How to set up live streaming using an RTSP/RTP-based encoder

This tutorial provides the basic steps that show how to use Wowza Streaming Engine™ live streaming software to publish a live stream from RTSP/RTP-based encoders for playback on all supported player technologies.


Tutorial Troubleshooting More resources



This tutorial shows you how to set up an application for live streaming. Wowza Streaming Engine software administrators can configure live streaming applications by using UI options in the Wowza Streaming Engine Manager or by setting properties in Application.xml. Both configuration methods have the same result. Wowza Media Server™ software administrators must configure live streaming applications in the Application.xml file.

Wowza Streaming Engine Manager configuration

This section provides the basic steps for setting up an application for live streaming using Wowza Streaming Engine Manager. Users play the live stream to view an event as it happens. Live streams are sent to the media server from an encoder that delivers the stream in a compatible format. The example uses an application named live, which is included in default installations of Wowza Streaming Engine. If you want to create a new live streaming application, you can use this same procedure.
  1. Make sure Wowza Streaming Engine Manager is running. See How to start and stop Wowza Streaming Engine software.
  2. In the Streaming Engine Manager, click the Applications tab at the top of the page.
  3. Configure the live application:
    1. In the Applications contents panel, click live, and then click Edit. (This example uses the installed live application. If you want to create a new live streaming application, click Add Application in the contents panel, and then click Live. Follow the instructions in the UI.)

    2. Select all of the Playback Types, and then click Save.

      The following alert appears after every configuration change. You can wait until all changes are completed before you restart.

  4. Configure playback authentication:
    1. In the contents panel, click Playback Security, and then click Edit.

    2. Under Client restrictions, select No client restrictions, and then click Save.

    Note: For more information about configuring the options to secure playback connections to live and VOD applications, see Playback Security.
  5. Configure encoder source authentication:
    1. In the contents panel, click Source Security, and then click Edit.

    2. The Source Security page is displayed. Configure the following options, and then click Save.
      • Under RTSP Sources, select Require password authentication.
      • Under Client Restrictions, select No client restrictions.

  6. Restart the application to apply the changes.

    The application runs whenever Wowza Streaming Engine is running.
    Note: For more information about configuring the options to secure source connections to live applications, see Source Security.
  7. Configure the source user name and password to publish to this application:
    1. In the Server contents panel, click Source Authentication, and then click Add Source.

    2. In the Source page, enter values for Source User Name and Password, and then click Add.

XML configuration

This section provides the basic steps for setting up an application for live streaming and for configuring Application.xml.

Note: If you created your application by following the previous section, skip this section. If you make changes to Application.xml and you're using the Wowza Streaming Engine™ software, any supported settings will be displayed in the manager the next time it's started. Wowza Media Server™ software doesn't support Wowza Streaming Engine Manager, so you must edit Application.xml in a text editor if you're running Wowza Media Server.
  1. Create application folder [install-dir]/applications/live.
  2. Create configuration folder [install-dir]/conf/live and copy [install-dir]/conf/Application.xml to this new folder.
  3. Edit the newly copied Application.xml file and make the following changes (some of these settings may already be present):
    1. Set the Streams/StreamType property to:
    2. Set the HTTPStreamers property to:
      <HTTPStreamers>cupertinostreaming, smoothstreaming, sanjosestreaming, mpegdashstreaming</HTTPStreamers>
    3. Set the Streams/LiveStreamPacketizers property to:
      <LiveStreamPacketizers>cupertinostreamingpacketizer, smoothstreamingpacketizer, sanjosestreamingpacketizer, mpegdashstreamingpacketizer</LiveStreamPacketizers>
    4. Set the RTP/Authentication/PlayMethod property to:
  4. Edit the [install-dir]/conf/publish.password file and add a user name and password that will be used to control RTSP/RTP source access (below is an example of the file with the publisherName and [password]):
    # Publish password file (format [username][space][password])
    # username password
    publisherName [password]
  5. Start the Wowza media server.

Publishing the stream

In your encoder, enter the following information, and then click Publish or Start:
Server URL: rtsp://[wowza-ip-address]:1935/live
Stream Name: myStream
User: publisherName
password: [password]
Note: The steps for publishing a stream from your encoder to Wowza Streaming Engine software will vary depending on the encoder that you're using. For more information about how to configure your encoder, see Specific Encoding Technologies in the Wowza forum or the documentation for your encoder.


Note: In the following examples, [wowza-ip-address] is the IP address or domain name of the Wowza media server.

Wowza Streaming Engine Manager

In Streaming Engine Manager, click Test Players in the upper-right corner of the live application page. The Test Players window that opens includes test players that are preconfigured to stream the live stream named myStream over various streaming formats.

Each tab in the Test Players window either hosts a test player that you can use to play the live stream or provides instructions for playing the live stream. For example, to use the Adobe HDS protocol to play myStream, click the Adobe HDS tab, and then click Start.

The test players are also online on our Wowza Test Players webpage.

Example players

You can also use example players installed in [install-dir]/examples/ to test your streaming applications. For more information, see the following articles:

Adaptive bitrate streaming

Adaptive bitrate (ABR) live streaming to Adobe Flash Player, Apple iOS devices, Microsoft Silverlight, and MPEG-DASH players requires that you have an encoder that can generate multiple bitrate streams from the same source with properly aligned keyframes. You also must create a Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) file that links the streams together for playback.

For more information, see How to do adaptive bitrate streaming.



RTSP/RTP streaming is used to stream to Android and BlackBerry mobile devices. Android mobile devices formerly supported Adobe Flash player, but Android no longer supports Flash. Newer Android devices now support Apple HLS. HLS works best on Android 4.0 devices and above.

To stream to RTSP/RTP, be sure that UDP ports 0-65535 are open and properly mapped to the Wowza media server.
Note: To configure a Wowza media server properly for RTSP/RTP streaming, carefully follow the instructions provided in How to troubleshoot RTSP/RTP playback.

Property to force output to MPEG-TS (set-top box)

When streaming out using RTSP/RTP, you can force the output to MPEG-TS, which is required by many set-top boxes. For more information, see How to generate and control MPEG-TS output for set-top boxes.

Property to change AAC packetization method

A Wowza media server can use the mpeg4-generic and mp4a-latm (3gpp) packetization methods to output AAC audio. The default packetization method is mpeg4-generic.

Wowza Streaming Engine Manager configuration

To switch to mp4a-latm (3gpp), do the following:
  1. In Wowza Streaming Engine Manager, click the Applications tab and then click live in the contents panel.
  2. On the live application page Properties tab, click Custom in the Quick Links bar or scroll to the bottom of the page.
    Note: Access to the Properties tab is limited to administrators with advanced permissions. For more information, see Manage credentials.
  3. In the Custom area, click Edit.
  4. Click Add Custom Property, specify the following settings in the Add Custom Property dialog box, and then click Add:
    • Path: Select /Root/Application/RTP.
    • Name: Enter audioPacketizerAAC.
    • Type: Select String.
    • Value: Enter com.wowza.wms.rtp.packetizer.RTPPacketizerMPEG4LATM.
  5. Click Save, and then restart the live application to apply the changes.

XML configuration

To switch to mp4a-latm (3gpp):
  1. Use a text editor to open the [install-dir]/conf/[application]/Application.xml file for your live application and add the following property to the RTP/Properties container. Be sure to add the property to the correct <Properties> container in Application.xml as there are several such containers in the file.
  2. Restart the Wowza media server software to apply the changes.

More resources

How to play your first live stream (video tutorial)
How to troubleshoot RTSP/RTP playback
How to set up an application for RTSP/RTP streaming
How to configure Apple QuickTime player for RTSP/RTP playback on Windows
How to configure VLC player for RTSP/RTP playback (RTSP/RTP interleaved and tuning)
JW Player Dynamic RTMP Streaming
Flowplayer Dynamic Streaming
How to configure security using Wowza Streaming Engine Manager
Originally Published: 11-16-2011.
Updated: For Wowza Streaming Engine 4.2.0 on 06-16-2015.

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