In my previous post I showed how to use HolaCDN to improve the performance of a mp4 video which is already accelerated using CDN service.
This time I would like to show how to use HolaCDN MultiCDN feature to improve the performance of a multi-birate HLS video. HolaCDN MultiCDN will automatically measure performance of multiples CDNs (defined by user) and select the optimal CDN to use.
In this demo, HolaCDN will select among the customer origin, a 3rd party CDN and HolaCDN.
In the screen capture below, Chrome Developer Tools shows the HolaCDN JS client loads video chunks from serveral hosts: s3video.cheungwaikin.com (customer origin), dc7tqspqe5l18.cloudfront.net (a 3rd party CDN) and 188.8.131.52 (a HolaCDN server).
The following picture shows the result generated by the command hola_cdn.get_stats() in the Chrome Develop Tools Console: 20% of traffic is from the customer origin, 18% from the 3rd party CDN, and the remaining is from HolaCDN.
How to set up HolaCDN MultCDN feature in this demo?
Step 1: create a new Zone named “hlsmulti” by defining the Page URL as http://aws.cheungwaikin.com/video-hls-flowplayer-cloudfront-hola-origin.html.
Step 2: in the MultiCDN selection algorithm, I input the $0.5 as the cost of HolaCDN and $0.05 as the cost of “My existing CDN”. Doing so to instruct HolaCDN to use My existing CDN unless HolaCDN improve performance (better video start/seek time, less buffering, higher video quality/bitrate).
Step 3: for demo purpose, HolaCDN will take actions – collects QoE statistics and deliver video content – if the user is using Chrome browser. For every 100 pageviews from Chrome users, all will colllect QoE statistics, and HolaCDN will try to deliver video content in 90 pageviews.
Step 4: define “My existing CDN”. In this demo, the are two “CDNs” – dc7tqspqe5l18.cloudfront.net and s3video.cheungwaikin.com.
Step 5: I use Static MultiCDN switching mode. If HolaCDN finds dc7tqspqe5l18.cloudfront.net and s3video.cheungwaikin.com perform better than HolaCDN, then 50% possibility that video will be retrieved from dc7tqspqe5l18.cloudfront.net and 50% possibility that video will be loaded from s3video.cheungwaikin.com.
In other to do a control experiment, I use Firefox to browse the demo page. Based on my setup, HolaCDN will do nothing and the browser will get all HLS TS chunks from the host defined in the html source code. Here is the result from Firefox + Firebug:
Want to try it yourself? Go to apply a HolaCDN free trial account now!
Hola is a Spanish word meaning Hello.
Hola!CDN is the first CDN purpose built for video. It is developed and operated by Hola!. Hola!CDN makes Internet video delivery Faster, Cheaper and More Reliable.
It is my pleasure to share with readers that I am now working at Hola!CDN!
In my last blogpost I talked my first Israel visit. The main objective of the trip was to attend Hola!CDN training.
The unique Hola!CDN architecture makes it possible to do Five things that other CDNs cannot do:
- Significantly speeds up your video delivery (start time, buffering, seek time, bit rate, failure rate)
- Provides accurate statistics on your viewers’ quality of experience
- Enables mid stream switching of multiple CDNs (configure Hola!CDN’s dashboard to work with several CDNs, taking each video chunk from the fastest and cheapest)
- Reduces video delivery cost substantially, with same low cost from first byte, to anywhere in the world
- Keeps your existing CDN – Hola will only participate where its faster and cheaper
Detail Hola!CDN implementation guide can found at GitHub: https://github.com/hola/cdn/blob/master/install.md
In this blogpost I would like to SHOW how to implement Hola!CDN in a webpage with MP4 progressive download.
Step 1: apply a Hola!CDN account account. We offer 14-day free trial account at holacdn.com
Three steps. That’s all. No DNS change is required!
the page implemented Hola!CDN: There are 6 HTTP requests in the original page and 65 in the page implemented Hola!CDN. Why?
Let’s talk more next time.
Gong Xi Fa Cai! Wish everyone has a happy and healthy Year of Monkey.
It is the fifth day of the new Chinese New Year. It is time to write something new.
I am studying Media Source Extensions (MSE) recently. In a nutshell, MSE enables browsers to play streaming media without plugins.
What is MSE?
-Microsoft: build custom adaptive streaming solutions using MSE. Such an adaptive streaming solution would look for the optimal bit rate based on network bandwidth and CPU utilisation to provide the highest quality streaming experience. For example, if the network bandwidth drops, you can use MSE to programmatically switch the video stream to a lower bit rate. This reduces the quality of the image, but allows the video to keep playing without interruptions.
More and more video providers are moving away from browser plug-ins to MSE. Youtube and BBC are two examples.
Not all browsers are created equal. At the moment Chrome v34 (both desktop Android 4.4+ versions) and IE 11 on Windows 8 are the best browsers supporting MSE.
Safari on iOS does not support MSE.
Maybe I need an Android tablet.
PS: My CDN demo site demo.cheungwaikin.com will be under re-construction and not available between 26-Feb and 11-Mar.
Most of us are busy watching World Cup 2014 this early summer.
TVB gets the sole TV distribution in Hong Kong of this soccer event in Brazil. 22 out of the total 64 games will be available on TV for free. For the other 42 games, Hongkongers either subscribe paid service from TVB or NowTV. Subscribers can watch all the games via TV, computer, smartphone and tablet. The mobile device app myWorldCup is great and provides both live game and goals/goal attempts replay. The app is geo-restricted to be functional for Internet users in Hong Kong only.
I am one of the subscribers and I watch the games mainly on my iPad. It is HD video. I can watch it anywhere, provided my device IP address is a routable IP address in Hong Kong.
The World Cup lasts about one month and it happens that I’m not in Hong Kong sometime during the period. I need a VPN to connect my iPad/iPhone to Hong Kong!
My VPN requirements, in descending order, are:
1.with VPN servers in HK
2.good connection performance
3.with VPN servers in many Asia countries
4.multiple concurrent connections
5.easy to use software
After doing some studies, especially reviews from VPN Creative and BestVPN, I made my short list of VPN providers. I tired to try the VPN services before I purchase because good VPN performance – high speed/capacity and reliability – is not something written on websites but real experience. Finally I subscribed VyprVPN Pro service. My reasons:
-VyprVPN offers free trial and I can try before I buy
-VyprVPN is one of the VPN providers with good VPN server coverage in Hong Kong and Asia.
-VyprVPN connection performance is great. (Will talk more later.)
-VyprVPN price is reasonable. Support multiple connections. The bundled Dump Truck storage is a nice plus!
-VyprVPN interface, both web GUI and PC/mobile app, are very user friendly
-VyprVPN supports both L2TP/IPSEC and OpenVPN protocols
I prefer to use OpenVPN because the VPN connection setup is faster than L2TP/IPSEC. From my experience OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSEC connection speeds are similar. The OpenVPN app provides more information than the VyprVPN app.
Form my viewing experience on iPad and iPhone when I was not in Hong Kong and using VyprVPN, the live videos were HD, smooth, clear and very detail. Below are some screen captures of a live game on iPad:
The live games were streamed via HLS and it was likely that the maximum bitrate was market standard 2Mbps. I found VyprVPN supported more than 2Mbps connectivity between my devices and the Internet in Hong Kong. I used Speedtest with test server in Hong Kong and most of the results were more than 60% of the broadband speeds! Based on the OpenVPN app, there was about 2GB data transmitted via the VPN in two hours, so we have the HLS bitrate at 2GB/2hr = (2048*8Mb)/(2*60*60sec) = 2.28Mbps.
It is explicitly listed on the VyprVPN official website that multiple concurrent connections are supported. VPN software is available on most common platforms. The support page is written very clearly and it is very easy to follow the instructions to set up OpenVPN. All this well written information make me find that VyprVPN provides good services and customer supports.
Good companies help their customers to do businesses with them and use their products/services.
Cheers! Enjoy the World Cup!
a.OpenVPN is an SSL VPN implementation and is not compatible with IPSec, L2TP, or PPTP. See OpenVPN.net.
b.The iOS OpenVPN client uses PolarSSL and is not vulnerable to the Heartbleed OpenSSL bug.
c.VyprVPN users are safe from Heartbleed bug.
d.[update] It is a surprise to me that I received a thank you email from VyprVPN after a few hours this blogpost was published! Anyone who read this blogpost can get a 50% discount for the first month from VyprVPN by clicking the banner below! Cool!!
HTTP Live Streaming
The recent Devoncroft’s 2013 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) shows multi-platform content delivery is the most important trend considered by the broadcast industry. It is not a surprising news when we review how much time we spend viewing videos on non-TV devices.
Video streaming on iOS devices is supported by HLS (HTTP Live Streaming). HLS democratises video streaming: everyone can now easily stream adaptive bit-rate videos to iOS devices by using a low cost HTTP servers.
In comparison, it is much more challenging to stream videos to other mobile platforms. Here is a good reference article from LongTail: The Pain of Live Streaming on Android
We can easily stream videos to iOS devices. How do we measure the video performance? How do we validate HLS videos delivered from CDN are much better than those from customer origin? Which adaptive bit-rate video stream in my demo page – HLS Performance Measurement – provides better experience?
HLS Performance Measurement by PocketProbe
Rather than subjective measurement by our eyes (目測法), PocketProbe Free from Bridge Technologies provides an objective measurement of HLS video experience.
I did some PocketProbe tests around 12:30pm 20130626 HKT. Left is the test result of stream from customer origin (CO) and right is from CDN respectively.
1.CDN stream was delivered more frequently at higher speed than the CO stream.
2.CDN stream was retrieved much faster than CO stream.
3.CDN stream was delivered constantly at the highest bit-rate while CO stream switched to lower bit-rates during the delivery.
We can SEE the CDN stream picture resolution and quality are better too.
iOS a great platform for video streaming. PocketProbe is a cool app for video streaming performance measurement.
Easy. Low cost.
CDN video: Live Streaming
TVLive video streaming, I finally cracked it!
Video delivery is a big use case of CDN. Especially for live video, because for live video a huge number, abnormal from the normal level, of viewers are expected to watch it at the SAME time. It is not likely that a typical company will over-provision its own system capacity to handle this kind of abnormal and non-frequent high traffic volume, unless it is a CDN.
My partners ask me a lot of questions about EdgeCast video streaming solution for live event. I tested/demonstrated it many times, but I did not set up a demo page for it. Why? It is because I didn’t have good live video source! What I have is a MacBook Air, iPhone and iPad. Only MBA can take a video encoder role. Capturing myself by the MBA FaceTime camera and streaming “I’m typing on my notebook” in live is not something I find very interesting and attractive. It is like a still picture rather than live video!
A partner asked me again about live streaming solution last week. It is too costly to explain to each partner one-by-one and set up an ad-hoc demo on-demand every time. It is much more effective and efficient to support my partners if there is a demo page. I always think this way. And finally I make it this time.
What about the live video source?
I can send live video, via RTMP, from OS Broadcaster to EdgeCast publishing points and then EdgeCast streaming services send the video instantaneously to users all over the world. I find myself become a (potential) TV channel which can provide live videos to thousand of thousand of people! I can share, anywhere and anytime, with the audiences interesting things around me, esp. those in HK, in the most entertaining format – video!
I found yesterday another great and free software – CamTwist for Mac – which can capturing things on desktop and become a video source for Adobe Media Live Encoder. With these tools I can now live stream anything on my screen (such as youtube content, TED talks or my own videos) through EdgeCast CDN to people anywhere who have PCs via RTMP and iDevices via HLS.
How to Stream Your Mac Desktop Live is a great tutorial on youtube showing how to use CamTwist as well as other great tools!
To see is to believe.
Please try yourself: 16th demo – CDN video: Live Streaming
The Journey is the Reward.