Microsoft Azure Media Services – Live Streaming

Just a week ago live streaming preview for Azure Media Services was released. This feature had been used before by the Olympic Winter Games 2014 and during the FIFA 2014. Now we can enjoy the preview from our homes too!. The changes on the portal are marked with the word PREVIEW:

New preview tabs AMS

Content Protection is another new feature to be discussed in another post, regarding the protection of assets. For live streaming we have a new tab called CHANNELS which will allow us to create an input and output video and audio as shown in the following image:


The common steps when working with live streaming are:

  1. Create a channel, for which we need a name, ingest protocol (RTMP o Smooth Streaming) and IPs from which we can send content to the channel. From the portal is presented as follows:
    Create a new Live Channel
    When we create a channel, we are warned that it generates an additional cost on our Microsoft Azure subscription. At the time of writing this post, The cost for using the service in preview mode was € 0.39/hour per channel (More info). In this post the protocol that we use is RTMP (Real Time Messaging Protocol). We’ll leave the checks marked for the channel starts once created and use our IP as a point of ingest for the channel. Initialization may take a few seconds to complete.
  2. Once the process, two important values are generated: The URLs for ingest and preview channel:
    Ingest and Preview URLs
    The first one will be used by the encoder to send content to the service and the second allows us see the information you are getting for the channel before publishing.
  3. Today, the service needs to be transcoded video locally before sending it to the cloud. So we need to configure an encoder that allows us to feed the channel with the appropriate format. It is very important to know that currently use the RTMP protocol only for H264 video and AAC audio are allowed. Por this demo, I’ve used Flash Media Live Encoder for Mac, which is free and supports both H264 and AAC (For Windows would need to purchase an additional plugin for AAC provided by MainConcept). To use it, simply change the file config.xml, in Applications > Adobe > Flash Media Live Encoder 3.2 > conf > config.xml, and set true for streamsynchronization For this example I have used the following values:
    FMLE Mac AMSAdvanced Encoder Settings For FMLE just click on the START button to start sending content to the channel.
  4. To verify that audio and video are coming correctly, return to the service on the Azure portal and select the action PLAY > Play URL Preview:
    Play Preview URLMedia Services Channel Preview
  5. Once we have confirmed that the preview mode receives as expected, use the button START STREAMING to go live!

Hope this helps.

Happy streaming!