing.

When you select the Stream Targets option in the Advanced menu, you’ll see a target referencing the stream(s) you have created in both a Recent window on the left as well as in a searchable view in the center of the page (similar to what you see when you select the Transcoders option, as covered in the previous section). By clicking on the hyperlinks in either place, you can access and modify existing stream targets.

 

Wowza Streaming Cloud Stream Targets

 

If you’re adding Facebook as a Stream Target, it’s usually best to add it to a passthrough stream; then, Wowza Streaming Cloud will automatically adjust the output to meet Facebook's streaming requirements.

When looking at the Transcoder view (again, you can find this under the Advanced menu) for a stream you have created, under the default renditions, the passthrough stream will be the first rendition listed. To add Facebook Live as a Stream Target, use the pull-down arrow in the Add a Stream Target tab, select Facebook Live and follow the on-screen directions using your Facebook account credentials.

 

Wowza Streaming Cloud Add a Stream Target

 

Stream Targets Tips:

  • When editing an existing Stream Target, it’s most straightforward to access them through the Stream Targets option under the Advanced menu—however, when adding a new Stream Target, you might find it easier to do so from the Transcoder view for a specific rendition/resolution. This will keep you from having to create the target in one view, and then add it to one of the renditions in a separate step.
  • Some of the advanced features for Stream Targets (e.g. Token Authorization, Geo-Blocking) require contacting support in order for any changes to take effect. These functions include a note in the right pane of the UI, as well as a hyperlink for contacting support to get help with your configurations.

3. Schedules

The scheduling functionality enables you to start and stop transcoders at a specific time, without having to go in and manually do so. Unlike transcoded renditions or Stream Targets, there are no default templates for schedules; however, the wizard makes setting up a schedule fairly straightforward.  

To access this functionality, simply select the Schedules option from the pull-down menu under Advanced.  To begin, click the Add Schedule button at the top of the Recent pane.

 

 

Complete all the required information, including the transcoder the schedule is for. You have the option to select for the schedule to run one time or repeat, relative to a local or UTC time zone.  You can also give your schedule a name; while this is not required, naming them (particularly with the times and dates referenced in the schedule) does simplify management.

 

Add schedule to Wowza Streaming Cloud

 

When you have completed the required information, click Add, and you’re all set.

Schedules come with an Idle Timeout option; with this option in place, your transcoders will automatically stop if no incoming stream source is detected. If you have a pay-as-you-go plan, Idle Timeout is automatically set to 1,200 seconds (20 minutes). With 24×7 streaming plans, the default timeout is set to zero—but you can reset this value to a non-zero number, or set a stop time within the schedule.  

To modify the Idle Timeout setting, under the Advanced menu in the top navigation, select Transcoders. From the Transcoder Setup tab, click Edit. The Idle Timeout setting is near the bottom of the page.

 

Wowza Streaming Cloud Idle Timeout

 

Scheduling Tips:

  • Once a schedule has been assigned to a transcoder, it can be modified, but it cannot be assigned to a different transcoder.
  • Since schedules work by making API calls, they will not be able to start and stop streams during scheduled maintenance outages.
  • The transcoder functionality has a feature called Fallback, where in the event you lose your network connection at the camera or encoder level, Wowza Streaming Cloud will insert video with black frames to prevent the transcoder for automatically timing out, making reconnection and recovery faster. Enabling the Fallback functionality will prevent timeouts from stopping the transcoder when you stop or disconnect your camera or encoder.

Wowza Streaming Cloud's Advanced Settings open up a world of possibilities for customizing, automating and fine-tuning streaming experiences for your viewers.  The settings here are just a small sampling of the level of control they provide.

 

For more information, be sure to check out: