HLS is Popular as a Video Format because it is supported by most browsers and devices. It is supported in many HTTP media servers and standard Web servers. HLS/MPEG DASH compatible Media Servers, Media Players, Encoders, HLS and MPEG DASH Hosting, are available at a wide number of hosting companies who employ Wowza, WMSPanel, Evostream, and even Apache, as a streaming media solution.
Another reason HLS is so popular - it is not a proprietary standard, so there is no cost per stream, as was the case with Flash, in certain circumstances. In order to encourage its adoption, Apple Computer donated the technology to the public domain. Finally, the HLS format can be protected with AES-128 encryption, where every segment of the HLS stream is given a unique set of keys, preventing anybody who has access to the stream from intercepting it.
Overview of HLS
HTTP Live Streaming consists of three parts: the server component, the distribution component, and the client software.
The server component takes the input streams of media and encodes them, encapsulating them in an MP4 format, suitable for delivery, and preparing the encapsulated media for distribution.
The distribution component is located on the media server. They are responsible for accepting client requests and delivering prepared media and associated resources to the client. For large-scale distribution, edge networks or other content delivery networks can also be used.
The client software determines the appropriate media to request, downloading those resources, then reassembling them so that the media can be presented to the user in a continuous stream. Client software is typically operating on the server and rendered in the viewer's browser.
In a typical configuration, a hardware encoder takes audio-video input, encodes it as H.264 video and AAC audio, and outputs it in a MPEG-2 Transport Stream, which is then broken into a series of short media files by a software stream segmenter. These files are placed on a web server. The segmenter also creates and maintains an index file containing a list of the media files. The URL of the index file is published on the web server. Client software reads the index, then requests the listed media files in order and displays them without any pauses or gaps between segments.
These files are placed on a media server. The segmenter also creates and maintains an index file containing a list of the media files. The URL of the index file is published on the web server. Client players read the index, then requests the listed media files in order and displays them without any pauses or gaps between segments.
MediaGration's MMCart supports HLS and MPEG DASH streaming protocols and permits enabling content protection and encrypted streaming in attached media servers.