Choose between HLS or WebRTC stream delivery

HLS delivery is a standard, mature stream delivery protocol that makes it easy to take advantage content delivery networks (CDNs) to provide content to large numbers of viewers. HLS is a great choice for viewer scale and feature richness, while WebRTC might be your choice if low latency is your primary need.

WebRTC typically offers sub-500 millisecond latency with the added benefit of not requiring additional encoders or players since it runs from your browser using built-in cameras.

Because the maturity and technology for WebRTC is different than HLS, you'll want to consider the trade-offs for each protocol.

HLS WebRTC
Latency 15-20 seconds typical 500 milliseconds or less
Technology TCP UDP (primary), TCP (optional)
Features Depending on the player you use, you can take advantage of:
  • Closed captions
  • Subtitles
  • Metadata
  • Digital rights management (DRM)
  • Ad insertions
Industry-leading low latency
Player compatibility Wide variety with varied features you can take advantage of. Browser-based with a more limited feature set, that varies per browser.
Quality: Video quality vs speed Prioritizes video quality through adaptive bitrate (ABR) renditions for highest quality playback for each viewer's device and connection speed.

Prioritizes real-time latency.

WebRTC in Wowza Streaming Cloud produces discrete renditions of content that can be scaled on the viewer device. Publishers must generally provide a rendition at a bitrate that is suitable for all viewers.

Security You can implement the following security features for HLS streams:
  • Digital rights management (DRM)
  • Encryption of incoming/outgoing streams
  • Token authentication
  • TLS
WebRTC always uses the following security features:
  • TLS
  • Encryption of incoming/outgoing streams
Scale Tens, thousands, up to millions of viewers

300 viewers.

Standard WebRTC-to-WebRTC streams are limited to approximately 300 viewers in Wowza Streaming Cloud because of the technology used.

WebRTC can be paired with HLS for broad distribution with WebRTC for limited low-volume, low-latency streaming. See Deliver WebRTC streams to viewers for HLS playback using Wowza Streaming Cloud and Deliver WebRTC streams to viewers for HLS playback using the Wowza Streaming Cloud REST API for more information.

Cost Incur CDN distribution costs per viewer Distribution direct from transcoder. Incurs egress per viewer.
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Get started with Wowza Streaming Cloud

Start live streaming using the Wowza Streaming Cloud REST API

Deliver WebRTC streams to viewers using Wowza Streaming Cloud

Deliver WebRTC streams to viewers using the Wowza Streaming Cloud REST API