HTTP LIVE STREAMING (HLS)
Futuri is the only streaming provider in the radio industry that uses HTTP live streaming (HLS), a protocol that was originally developed by Apple for streaming video. We saw its potential for streaming radio, and we adopted it. HLS helps us provide some of the most reliable streaming in the radio industry, and we believe it’s poised to become the prevailing technology for streaming radio.
What makes HLS different? It delivers audio content in segments — 5-second chunks, to be exact — instead of a continuous stream. And because of this segmented delivery, HLS has advantages the other streaming protocols don’t:
Streams through Internet disruptions as long as 15 seconds
Listeners can be without the Internet for 15 seconds and won’t experience any disruption in their stream.
Keeps listeners connected when they’re on the move
Listeners can be walking, running, biking or driving between cell towers, and their connection to the stream is far less likely to be interrupted.
Works with office firewalls
People working at offices are an important segment of online listenership, but sometimes they can’t listen because the firewalls at their offices block continuous radio streams. However, because HLS delivers content in small segments, it works just like standard HTTP traffic — no different than when your browser downloads a bunch of small images on a web page. This helps firewalls to let HLS through.
A new level of reliability because of HTTP live streaming
Traditional streaming servers like Icecast deliver audio content as a continuous stream of data. HTTP live streaming (HLS) delivers content in 5-second chunks. HLS allows our player to stream through Internet disruptions as long as 15 seconds, and it keeps our player streaming when people are listening with mobile devices and moving between cell towers.
HLS even helps our player reach office listeners better because it’s able to pass through office firewalls that block continuous streaming
StreamOn began in 2002 by creating a streaming solution that focused on achieving broadcast-level reliability, professional sound quality, and ease-of-use for all listeners in one platform. In 2016, Futuri acquired StreamOn and focused the division exclusively on building Internet tools to help stations grow audience and generate meaningful revenue through streaming.
One of our most important priorities is making sure that online listeners can tune in with just a simple click, just like radio. This sensitivity towards listener ease-of-use prompted us to implement HLS not just in Flash but also in Java and HTML5. When a listener opens a Futuri Streaming player, the player automatically detects your device capabilities and chooses the best option for playing the audio - without requiring the user to do anything other than hit play.
Traditional streaming players rely exclusively on Adobe Flash as a play-out engine. What do you do for office listeners where Flash has been disabled? What about iPhone users without Flash? Some of these people may be first-time listeners who don’t have the patience to go through the app store to download and install an app. It would be tragic to lose out on a ratings point because someone with a PPM meter couldn’t tune in for technical reasons.