Compare Wowza Streaming Cloud workflows

Learn about the separate workflows available in the Wowza Streaming Cloud™ service, and decide which one is right for you.

About workflow options


The Wowza Streaming Cloud service enables you to easily stream live video to any device, scaling automatically to accommodate audiences of any size, anywhere. Before you start streaming, you'll need to make a decision about how to use the service to fit your streaming needs. There are two major workflows in Wowza Streaming Cloud: standard and ultra low latency. Which workflow is best? You'll want to consider the feature advantages and tradeoffs for each before deciding which to use.

Standard workflow


The standard workflow in Wowza Streaming Cloud allows you to transcode an incoming single-bitrate source stream, producing an adaptive bitrate (ABR) stream for playback over HLS. Certain subscription plans also support passthrough streams, which involve ingesting a single-bitrate source stream, passing it through a transcoder, and distributing a single-bitrate stream at the same bitrate as the ingest. With the standard workflow, you can leverage Wowza CDN with features such as token authentication, geo-blocking, and redundant playlists; or you can use a third-party CDN or service to distribute your streams. The standard workflow offers the most features and flexibility, but it doesn't provide scaleable ultra low latency streams.

Latency for standard workflow streams depends on the protocol used to distribute content as well as factors like network bandwidth, proximity of the viewer to the broadcast location, and source encoding settings. For example, in addition to HLS playback, you can play streams directly from a transcoder via RTMP, RTSP, or WOWZ for a latency as low as 1 second under optimal conditions. Direct playback, however, is limited to 100 maximum connections, and latency increases the farther a viewer is located from the transcoder.

Latency for HLS streams also depends on the media segment size. A default media segment size of 10 seconds can result in end-to-end latency of multiple tens of seconds for HLS streams. To reduce latency, you can tune your stream to use smaller segment sizes. For example, a 2-second segment results in latency closer to 10 seconds. Smaller segment size, however, can result in disruption to playback quality. To learn more about creating lower latency HLS streams with the standard Wowza Streaming Cloud workflow, see More resources. If latency is a primary concern, consider the ultra low latency workflow instead.

Ultra low latency workflow


The ultra low latency workflow in Wowza Streaming Cloud provides end-to-end latency of 3 seconds or less. This workflow has an emphasis on speed, with tradeoffs in some feature areas but additional benefits in others. For instance, you can't transcode ultra low latency streams; they are available for playback in single-bitrate only. Certain features such as token authentication, geo-blocking, recording, and scheduling also aren't available for ultra low latency streams. Content is ingested and distributed through Wowza CDN, which provides servers in locations all over the world. Connections are instantaneous, don't require manual location selection, and don't require a manual stop and start. For playback, ultra low latency streams are available through WOWZ over WebSockets, with fallback HLS streams as an option. Viewers can use Wowza™ Player and mobile apps developed using the Wowza GoCoder™ SDK to engage with your content.

Feature comparison


Still not sure? Use the following table to compare the features and limitations of each Wowza Streaming Cloud workflow.

Feature Standard workflow Ultra low latency workflow
Live Streaming Supported Supported
Video on Demand (VOD) Not supported Not supported
Publish (Ingest)
  • Global network of ingest locations
  • Dedicated instance per stream
  • 1 to 2 minute connection time
  • Manual location selection
  • H.264, H.265/HEVC (SRT only), AAC
  • Up to 2160p at 60 fps and 20 Mbps (4K)
  • Single-bitrate ingest
  • RTMP, RTMPS, RTSP, WOWZ, SRT
  • Global network of ingest locations
  • Multi-tenant instances
  • Instantaneous connection
  • Automatic location selection
  • H.264/AAC
  • Up to 1080p at 30 fps and 6 Mbps
  • Single-bitrate ingest
  • RTMP, RTMPS, RTSP, WOWZ
Transcoding Supported Not supported
Recording Supported Not supported
Scheduling Supported Not supported
Captions
  • AMF (onTextData)
  • CEA-608
Not supported
Security
  • SSL (publish and playback)
  • Geo/IP-blocking (playback only)
  • Token Authentication (playback only)
  • User Authentication (publish only, RTMP and RTSP)
  • Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (playback only)
  • SSL (publish and playback)
  • User authentication (pull streams, publish only)
  • IP whitelisting (push streams, publish only)
Latency
  • Depends on delivery protocol and tuning
  • Under 3 seconds end-to-end for WOWZ streams. For fallback HLS streams, latency is tuned to 8-10 seconds.
Playback
  • Wowza Player and all HLS-compatible players using HTML5 (MSE) compliant browsers with compliant operating systems
  • Adobe® Flash (HDS/HLS-compatible players)
  • iOS native player
  • HLS (adaptive bitrate)
  • H.264/AAC
  • Up to 2160p at 60 fps and 20 Mbps (4K)
  • No viewer limit
  • Wowza Player using HTML5 (MSE) compliant browsers with compliant operating systems
  • Mobile apps built with Wowza GoCoder SDK
  • WOWZ (single-bitrate)
  • HLS fallback (single-bitrate)
  • H.264/AAC
  • Up to 1080p at 30 fps and 6 Mbps
  • Maximum vewer limit set according to subscription plan
Metadata
  • AMF, ID3 (Converts AMF to ID3 for HLS)
  • PDT (Type of ID3 tags)
  • AMF, ID3 (Converts AMF to ID3 for HLS)
  • PDT (Type of ID3 tags)
Configuration
  • Wowza Streaming Cloud user interface
  • Wowza Streaming Cloud REST API
  • Wowza Streaming Cloud user interface
  • Wowza Streaming Cloud REST API
Monitoring
  • Stream health metrics
  • Usage data
  • Viewer data
  • Stream health metrics
  • Usage data
  • Viewer data

More resources