Frequently asked questions

All about streaming media, live streaming, transmuxing, http streaming, adaptive bit rate streaming and StreamZilla

Accounts

Can you help me calculate my storage, traffic and bursting requirements?

Yes, our sales staff can help you estimate your requirements and propose a package. We can compare your project to many other projects to estimate your needs. To give you a perfect quote, please share as much details as you can: at what bit rate do you expect to encode? How many hours content do you expect to publish? How many viewers do you expect per month? How many simultaneous viewers do you expect on average and at peak?

I need more than 10TB storage / 1PB traffic / 400Gbps bursting

We can handle these volumes. Contact our sales department for a quote.

What is the difference between GigaBytes (GB) and Gigabits (Gb)?

File sizes (storage) and Traffic (distributed data) are calculated in (Giga/Tera)Bytes. Bit rates (Bandwidth) are calculated in (Kilo/Mega/Giga)bits. When encoding, you enter Kilobits or Megabits per second. For storage and traffic, we calculate per GigaByte, TeraByte or PetaByte. For bursting peaks, we calculate per Gigabit. Note we calculate per 1000bytes, not per 1024bytes.

I expect over 100.000 viewers simultaneously!

We get many similar claims, are you sure? We do not want to discourage you, but not that many projects really generate those volumes. Internet viewers tend not to watch live streams for more than 30 minutes. With VOD streams, the viewers spread over the hours so concurrency is typically low: with our entry level accounts you can already deliver hundred thousands video streams per day. Tell us your plans and our experienced staff members can help you estimate the real capacity you need: sales@streamzillacdn.com.

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Generic VDO-X Tips

What browsers are supported?

Use a modern browser: Firefox 3, Safari 3 or Internet Explorer 8.

Do I need extra software?

Install the latest Browsers, Flash, Silverlight, QuickTime, Windows Media and Java plug-ins.

What are the connection requirements?

We advise to use a fast broadband connection to upload, upstream and preview assets.

What screen resolution is recommended?

The interface is optimized for large displays: 1680×1050 is the optimal resolution to work with.

I can’t login?

Please check your username and password. In some browsers, do not use enter but click on the login button.
If your network is blocking secure websites, please change https to http. We advise to use a secure connection.

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Ordering

Why do you need to know my details for a free trial?

We do not work for individuals. Therefore we will not hand out free trial accounts when a non-business email address is used.

We want to prevent abuse of our platform. Therefore we always do a check on your website, whether you are a true potential and trusted organization.

We also sometimes get requests from potential competitors who use fake details to check our service and features. We really don’t like people who steal our unique Intellectual Property. Besides, it is illegal to use fake details, so we are very strict in this policy.

How do I order a StreamZilla CDN account?

You can configure and order your account via our online store. All online forms are secure and you do not need to enter credit card details.

What is the order process?

Fill in all required fields and submit the order in our online form. This order is binding. You will immediately receive a confirmation email. Within one business day you will receive the contract with a pro forma invoice attached. This is for the entire Webcast or Campaign account. For Pro and High Volume accounts the invoice is for the first three months and the setup costs. For OTT products, the order is not binding: we will contact you. Sign the contract page(s) and fax it back to us. Pay the pro forma invoice via bank transfer or ask us for a PayPal payment invitation. As soon as the payment is processed, we will enable the account and email you the login details. Accounts can available within one business day.

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Performance

1.) Live streaming performance tips

Nine out of ten times when customers ask for support, it is because their live stream has performance issues due to bad uplink connections.

If your source stream can’t get to our CDN in a reliable way, then the CDN cannot replicate the stream to your viewers in a reliable way.

An unreliable uplink connection can result in strange behavior in CDNs. For instance, in some cases the stream will buffer and buffer for all viewers. In other cases, some viewers may have a buffering video but viewers on relay servers get no video at all. In other cases, the stream does still work for Flash viewers, but not for iOS viewers, or vice versa. In some other cases, the live stream may start lagging while other live streams play perfect.

A reliable uplink is the most underestimated part in the entire chain, so we can’t stress the importance enough. It’s better to pay a little more for a reliable connection than to risk the performance of your entire live webcast.

StreamZilla offers an extensive high-speed network that covers the entire EU continent and globally via CDN federation. As soon as your upstream gets into our network, we can guarantee that we can distribute the stream reliably between the nodes in our CDN cloud and to your viewers.

The challenge is to get your streams in a reliable way into our network. Here are some tips to improve your live streaming performance:

Encoders
Sometimes it’s the encoder that cannot handle the load. Never use the encoder for other purposes than encoding. Use a powerful computer, make sure that the CPU load stays below 80%. Encode less simultaneous streams or encode at lower bit rates.

Make sure that your total of encoded upstream connections are at a maximum 66% of the sustained available upstream bandwidth. Remember that our CDN can pull in each stream two times for redundancy reasons! For maximum redundancy, use two encoders via two fully separate uplink connections on redundant power lines. We offer dedicated intake servers at high performance links to be able to receive your origin signal.

Also check your encoding settings. For instance for Flash streaming we strongly recommend to use H.264 and AAC encoding instead of VP6 and MP3 encoding. See our live encoding tips FAQ for more details. Note that our CDN can also pull in HTTP live streams from remote origins. If you use a server, cloud or CDN as an origin, please double check their performance.

Wireless networks
In some cases, a fixed line is hard to arrange. But please do not use wireless connections unless there is absolutely no alternative. WiFi is simply too unreliable. 4G and 3G are even worse. WiFi can be unreliable as well, especially when the local area is filled with other WiFi networks or when the WiFi network is shared with other users.

Local Network
If your encoder is connected to a local network, make sure that the local network has plenty guaranteed upstream capacity and that other services and traffic consumption does not affect your upstream in any way. Make sure that firewalls and proxy servers do not block your upstream. If we have to pull in a stream, open firewalls and use NAT.

Most LANs and internet connections are used for other purposes as well. Don’t share the link with other computers. Don’t use the same link for viewing the stream, downloading, P2P or other heavy load processes.

Internet uplink
Most internet connections are asynchronous. Check if the advertised connection capacity is actually the upsteam capacity and not the downstream capacity.

Most internet connections are heavily overbooked consumer grade instead of business grade. Use a professional, dedicated link if possible. Try multiple ISP’s and ask for professional, less overbooked lines.

Advertised capacity is not always actual capacity. Make sure that your uplink has enough actual upstream bandwidth. Test the upstream bandwidth prior to the event to be absolutely sure that you have a reliable connection with enough capacity.

StreamZilla support
Our experts are available to help you setup encoders and test connections. We offer support before your event but we can also be available during your entire event. Do not save on live event support, the risk that your stream underperforms is too high.

2.) VOD Encoding tips

Did you encode the content correctly? Do not use VBR (Variable Bit Rate) encoding. Do not try to watch HD content over a low bandwidth connection. Make sure that your internet downstream speed is higher than the encoding bit rate. Streams are realtime communication and needs permanent headroom to keep the media player buffer filled.

3.) Check your hardware

Check your playback device. Do you have the latest media playback software installed? Does the device have enough CPU and GPU power to decode and playback the content? Check another playback device if possible.

4.) Check your local network

Most performance issues occur on limited office networks. Is the network shared with other computers? Are other users filling up the network? Did you test your WiFi connection? Is someone running P2P sharing software? Is someone downloading large files? Can streams be blocked by a firewall or proxy or cache? Contact your network administrator.

5.) Check your internet link

Is this link shared with many other computers? Office, school? Are too many other users filling up the link? Does the link provide enough bandwidth for content to pass? Contact your network administrator. Check another link if possible.

We strongly advice not to broadcast and watch the stream at the same connection.

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Publishing

How do I create playlists?

You can group multiple bit rates files and our CDN automatically generates playlists (SMIL) as a logical representation. This enables us to transmux your content into http adaptive bit rate streams. You can generate and upload these SMIL files yourself as well, they are very easy XML structures. We automatically parse SMIL files so we understand which objects should be part of your logical object.

For Windows Media Streaming you can nest XSPF or ASX playlists (ASX allows 1 level nesting).

I generated a embed code / URL, but it does not work on my website?

1) Check if the Preview works in the Embed Code Generator.
2) Copy and paste the code into your webpage.
3) The embed codes require javascripts to be run from your web server. Download the JS Files archive from the Embed Code Generator, unzip the archive and install these scripts in your website root, in the /embed/ directory.
4) Copy the appropriate javascript tags in the HEAD of your web page. You can find these tags in the readme file in the JS Files archive.
5) Make sure that the paths to the scripts in the embed code and javascript tags reflect the location of your JS files.

Also make sure you haven’t locked the asset or the stream. Login to your CDN management interface and unlock the asset or live stream, or use the security token API to grant access to the content.

Can I use the players you have bundled?

Yes you can. We bundle the JW FLV Flash and JW WMV Silverlight players. These are used to show you the preview Flash and Silverlight streams.
The JW Player is the most popular Flash player on the market and offers many customization features for advertisement, playlists, skins and interaction.
Note that for commercial use you need to get a license from the author of the player(s). FlowPlayer is also a popular player.

I want to use my own Flash media player

That is supported! Our flash stream CDN URL’s are dynamically redirected by generating an XSPF or SMIL playlist. This allows us to dynamically redirect users to specific servers, for fallback and bursting.
XSPF and SMIL are simple and easy XML based playlist format that tells your client the server name and the stream name.
All you have to do is learn your player how to read the XML based SMIL or XSPF format, which is very straightforward. JW Player, the most popular Flash Media Player on the market already supports SMIL and XSPF out of the box.
If you want to use JW Player, use version 4.3.x or higher because of support for the variable ‘streamer’ in the playlist.

I want to use my own Silverlight media player

That is supported. Make sure the player can read standard Windows Media meta (ASX) files, which is the standard metafile format from Microsoft.
Any Microsoft compliant Windows Media player should support ASX out of the box and so do all Silverlight players we have seen.

For Smooth Streaming we offer an HTTP redirect service to manifest files. Any Smooth player that supports HTTP redirect is supported.
HTTP redirect is an official part of the HTTP protocol, so we assume that all HTTP clients (Smooth Streaming = HTTP) comply to the HTTP specs.

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Statistics & reports

Do I get realtime statistics per asset?

Yes, in contradiction to other CDN’s you get realtime reports for all assets and live streams.

How fast are the statistics and reports updated?

The realtime statistics are updated every few minutes. The historical reports are updated every 60, 120 or 240 minutes.

How long are the statistics saved?

The realtime statistics are available for the last 24 hours. The historical reports are saved for many years.

I see ‘no data’ in statistics?

This is expected behaviour when there is no data to report. For instance, if you have no live streams, the graphical realtime analyzer cannot produce live streaming statistics.

Can I get access to my log files?

Yes, you can contact our support department to ask access to your log files so you can post-process your data.

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Streaming

Which live encoders do the accounts support?

We support many encoders including Flash Media Encoder, Windows Media Encoder, Expression Encoder, FFmpeg, Wirecast and Icecast compliant encoders. Compliant hardware and software encoders may work as well, many customers have good experiences with Inlet, Digital Rapids and Envivio. You can also connect webcams such as AXIS (H.264 compliant) to our CDN. Wowza GoCoder is a great live encoding app for iOS devices.

Do the accounts support web delivery?

Yes, all our servers also offer support for HTTP downloadable delivery of content. You can upload any file type including web pages, images, documents, media, applications, configuration files and zip files. We do not offer PHP, ASP, database or other application support. The StreamZilla CDN is optimized for large objects delivery.

StreamZilla allows you to pre-ingest content into our CDN, and we also offer Remote Origin features so we can cache content off your origin servers, clouds and CDNs.

Do the accounts support progressive downloads?

Of course. You can progressively deliver any media file via our service. Upload the assets to the wwwroot. In addition, for FLV files we offer a advanced progressive download feature that lets the viewer skip through the video even if the video is not downloaded. Note that in general progressive download generates more traffic than with streaming delivery and that there is less QoS control and less exact reporting compared to streaming delivery. Use our true streaming service whenever you can.

Does the wwwroot support server side scripts?

The wwwroot is for static assets. You can upload any static asset type. You cannot run applications, execute PHP, ASP, CGI scripts or run databases. Please use your existing web server(s) for applications and use our CDN for web acceleration and streaming.

Which delivery protocols do the accounts support?

We offer integrated support for HTTP Adaptive bit rate streaming: Apple HTTP Live Streaming (Apple HLS), Adobe HTTP Dynamic Streaming (Adobe HDS), MPEG DASH and Microsoft Smooth Streaming.

We offer integrated support for true streaming protocols: Windows Media Streaming (MMS/RTSP) with advanced bursting, QuickTime, H.264 and 3GPP streaming (RTSP) with advanced bursting, Flash and H.264 streaming (RTMP) with advanced bursting.

We offer integrated support for advanced HTTP progressive download for MP4 files and HTTP progressive download for any file type.

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StreamZilla

Do you support IPv6?

Yes we are IPv6 enabled. Our network is IPv6 enabled. Our CDN management and media delivery servers and infrastructure support IPv6. Please note that many internet providers are not ready for IPv6 and IPv6 usage as end user and network owners still requires professional skills to make it work.

Your website is beautiful, do we pay for all this marketing?

Thank you for the compliments. We have developed the website, it’s design and information entirely in-house. We hope it reflects our passion for our jobs and the industry, and the quality level we stand for. If you read our website well, you will see that there is hardly any marketing-speak: everything is to the point and transparently explains our service. Yes it is enthusiastic. Because that is what we are. Our website is a huge resource of information. Thanks to this website we cut costs on marketing, sales and support. The website is an important part of the StreamZilla experience and actually keeps our operational costs down.

What is the difference between a video CMS and StreamZilla?

You cannot compare a Video Management System with a Video Delivery Network. A VMS is for managing and publishing content, a CDN is for hosting, intelligent delivery and reporting. A VMS runs on top of a CDN. If you want to build a video service, you need both a CMS and a CDN.

Video platforms tend to lock customers in their specific workflow. StreamZilla is a pure play video CDN that is used by many Video Platform Service Providers. By outsourcing the CDN part to StreamZilla, our partners enjoy premium features, performance and support and can 100% focus themselves on their VMS, CMS, transcoding, player, ad management and DRM services. With StreamZilla you can build a professional custom workflow with a wide range of video platform partners. Our media workflow tools are much more advanced compared to other CDNs.

StreamZilla offers professional, standards based API’s so anyone can easily integrate any professional CMS, portal, MAM and transcoding service with our CDN service.

What is the difference between a video portal and StreamZilla?

Video portals like YouTube and Vimeo are focussed on prosumer/consumer video services. They are great for sharing personal videos. But you would not want your professional content on a consumer portal. You get no performance guarantees, you cannot manage your content formats, sizes and quality. You are limited to their portal features. You are locked to their player. Your content may be associated with other content that could have a negative influence. They may add advertisement around your content which you cannot control. Video portals can be used as a traffic generator. But in reality we see that these sites actually keep the traffic to themselves, not to your own websites.

StreamZilla is for professionals. We are here for professional content publishers who want to control their own media workflow. We do not limit your video formats, sizes, bit rates. We offer professional support. We offer service levels. White labelled players. No advertisement. Professional management tools. Professional reports. Integrate dozens of other vendors and service providers via our advanced media workflow tools. You can use our service to build your own video portal, by building or using any video CMS on top of our service. Many great video portals are powered by our CDN.

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Uploading Assets

The upload boxes don’t work?

Make sure that you have the latest JAVA runtime installed. You can drag and drop assets, you can also copy an asset and right-click on a droplet to paste the asset. The droplets use FTP to upload the assets into the CDN. Make sure that your network allows the FTP file transfer protocol.

Alternatively use the WebDav or FTP / FTP TLS-SSL upload features.

I uploaded an asset to the streaming root, but it is gone?

The streaming root only accepts streaming assets such as WMV, WMA, FLV, F4V, MP4, MOV, 3GP and MP3.
Assets with other file extensions will be removed automatically. Upload those assets to the wwwroot.

I deleted an asset into VDO-X immediately after uploading

Please wait for the asset to be processed completely before removing or overwriting the asset.

I uploaded an asset into VDO-X immediately after uploading an asset with the same name

Please wait for the asset to be processed completely before removing or overwriting the asset.

I uploaded PHP, ASP or CGI assets

The delivery servers do not support server-side scripting. You can upload the assets but you cannot execute them. This is to prevent abuse, unauthorized use, overloading and security issues.
Run your scripts and applications from your webserver and offload the webserver by publishing all other content (streams, live streams, media, documents, images and static content) on our CDN.

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VDO-X

I uploaded an asset to the streaming root, but it is gone?

The streaming root only accepts streaming assets such as WMV, WMA, FLV, F4V, MP4, MOV, 3GP and MP3.
Assets with other file extensions will be removed automatically. Upload those assets to the wwwroot.

I see ‘no data’ in statistics?

This is expected behaviour when there is no data to report. For instance, if you have no live streams, the graphical realtime analyzer cannot produce live streaming statistics.

I deleted an asset into VDO-X immediately after uploading

Please wait for the asset to be processed completely before removing or overwriting the asset.

Can I get access to my log files?

Yes, you can contact our support department to ask access to your log files so you can post-process your data.

I uploaded an asset into VDO-X immediately after uploading an asset with the same name

Please wait for the asset to be processed completely before removing or overwriting the asset.

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