Create and manage transcoders in Wowza Streaming Cloud

Contents


About transcoders
Add a transcoder
Create output renditions for a transcoder
Create stream targets for an output rendition
View transcoder details
Edit a transcoder's settings, outputs, or targets
Edit a transcoder's RTSP connection properties
Copy or delete a transcoder
Start a transcoder
Stop a transcoder
Start or stop a transcoder's stream targets

About transcoders


Live streams are an efficient way to receive, transcode, and deliver live adaptive bitrate content to a player. The Wowza Streaming Cloud™ service also offers an advanced mode that lets you customize transcoding processes. In the Transcoder section of the Advanced menu, you can create transcoders that are optimized for various network or streaming conditions, define custom adaptive bitrate output renditions and for transcoders, and specify RTMP targets, or destinations, for your output renditions.

Transcoders, like live streams, can be adaptive bitrate or passthrough. An adaptive bitrate transcoder generates multiple output renditions of your live stream, at different bitrates. You create those output renditions when you configure the transcoder's basic settings. A passthrough transcoder, in contrast, sends the source video directly to a stream target without performing transcoding. As a result, when you create a passthrough transcoder, you don't have the option to create custom output renditions, but you do need to assign one or more stream targets to it.

Passthrough transcoders, which can only be created if you have a subscription plan that supports them, accrue processing time, bandwidth, and egress usage, but much less than their adaptive bitrate counterparts.

Add a transcoder


To create a custom transcoder, start by defining where and how the transcoder.

  1. Click Advanced on the menu bar, click Transcoders, and then click Add Transcoder.
  2. On the Add Transcoder: Transcoder Setup page, specify setup details.
  • Transcoder Name – A short, descriptive identifier for the transcoder that differentiates it from other transcoders. The Transcoder Name is required and can't be longer than 200 characters. It doesn't have to be unique.
  • Transcoder Type – If your subscription plan covers passthrough transcoding, choose Adaptive bitrate to transcode your source video and create multiple output renditions of your stream at different bitrates, or choose Passthrough to send the source video directly to a target without creating adaptive bitrate output renditions.
Note: The Transcoder Type can't be changed after the transcoder is created.
  • Billing Mode – If your subscription plan covers 24x7 billing, choose whether you want to run the transcoder in Pay as you go or 24x7 mode.
Notes:
  • 24x7 transcoders run until they are stopped either manually or by using a schedule. They do not automatically stop after the transcoder has been idle for 20 minutes.
  • 24x7 transcoders can't be recorded.
  • 24x7 transcoders don't support 4K resolution.
  • The Billing Mode can't be changed after the transcoder is created.
  • Broadcast Location – The geographic region where Wowza Streaming Cloud transcodes and processes your live stream. Select a Broadcast Location that's as close as possible to where your stream will originate.
  • Recording – If you want Wowza Streaming Cloud to create a recording of your stream, select Yes, record this transcoder.
Note: Recordings incur storage costs. See the user guide topic Record live streams and transcoders for more information about recording streams and usage.
  • Closed Captions – Wowza Streaming Cloud can receive closed caption data with your source stream so that captions appear when the stream is played using the Adobe HDS and Apple HLS protocols. Choose the type of caption your video source is sending to Wowza Streaming Cloud: CEA-608 (digital), Action Message Format (AMF) onTextData, or CEA-608 (digital) and onTextData. To omit captions from playback, leave the closed captioning option set at None.
Note: Wowza Streaming Cloud supports only the digital CEA-608 portion of the CEA-708 closed captioning standard.
  • Source Protocol – The transport protocol for the source video:
    • RTMP – Adobe Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) connections accept communications from sources such as Adobe Media Server. By default, RTMP-based connections require a source username and password to authenticate, and use TCP port 1935.
    • RTSP – Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) connections are used to establish and control sessions between streaming sources. Data transmission is controlled by Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) and Real Time Control Protocol (RTCP). RTSP connections don't support stream smoothing. By default, RTSP uses TCP port 554.
  • Source Delivery Method – The type of connection:
    • Pull from a source URL – Instructs Wowza Streaming Cloud to pull the stream from an RTMP or RTSP source. Enter the server's web address in the Source URL field without the preceding protocol or trailing slash (/).
    • Push to an existing stream source – Lets you choose a stream source that you created in Wowza Streaming Cloud. For RTMP source types only.
    • Push to Wowza Streaming Cloud – Indicates that your video source will push the stream to Wowza Streaming Cloud. For push connections, enter the optional Source Stream Extension. Some encoders automatically append an extension to their stream names. If the device you're using does this, enter the extension.
  • Buffer Size – The incoming buffer stores packets before they're processed, enabling more efficient transcoding. An optimum Buffer Size reduces stream jittering and helps ensure successful transmuxing. (Transmuxing is the process of converting to a different container format without changing the stream's content.)
  • Low Latency – Reduces the time it takes to decode and deliver video data to the player by turning off the sort packet buffer.
  • Stream Smoother – A dynamic buffer that helps stabilize streams in rough network conditions but adds latency. For RTMP source types only.
  • Disable Stream Targets – By default, stream targets start when the transcoder starts. Selecting Disable stream targets on transcoder start, however, keeps all stream targets disabled (not broadcasting) when you start the transcoder. If selected, you must manually start the targets on the Outputs & Targets tab of the transcoder detail page when you're ready for viewers to see the broadcast at your stream targets.
  • Idle Timeout – Stops transcoders after no video has been received for the specified length of time. The default timeout is 1200 seconds, or 20 minutes, for pay-as-you-go transcoders and 0 seconds for 24x7 transcoders. When Idle Timeout is set to 0, Wowza Streaming Cloud doesn't stop the transcoder.
  • Embed Watermark – If desired, select Embed a watermark in the transcoded stream. Then, navigate to and select an image to embed as a watermark in your video stream. The watermark is encoded into all bitrate renditions of a transcoded stream. Watermark images must be GIF, JPEG, or PNG format and no larger than 2.5 MB.

After choosing the image, specify the corner of the video frame where the watermark should appear. To resize the image, enter a Watermark Width and Watermark Height. Then, specify the Watermark Opacity by entering a percentage between 0 (completely transparent) and 100 (opaque).

Notes:
  • Watermarks aren't available for passthrough transcoders and don't appear on passthrough output renditions.
  • Watermarks aren't embedded in Wowza Streaming Cloud recordings.
  • Source Security – By default, Wowza Streaming Cloud secures RTMP and RTSP connections that push directly to Wowza Streaming Cloud by requiring username/password authentication. Select Disable authentication if you don't want to use authentication with your push source stream, or select Change source username and password to enter a different Source Username or Source Password. Usernames and passwords can contain only upper and lowercase letters; numbers; and the period (.), underscore (_), and hyphen (-) characters. No other special characters can be used.
  • Description – (Optional) Information for your reference.
  1. Click Add.

Wowza Streaming Cloud creates the transcoder and displays the Outputs & Targets tab of the transcoder detail page.

Create output renditions for a transcoder


Each transcoder must have at least one output rendition. An output rendition is a version of the stream with a specific bitrate and aspect ratio.

Important:
  • You can't start a transcoder that doesn't have any outputs. Adaptive bitrate transcoders that don't have any outputs appear as Incomplete in the Selected and Transcoders panels.

  • For passthrough transcoders, Wowza Streaming Cloud automatically creates an output rendition based on the source video's encoding settings. This passthrough output rendition can't be edited, and you can't create additional, custom outputs for passthrough transcoders. Passthrough transcoders that don't have any targets appear as Incomplete in the Selected and Transcoders panels.
  1. On the Outputs & Targets tab of the detail page of an adaptive bitrate transcoder, do one of the following:
  • Click the down arrow on the right side of the Add Output button and select a preset output rendition from the list. Skip Steps 2 and 3.

  • Click the Add Output button to create a custom output rendition.
  1. On the Add an Output form, specify the details of the rendition:
  • Stream Format – Specifies whether the stream contains a video track, an audio track, or both.
  • Passthrough Video – Sends the stream to the target without transcoding the video track. If you select Passthrough Video, the Video Bitrate defaults to 0 and you can't specify H.264 Profile, Aspect Ratio, or Keyframe Interval.
  • Passthrough Audio – Sends the stream to the target without transcoding the audio track. If you select Passthrough Audio, Audio Bitrate defaults to 0.
  • Video Bitrate (Kbps) – Specifies the video bitrate to use, in kilobits per second (Kbps). Must be between 0 Kbps (for passthrough video) and 10240 Kbps.
  • Audio Bitrate (Kbps) – Specifies the audio bitrate to use, in kilobits per second (Kbps). Must be at least 0 Kbps (for passthrough audio).
  • H.264 Profile – Specifies the use of industry-standard encoding methods that determine the quality and complexity of the stream. The profiles yield streams optimized for different applications.
  • Baseline – Best-suited for playback on mobile devices and for compatibility with older playback devices.
  • Main – Best-suited for standard-definition broadcast and desktop streaming, including Adobe Flash playback.
  • High – Designed for high-definition playback devices.
  • Frame Rate Reduction – Reduces the frame rate of the output rendition. By default, output renditions use the same frame rate as the encoded source video (0 (no reduction) is selected. Higher frame rates such as 50 fps or 60 fps yield smoother motion when the stream is viewed, but not all playback methods support high frame rates. To make high-frame-rate source video viewable over slower playback methods, you can skip one of every 2, 4, 25, 30, 50, or 60 frames on the output rendition. Choose 1/2, for example, to reduce the frame rate on 60-fps source video to 30 fps on the output rendition or reduce the frame rate on 50-fps video to 25 fps on the output rendition.
  • Aspect Ratio – Specifies the aspect ratio (16:9 or 4:3) and frame size of the output rendition. If you enter a custom aspect ratio, the width and height must each be at least 10 pixels.
  • Keyframe Interval – Specifies the interval used to define the compression applied to a group of frames. The default value, Follow Source, uses the keyframe interval of the source video. You can also select a value of between 25 and 120 frames.
  1. Click Save.

Create stream targets for an output rendition


Each output rendition must have at least one stream target. A stream target is a destination for the rendition. Stream targets can be Wowza CDN resources or external destinations. After your transcoder has one or more output renditions assigned to it, create one or more stream targets for each output rendition.

Notes:

  • You can't start a transcoder that doesn't have any stream targets.
  • As a best practice, each output rendition should have no more than 10 targets.
     
  1. On the Outputs & Targets tab of the transcoder detail page, click the Add a Stream Target button for any output rendition.

  1. Choose one of the following:
  • Wowza CDN - HDS/HLS – A target at a Wowza Streaming Cloud edge resource that receives the stream over RTMP and makes it available for playback over Adobe HDS
    and Apple HLS.
  • Wowza CDN - HLS – A target at a Wowza Streaming Cloud location that receives and makes the stream available for playback over Apple HLS.
  • Custom – A custom target at any RTMP destination.
  • Facebook Live – A target that delivers the stream to a Facebook Timeline, Page, group, or event for Facebook Live Video playback.
  • Existing stream target – Any existing Wowza Streaming Cloud target, Wowza CDN or custom. Uses the target as is; you can't edit it.
  1. Depending on the type of stream target you're creating, do one of the following:
  • Wowza CDN - HDS/HLS – Enter the Target Name and Target Location and click Add.
  • Wowza CDN - HLS – Enter the Target Name and then click Add. For information about secure ingest and CORS compatibility, see the Help panel on the right side of the page.
  • Custom – Enter the target settings and then click Add. For information about the options, see the Help panel on the right side of the page.
  • Facebook Live – Enter the target settings and then click Add. For information about the options, see the Help panel on the right side of the page.
  • Existing stream target – Select a stream target from the list, select the option to use the backup URL if desired, and then click Assign Stream Target.

View transcoder details


  1. Click Advanced on the menu bar, and then click Transcoders.
  2. Select a transcoder in the Transcoders panel.
Note: Transcoders that were created through the live stream workflow appear in the Transcoders panel as [Live stream name] / Transcoder.
  1. Click a tab on the transcoder detail page to see relevant information.
  • The Overview tab displays:

Video Thumbnail – When the transcoder is running, the Video Thumbnail displays a frame from the live stream every five seconds. If the transcoder has started but Wowza Streaming Cloud isn't receiving any source video, the message "No video detected" appears in place of the video frame. At the bottom of the thumbnail, a date/time stamp indicates when the stream began.

Statistics – Real-time connection, transcoding, and delivery metrics appear to the right of the thumbnail. See the user guide topic View statistics for an active stream for information about the statistics.

Live Stream – If a transcoder was created through the live stream workflow, click the live stream name to go its detail page.

Broadcast Location – The region where your stream is being transcoded.

Source Protocol – Indicates whether the transcoder is connected to the source using the RTMP or RTSP protocol.

Outputs & Targets – Shows high-level specifications of each defined output rendition and the target or targets to which the rendition is being delivered. When the transcoder is running, status icons indicate whether each target is disabled, waiting (not found), active, or there's an error.

  • The Transcoder Setup tab displays ingest and transcoding details for the transcoder, including Transcoder Name, Source Protocol, Source Delivery Method, and other setup options.
  • The Properties tab displays details of any advanced properties that can be configured. Properties are available for transcoders that connect to sources over RTSP. See the user guide topic Edit a transcoder's RTSP connection properties for more information.
  • The Outputs & Targets tab lists all output renditions for the transcoder and the target or targets associated with each output. The Outputs & Targets tab also offers buttons to let you start or stop all targets independently of starting and stopping the transcoder.

Edit a transcoder's settings, outputs, or targets


  1. Click Advanced on the menu bar, and then click Transcoders.
  2. Select a transcoder in the Transcoders panel.
  3. Do any of the following:
  • To edit a transcoder's settings, click the Transcoder Setup tab and then click Edit.
  • To edit outputs, click the Outputs & Targets tab and then:
    • Click the pencil icon to edit the output rendition.
    • Click the pages icon to copy the output rendition.
    • Click trash can icon to delete the output rendition.
  • To edit targets, click the Outputs & Targets tab and then:
  • Click the Actions menu for any target and choose Enable this stream target or Disable this stream target.
  • Click the P icon to switch between using the primary and backup URL. Or, click the Actions menu for any target and choose Switch to backup URL or Switch to primary URL.
  • Click the Actions menu and choose Remove this stream target to delete the target from the output.
  • Click the target name to edit the target's settings.
  1. (Optional) If you edited a transcoder while it's running and you want the changes to take effect for the active stream, click Reset Transcoder.

Edit a transcoder's RTSP connection properties


Wowza Streaming Cloud provides advanced properties that you can use to troubleshoot playback failures of transcoded streams from a camera connected to Wowza Streaming Cloud over RTSP.

By default, these protocol properties are disabled and, unless otherwise noted, the default value for each setting is the Wowza Streaming Cloud system default.

Important: Edit these settings with caution. For most RTSP source connections, none of these settings needs to be enabled or changed. Edit them only if your viewers experience failed playback of streams that are produced by cameras connected to Wowza Streaming Cloud via RTSP, transcoded, and sent to Akamai for CDN delivery.
  1. Click Advanced on the menu bar, and then click Transcoders.
  2. Select an RTSP transcoder in the Transcoders panel.
  3. Click the Properties tab and then click Edit.
  4. Select Enabled for any property and then specify the value you want to use for it.
  • Set AV Sync to rtptimecode – Specifies an alternate method for synchronizing the audio and video in the RTSP/RTP source stream. Set to True to specify that Wowza Streaming Cloud should use timecodes in the RTP stream packets to synchronize the audio and video. If set to False (the default), Wowza Streaming Cloud uses Sender Report (SR) packets in the stream for synchronization information. See also RTP Timeout.
  • Advanced Logging – Logs extra debug information about the RTSP handshake between Wowza Streaming Cloud and the RTSP/RTP source stream. Set to True to create advanced logs. The default, False, generates less-detailed logs.
  •  RTP Timeout – Specifies how long, in milliseconds, Wowza Streaming Cloud will wait for Sender Report (SR) packets in the RTSP/RTP source stream to arrive. SR packets provide timing information that enables the synchronization of audio and video in the stream. If SR packets don't arrive within the specified timeout period, Wowza Streaming Cloud uses the Set AV Sync to rtptimecode setting, if enabled, to synchronize the audio and video. Valid values range from 2000 (the default) to 30000. See also Set AV Sync to rtptimecode.
  • Ignore Profile Level ID – Attempts to derive the H.264 profile level ID from the sprop parameter data sets in the stream's Session Description Protocol (SDP) message. The ID allows a decoder to recognize the requirements to decode the stream, but many RTSP sources, especially IP cameras, publish an incorrect ID in the SDP message. Set to True to tell Wowza Streaming Cloud to ignore the profile level ID in the sprop parameter data sets of the stream's SDP message when decoding the stream. The default, False, uses the ID in the decoding process.
  • Ignore SProp Parameter Sets – Attempts to derive the H.264 profile level ID from SPS/PPS NAL units in the stream, if they exist. If the stream's SDP message contains incorrect sprop parameter data sets, try setting this value to True to derive the H.264 profile level ID from the SPS/PPS NAL units in the stream, instead. The default, False, instructs Wowza Streaming Cloud to attempt to derive the H.264 profile ID from sprop parameter sets.
Note: Streams from many sources won't work when sprop parameter sets are ignored (when this setting is enabled and the value is True).
  • Transport Mode – Specifies the transport mode used to pull an RTSP/RTP stream from an IP camera. By default, Wowza Streaming Cloud uses Interleave (RTP over TCP). You can change the transport mode to another protocol supported by your camera, such as UDP (TCP over UDP).
  • Filter Unknown Tracks – If True, removes unidentifiable tracks from the RSTP/RTP source stream. The default, False, leaves unidentifiable tracks in the stream.
  • Validation Frequency – Specifies, in milliseconds, how often Wowza Streaming Cloud validates the RTSP/RTP connection. Specify 0 to turn off validation. The default is 2000.
  1. Click Save.

Copy or delete a transcoder


You can only copy or delete transcoders created through the Advanced menu, not transcoders created through the live stream workflow.

  1. Select the transcoder in the Transcoders panel of the Transcoders page.
  2. Do either of the following:
  • Click Copy in the upper-right corner of the transcoder detail page to make a new transcoder based on the current transcoder's settings.
  • Click Delete in the upper-right corner of the transcoder detail page to remove the transcoder from Wowza Streaming Cloud.
Notes:
  • You can't delete a transcoder while it's running.
  • If you delete a transcoder that has schedules associated with it, Wowza Streaming Cloud deletes the schedules, too.
  • If you delete a transcoder that has recordings associated with it, the recordings aren't deleted.

Start a transcoder


  1. Select the transcoder in the Transcoders panel of the Transcoders page.
  2. Do either of the following:
  • Click Start Transcoder at the top of the transcoder detail page.
  • Click Start your transcoder now in the Video Thumbnail on the Overview tab.

Wowza Streaming Cloud asks you to confirm that you want to start the transcoder and then starts it and connects with your source.

Important: After starting the transcoder, be sure to start your video source, too.
When you start a transcoder that was created through the live stream workflow, the live stream detail page updates to show the stream's started state.

Stop a transcoder


  1. Select the transcoder in the Transcoders panel of the Transcoders page.
  2. Click Stop Transcoder at the top of the transcoder detail page.

When you stop a transcoder that was created through the live stream workflow, the stream detail page updates to show the stream's stopped state.

Important: Remember to stop your transcoder when you're not streaming. Charges accrue for started transcoders even if they aren't streaming content. By default, Wowza Streaming Cloud stops idle pay-as-you-go transcoders after 20 minutes, but you can change the Idle Timeout value by editing the Transcoder Setup.

Start or stop a transcoder's stream targets

There may be occasions when you want to start your transcoder but you're not ready to begin your broadcast. For example, you're preparing to stream a live event and you want to test your setup, or get the transcoder up and running 15 minutes or so before the event begins. You may not want viewers to see the stream, though, until the event actually starts. In those cases, you can start (or stop) your stream targets independently of starting (or stopping) the transcoder.

  1. Select the transcoder in the Transcoders panel of the Transcoders page.
  2. Click the Output & Targets tab of the transcoder detail page.
  3. Click Enable All Targets or Disable All Targets.