How to set up live streaming using a native RTP encoder with SDP file

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


Tutorial Troubleshooting More resources


This tutorial shows you how to set up an application that ingests content from a live encoder that publishes a stream using the Real-time Transport Protocol (native RTP) and a Session Description Protocol (SDP) file. Wowza Streaming Engine software administrators can configure live streaming applications by using UI options in 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.
Note: Native RTP encoders deliver streams to Wowza media servers using the Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP). This protocol is used to deliver media streams to the server but doesn't have the capability to also deliver the session description information that the server requires to process the streams. This information is typically generated by the native RTP encoder and saved to a Session Description Protocol file (a file with a .sdp file name extension) that you must upload to the Wowza media server.

Wowza Streaming Engine Manager configuration

This section shows you how to set up a live streaming application in Wowza Streaming Engine Manager. Users play the live stream to view the event as it happens. The example uses an application named live, which is included in default Wowza Streaming Engine software installations. If you want to create a new live streaming application, you can use this same procedure.

You can use Streaming Engine Manager with the latest versions of most web browsers that support HTML5 and Cascading Style Sheets level 3 (CSS 3). We recommend the Google Chrome browser.
  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 Welcome page, click the Applications tab at the top of the page.
  3. Configure the live application:
    1. In the 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. On the live page, select all of the Playback Types, and then click Save.

    3. 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. On the Playback Security page, select No client restrictions, and then click Save.

  5. Restart the application.

    The application runs whenever Streaming Engine software is running.

Publishing the stream

This section provides the basic steps for publishing your live stream.
  1. Use the encoder software or interface to generate a Session Description Protocol (SDP) file that describes the stream. Name the file myStream.sdp, and then copy it to the [install-dir]/content folder on the Wowza Streaming Engine.
  2. Make sure Wowza Streaming Engine Manager is running. See How to start and stop Wowza Streaming Engine software.
  3. In the Server contents panel, click Stream Files, and then click the Connect icon for the myStream.sdp file.
    Note: You can also start the procedure to connect a .stream file in the Applications contents panel for the live application.

  4. In the Connect a Stream File dialog box, select live in Application Name and rtp in MediaCaster Type, and then click OK.

  5. The Connection successful notification is displayed.

XML configuration

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

Publishing the stream

Note: If you're using Wowza Streaming Engine, you can publish the stream using Wowza Streaming Engine Manager.
  1. Use the encoder software or interface to generate a Session Description Protocol (SDP) file that describes the stream. Name the file myStream.sdp, and then copy it to the [install-dir]/content folder on the Wowza media server.
  2. Using a text editor, edit the file [install-dir]/conf/admin.password and add a user name and password that will be used to start and stop the publishing of the stream. The following is an example of the file with user name myUser and password myPassword:
    # Admin password file (format [username][space][password])
    # username password
    myUser myPassword
  3. Start the Wowza media server.
  4. Enter the following URL in a web browser:
    URL: http://[wowza-ip-address]:8086/streammanager
  5. In the Security dialog box, enter your admin user name and password from step 2.
  6. In the Stream Manager webpage, click the [start-receiving-stream] link just below the live application folder.
  7. In the Start Receiving Stream dialog box, select the following MediaCaster Type option: rtp.
  8. In the Stream Name field, enter myStream.sdp.
  9. Click OK.


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.sdp, click the Adobe HDS tab, enter the information below, and then click Start.
  • Server: Enter [wowza-ip-address]:1935.
  • Application: Enter live.
  • Stream: Enter myStream.sdp.

The resulting URL syntax for playback on various clients is:
  • MPEG-DASH: http://[wowza-ip-address]:1935/live/myStream.sdp/manifest.mpd
  • Apple HLS: http://[wowza-ip-address]:1935/live/myStream.sdp/playlist.m3u8
  • Adobe RTMP: rtmp://[wowza-ip-address]/live/myStream.sdp
  • Adobe HDS: http://[wowza-ip-address]:1935/live/myStream.sdp/manifest.f4m
  • Microsoft Smooth Streaming: http://[wowza-ip-address]:1935/live/myStream.sdp/Manifest
  • Mobile Android: rtsp:///[wowza-ip-address]:1935/live/myStream

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 example, assume that you have three live streams encoded at different bitrates:
  • myStream_700.sdp (700kbps total bitrate)
  • myStream_350.sdp (350kbps total bitrate)
  • myStream_200.sdp (200kbps total bitrate)

Using a text editor, create a SMIL file named myStream.smil in the [install-dir]/content folder with the following content:
            <video src="myStream_700.sdp" system-bitrate="700000"/>
            <video src="myStream_350.sdp" system-bitrate="350000"/>
            <video src="myStream_200.sdp" system-bitrate="200000"/>
You can see that there's a <video> entry in the <switch> container for each stream rendition. The system-bitrate value is set to the total bitrate (in bits-per-second) for that stream.

Microsoft Smooth Streaming will only switch between the video portion of the streams. The audio track in the first stream listed in the <switch> container will be used. If you want to use a stream other than the first stream for the audio track, add an <audio> entry to the <switch> container for that item. For example:
            <video src="myStream_700.sdp" system-bitrate="700000"/>
            <video src="myStream_350.sdp" system-bitrate="350000"/>
            <video src="myStream_200.sdp" system-bitrate="200000"/>
            <audio src="myStream_200.sdp" system-bitrate="96000"/>
  • The <audio> item will be ignored when streaming using Adobe HDS (San Jose) or Apple HLS (Cupertino) streaming.
  • JW Player and Flowplayer use a client-side XML file to reference each stream rendition, not the server-side SMIL file that is shown in this tutorial. They both also use the BWCheck module.
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 the Wowza media server for RTSP/RTP streaming, 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 the name of your live application (such as 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 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 Streaming
Flowplayer Dynamic Streaming
Originally Published: 10-01-2010.
Updated: For Wowza Streaming Engine 4.2.0 on 06-16-2015.

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