Author: VaughnSoft

VaughnSoft Blog

Is your stream buffering?

Our video system has stabilized (finally) and we are making great progress on squashing various issues related to it. But there’s something else that needs to be addressed: your encoder settings. A lot of our broadcasters have gotten comfortable with encoder settings that work with the Flash player, but unfortunately those same encoder settings don’t always work correctly with our new HTML5 video player. As a result you will see a lot of buffering and choppiness. So what can you do? We’ve updated our recommended encoder settings.

Here are some suggested settings to try if your stream is buffering for you and your viewers:


  • 640×360
  • 600 CBR
  • 900 Buffer Size
  • 30fps
  • Keyframe 1
  • Profile: Main

If you still get buffering with the above settings, change your Keyframe to Auto (Keyframe 0 in OBS Studio, Default in XSplit)


If you want to try and push the limits of your internet and computer & your viewers internet and computer, then give these a try (not recommended if you have buffering issues):

  • 852×480
  • 800 CBR
  • 1300 Buffer Size
  • 30fps
  • Keyframe 2
  • Profile: Main

Against our better judgement, because some of you like to crank things up to 10 thinking it should work no matter what, here are the 720p settings. Do not use these settings if you’re having problems with your stream:

  • 1280×720
  • 2500 CBR
  • 3300 Buffer Size
  • 30fps
  • Keyframe 3
  • Profile: Main

A critical part of streaming is selecting the ingest server that is physically closest to you. You cannot select just any server and expect to stream without issue. For example, if you’re in Boston then obviously the New York ingest server would be your best choice. Or if you’re in California then Denver ingest server would be your best choice, and so on.

Selecting the wrong ingest server can cause buffering issues even with the lowest encoder settings. We cannot stress enough how important it is to use the correct ingest server when broadcasting. You can find the list of available video ingest servers under Settings -> Channel on our website: https://vaughnlive.tv/settings/channel

If you need further help, please visit Tech Corner

Video ingest servers upgrades

It has been an interesting week of video issues for us. As of late last night the datacenter has completed upgrades to our Chicago and Denver ingest servers. These servers now have double the bandwidth allowing more to broadcast without issue. Having said that we are going to be adding more video ingest servers in the coming months to accommodate current and future growth of our websites.

Also with the added protection system we have implemented across all of our video ingest servers we have seen a great increase in streaming stability across all websites. However a side effect of this will prevent you from connecting to an ingest server if it is at capacity. When this happens you can keep trying to connect or try a different ingest server. Alternatively VIP members have priority and are able to connect to any ingest server as long as it’s physically online. You can find the list of ingest servers under Settings -> Channel. Simply click your name in the top right corner, click Settings and then go to Channel.

If you need any assistance, please come to Tech Corner and one of our awesome volunteers will help you out.

 

* Video ingest server is the server a broadcaster connects to in order to broadcast on our websites.

** Video edge server is the server a viewer connects to in order to watch a broadcast on our website.

Video buffering issues

In the last 24 hours we experienced too many people trying to broadcast at once. As a result this maxed out the connections on our video ingest servers causing buffering, freezing, and a lot of dropped frames. This was primarily an issue on the Chicago and Denver ingest servers.

A few moments ago we pushed an updated to our video ingest servers to protect them from being overloaded. If you are a streamer (broadcaster) and you cannot connect to an ingest server, this is most likely because that server has reached its threshold and is denying your connection to prevent it from overloading and crashing. As a side note, we made it where VIPs can connect to any ingest server regardless of its connection utilization.

I know what you’re saying… “sure, you’re using that as an excuse to make people buy VIP”. You would be 100% wrong. Much like the video servers at capacity message that happens when our edge servers get overloaded, the ingest overload protection retains a certain amount of overhead which can be utilized. And since there are far less VIPs than free users we felt this is safe to be utilized by VIPs without sacrificing stability.

So what are we doing besides denying connections to protect the ingest servers? We’re in the process of doubling the bandwidth capacity of our Chicago ingest server as well as working on adding additional ingest servers to keep up with growth.

 

New player, old player?

Hope everyone is having a great Saturday! If you’re impatient and want to watch a channel using the new video player, go into that channel and type !new. It will give you the URL to watch that channel on the new video player! Or you can add /hls to the end of any channel URL.

And if you want to watch a channel using the old Flash player, type !old or add /old to the end of any channel URL.

Here’s how to tell what player you’re using:

Old player = volume scrubber (slider) will have a black dot

New player = volume scrubber will be solid silver/white

At the moment this only works on Vaughn Live. We will update you when our other sites have these options!

New player and video embed update

The morning before the HTML5 player rollout was supposed to happen, we tested it for an hour on Vaughn Live. And the result? Well, it was pretty bad. Our video edge servers couldn’t handle the added overhead of HLS live streaming. We’ve narrowed the issue down to our video server software vendor which we feel is far too bloated and inefficient due to the fact it runs on Java.

Bloated server software + higher overhead per connection = bad

So when does the new HTML5 player come to all channels? We’re in the middle of getting the server overhead issue sorted, which is working out better than expected. No ETA yet!

So, on to the video embeds update (our video player placed on someone else’s website.) The new HTML5 player is released on all Vaughn Live embed players. But we need to have a serious talk about video embeds. Right now embeds are a major resource drain on us, financially and server capacity. We want to give those that come to our sites the best experience possible, so we will be making changes to the video embeds in the very near future.

Here is a list of upcoming video embed changes:

  • Embeds will be disabled by default. The channel owner will need to explicitly enable them.
  • If a stream has more than 100 Live Viewers, the embed player will display a message asking the viewer to either sign in with their VIP account or go our website to watch the stream
  • Introduction of video embed guidelines. Such as no embedding on sites with malware, links to/promotion of illegal content, no placing ads/overlays on the player. This isn’t the final draft of the embed guidelines, but a good idea of what to expect.
  • Violating the embed guidelines will result in the website in question being blocked from embedding.

We hope you all had a very safe and Happy 4th of July!

Video Encoder Settings

While switching to HTML5 is going to open our live streaming platforms to more people, one issue is the different video encoder settings some of our streamers use. As of June 26, 2017 you must use the following encoder settings in order for your stream to be viewed by everyone:

Minimum recommended settings:

  • 640×360 resolution
  • 500Kbps video bitrate (VBR can be used although CBR is preferred)
  • 128Kbps audio bitrate
  • 30fps
  • Keyframe interval of 2.0 (or 250 depending on the encoder software you use)
  • H.264/x264 video codec
  • AAC or MP3 audio codec

Maximum recommended settings:

  • 1920×1080 resolution
  • 3500Kbps video bitrate CBR
  • 128Kbps audio bitrate
  • 60fps
  • Keyframe interval of 1.0 (or 60 depending on the encoder software you use)
  • H.264/x264 video codec
  • AAC audio codec

Note: The current version of MvnCaster does not meet the minimum requirements which will greatly limit your audience. MvnCaster will be removed from Breakers.TV, Vapers.tv, and Pearl TIme on June 26, 2017. It will still be available on Vaughn Live but is not recommended until the new MvnCaster has been built.

(MvnCaster is the built in broadcast tool)

Also note: To ensure the lowest latency, set your keyframe interval low. We allow keyframe intervals as low as 0.5 (30), however be mindful of playback issues of your viewers with poor internet connections.

HTML5 player testing

Pushed iOS fix for HTML5 player. Also added Loading, Buffering, Stream Error animations. At the moment only a few streams have the HTML5 player during this testing phase:

https://vaughnlive.tv/tech_corner

https://vaughnlive.tv/community

https://vaughnlive.tv/squills

https://vaughnlive.tv/infowars

The HTML5 player will be rolled out to all of the sites once testing has concluded.