There are many technologies used to transmit video over the internet. Protocols for video streaming are one of the fundamental technologies required to achieve this. The industry offers a wide variety of video streaming protocols. Two of the most widely utilized protocols today are HLS and RTMP. There are benefits and drawbacks to each of them. Which one you ought to use, then? We must first comprehend these protocols, their components, and how they operate to address this question.


Macromedia created the Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP), a TCP-based streaming protocol that Adobe later purchased. It is popular because it provides live video streaming with low latency and durable connectivity. HLS, however, stands for HTTP Live Streaming. It is a protocol built on HTTP that Apple created. Most devices and browsers support HLS, making it one of the most widely used streaming protocols.

We will contrast the RTMP and HLS protocols regarding their attributes, benefits, and drawbacks. You can then determine which protocol best meets your streaming requirements.

What is RTMP?

Real-Time Messaging Protocol, or RTMP, is a TCP-based protocol. The live video streaming system streams videos from sources to servers using RTMP to distribute them further. The RTMP protocol encodes the live videos before sending them to RTMP servers. Before transmitting streams to servers, this protocol divides them into pieces.

The RTMP stream fragments are sent to particular software clients or media players by RTMP servers. The RTMP protocol is subsequently decoded by software clients or media players, who then show viewers the video. One of the most often used protocols for broadcasting live videos is RTMP. It has several advantages, such as persistent connections and minimal latency.

Advantages of RTMP:

  • Supported AAC, AAC-LC, HE-AAC+, v1, v2, MP3 audio codecs

  • Supported H.264, VP6, VP8, Screen Video v1 & v2 video codecs

  • A Minimum of Buffering

  • Reduced latency (5 seconds)

  • A variety of formats, including RTMPS, RTMPE, RTMPT, and RTMFP

RTMP has the following drawbacks:

  • Not extensively supported

  • No longer being maintained

What is HLS?

HLS, or HTTP Live Streaming, is another well-liked streaming protocol. It is a media streaming communications protocol built on HTTP that Apple Inc created. Live and on-demand content are streamed at variable bitrates using the HLS protocol. This indicates that the video quality automatically changes based on the viewer’s internet connection.

The HLS protocol has the following benefits:

  • It allows adjustable bitrate streaming.

  • Quick and simple to set up

  • No need for additional plugins or software

  • Improved live streaming support with decreased latency

  • Protection of Content

  • Trustworthy

  • High scalability and low latency

HLS’s drawbacks include the following:

  • It often requires transmuting

  • Not generally supported because it is an Apple proprietary technology

RTMP and HLS are two of the most widely utilized protocols today. There are benefits and drawbacks to each of them. Because it allows for permanent connections and low-latency streaming, RTMP, a TCP-based protocol, is quite popular. HLS, on the other hand, uses an HTTP-based protocol to stream live and on-demand material at adjustable bitrates. Because it has a lower latency than RTMP, it frequently performs better.

Which one ought you use, then? Everything hinges on your needs. RTMP is a better choice if you require low latency. Nonetheless, HLS is a superior choice if you require adjustable bitrate streaming.