What is .m3u8?
If you are looking for what the file format .m3u8 you are probably dealing with livestreaming in some way.
m3u8 is a file format which contains a multimedia playlist. This playlist generally points to a stream on the Internet. A video player that supports the .m3u8 format can then download the video specified in the m3u8 file - and start playing it.
The Univid video tester provides you with such a compatible player. Thus, you can use it to test out your livestream in a m3u8 format and preview the video content in real time when you start streaming. You can then make sure that you are streaming to the right output, tuning the bitrate nicely according to your connection, etc.
What is HLS?
HLS is an abbreviation for HTTP Live Streaming. HLS is a HTTP-based media streaming protocol, developed by Apple.
HLS is somewhat of a standard when it comes to live streaming in your browser over the Internet, and these HLS streams are normally described using a m3u8 playlist. HLS is the most widely used used protocol for playback, and is a widely supported format amongst players in the web browser.
HLS works by breaking down the overall stream into small sequences or chunks that can be downloaded easily. Each download loads one short chunk of what could be a infite stream of bytes, i.e. a very long live stream.
What is RTMP?
RTMP is short for real-time media protocol.
While HLS is the most widely used protocol for playback of live video streaming, RTMP is the most commonly used protocol for video ingesting i.e. delivering content from an encoder to an online video host. Instead of streaming media over the HTTP protocol, like HLS, RTMP streams content via TCP or UDP protocols.
RTMP - Stream key and server
When streaming with RTMP, let's say from a software or external encoder like OBS or Vmix, you need to define two things - a 1) RTMP url - the server where you are streaming to, and 2) RTMP-key - a unique (or secret) Stream key that helps the server identify your live stream.
RTMP and HLS - often times combined in a live video workflow
Usually live video streaming workflows use an RTMP encoder to compress the live stream, and then converts the RTMP stream to HLS once it reaches the media server. Using HLS for the last-mile delivery of the video, means you get a widely supported and compatible playback, that also scales to audiences of any size in high quality.
Test a HLS or m3u8 live stream
Try our video tester above to easily and quickly test your live stream. Get a preview of your video, once you have started streaming, and an automatic indication on if it will work or not.