Live Streaming CDNs: Why Are They So Crucial For Media Delivery

Posted By : Priyansha Singh | 09-May-2022


Live Streaming CDNs


It would be perhaps an understatement to say that the video streaming industry has witnessed an exponential rise in its popularity and demand over the past few years. With it, the content delivery network (CDN) is also skyrocketing at an unprecedented rate. According to research, the CDN market is estimated to reach $30 billion by the year 2025, surging with an annual compound growth rate of more than 16%.


The heightened need for delivering latency-free video quality and seamless viewing experiences to users is further driving this progressive magnification. Ultimately, it has resulted in more and more businesses opting for built-in CDN and VOD streaming services.


In this blog, we will discuss the implications of CDN, its importance in the video streaming industry, and how is it entirely changing the game of real-time video streaming.

Live video streaming CDN

CDNs: A Brief Introduction


Content Delivery Network or CDN is a platform of servers that are distributed over a myriad of geographical locations facilitating the minimization of delays in loading the web page. Virtually, CDN shrinks the physical distance between the server and the user, which removes latency and enabled faster access to content.


Functionally, CDN works by seamlessly distributing the content over a plethora of servers across the globe. So, whenever a user requests the content, a nearby server instantly responds to the request rather than the origin server. This ultimately reduces the subsequent load and traffic on the origin server, thereby, mitigating any chances of failure in situations where there is exceedingly high traffic.


Moreover, the CDN platform facilitates the delivery of latency-free and high-quality video content on the user’s end in the least possible time, enhancing the overall viewing experience. Therefore, it is considered to be a win-win solution for both content providers as well as users.


There are multiple types of CDNs, the general variations are listed as follows:


  • P2P or peer-to-peer network CDNs
  • Private or peering model CDNs
  • Push CDNs
  • Original Pull CDNs


The Need for CDN in Live Video Streaming


High-quality live video streaming and on-demand video streaming have made a concrete presence in our various day-to-day activities such as:


  • Applications that offer live online video chats
  • Games with live streaming video content for concurrent participants and players
  • Media & entertainment platforms that stream high-quality on-demand video content
  • Sports, news agencies, and live event broadcasters presenting live video shows
  • Real-time Q&As like those on YouTube backed by HTTP Live Streaming (HLS)


The ever-increasing demand for real-time streaming and latency-free streaming has birthed the need of leveraging CDN platforms to offer performance, reliability, security, scalability, and speed to the entire video streaming ecosystem.


Here is the process of how live streaming CDNs work:


  1. First, the content creator captures video or raw data with their cameras. The data is represented in binary, i.e a series of 0s and 1s in the device.
  2. Next is the segmentation process where the video file is broken down into smaller parts that are only a few seconds long. Breaking down larger files into smaller segments helps in streaming the entire video content bit by bit.
  3. After segmentation, the next process is to compress and encode each segment of the video. Some of the most popular formats of video encoding are AV1, HEVC, H.264, and VP9.
  4. It is then followed by the CDN distribution and caching process where the segmented, compressed and encoded video is distributed to the users. By caching the content, the CDN server that is in proximity to the end-user will be responsible for delivering the content to that user.
  5. Finally, when the data reaches the users, their playback devices will then decode as well as decompress the video content segment by segment into binary raw data, and through video players, users can access and play the video content.


Also Read: A Guide To Creating a Video Training Platform in 2022


Why CDNs are Linchpins For Live Video Streaming?


As live streaming video content becomes more and more popular, the challenges of delivering it to a wider audience also increase. When only a few hundred people are watching or streaming, real-time video delivery can be relatively easy, however, when over a million viewers are streaming, it becomes much more tedious and difficult to manage. Here, we have enlisted some of the crucial benefits of live streaming video content through a CDN.


  • Bringing live-streamed content closer to users


A live streaming CDN aids in bringing the content as close as possible to global audiences whilst also lowering the overall latency to a significant level. With it, users can get to stream high-definition videos with minimal lag time.


  • Lowering the load on origin servers


Instead of all visitors and viewers being routed to one or a small number of servers, CDNs help in adjusting and spreading the load across various servers which don’t require single-point management. That is, broadcasters do not have to worry about managing it all by themselves.


  • Optimizing the cost of data transfer to the public internet


Typically, every video streaming service has a cost associated with data transfers. If the right solution is used with the right CDN service, the overall expense of multiple data transfers to users can be lowered.


  • Adding an extra layer of security


CDN is considered to be a ‘front door’ for the IT infrastructure and it is extremely useful for preventing security attacks that might occur when the resources are flooded with attempts to hack or breach it.


  • Reduce the need for overhead and management


The most vital aspect is that public live streaming with CDN technical overhead is preeminently lower as compared to managing all your infrastructure all by yourself.


Summing Up


CDNs are pivotal for a seamless and reliable viewing experience with faster, robust, and secure video content transmission. It assures that users do not experience buffering delays or any possible downtime.


Furthermore, businesses that rely on delivering high-quality and latency-free video streaming solutions to a worldwide distributed user base benefit excessively from live streaming CDNs. We recommend looking for partnering with CDN providers that offer end-to-end video streaming functionalities, both on-demand and live with advanced transcoding processes in order to enable adaptive bitrates. Perhaps indirectly, CDNs ultimately contribute to a better viewing experience and help in significantly reducing subscriber churns. 


If you are looking for custom video delivery solutions or real-time video streaming app development services, feel free to drop us a line. Our team will get back to you within 24 hours.


About Author

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Priyansha Singh

Her expertise lies in creating insightful and engaging content for the readers and has worked on multiple projects such as Blockchain, IT, Marketing, Home Decor, AI, and many more. She is a trained pianist, painter, and an avid reader.

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