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System overview

The Vindral family consists of many different standalone products and services.

Together, they form Vindral Streaming Engine, a complete system tuned for low latency at scale.

Components

Some concepts need to be clarified within the live streaming area. Here, we explain some terms and the components related to them.

Ingress

When broadcasting, the video/audio feed usually goes through a certain path from the source into the delivery network.

This process is called Ingress.

The graph above exemplifies how it may work, as different setups use different protocols.

Our ingress servers can handle different types of content over various transport protocols.

The most common ways to ingress streams are:

  • RTMP(s) - de facto standard for video ingress over the internet
  • WebRTC - easy to use and embeddable on websites
  • MPEG-TS - useful for on-prem installations
  • HD-SDI - useful for on-prem installations

Contact us for information regarding less commonly used protocols, such as SRT, UDP, and NDI.

Transcoding

Most streams sent over the internet use multiple qualities to cater to different viewer conditions. Often, a single stream is sent to our service and turned into multiple qualities, a.k.a. an ABR Ladder.

This process is called Transcoding.

Our transcoding components are built for robust 24/7 streaming and support many different codecs and settings. They are built for dense and environmentally friendly operations through hardware offloading. These are used internally within Vindral and can be used on-prem as well. Let us know if you are interested in learning more.

Egress

After the stream has reached the Vindral ingress server, it will be transcoded and transmuxed as needed. After the transcoding step, the stream will find its path to the viewers.

This process is called Egress.

The internal process of spreading data from the origin to edge servers closest to viewers is called fanout.

Our edge egress servers are highly optimized and can handle loads of viewers globally. We have tuned internal communication specifically to achieve low latency while maintaining stability.

The egress nodes have built-in support for serving live thumbnails, allowing you to create live lobbies, channel previews, monitoring boards, and more.

Last-mile

The last step, where the streams are sent from our closest edge servers to the viewers, is called last-mile.

Players and SDKs

There are plenty of ways to consume Vindral streams:

  • The Vindral Web SDK - an extensive javascript (with Typescript typings) library, which includes a ready-to-use Player GUI, standalone Google Cast Sender, standalone API client, and more
  • Google Cast receiver - one of a few live streaming services with full support for Google Cast receivers (Chromecast, Android TV). Frame-synced metadata events can be sent to companion app/website
  • CDN-hosted player - can be used standalone for fullscreen monitoring or embedded on a website using iframe
  • Native - the easiest way to consume Vindral in a native app is to wrap the CDN-hosted player within a WebView, which will get you up and running in a few lines of code
  • Live thumbnails - great for monitoring and for serving a lobby of different channels

Customer Portal

The entry point for Vindral is called Vindral Portal. Channels, channel groups, auth secrets and settings are managed from here.

API

Vindral is actively maintained, and improving our APIs is always a top priority for the team. Use the Management API for integrating Vindral into your own services.

Channel vs. Stream

The relation between a channel and a stream is not obvious. Let us use water as a reference for explaining:

A stream is any body of running water that occupies a channel.

Streams may be permanent or intermittent — occurring only part of the time.

The channel is always there even if no water runs in it.

A channel can be part of a Channel Group, a logical grouping of channels. Channel groups allow for sharing authorization across channels and enable fast channel switching between them.

Advanced on-prem Encoders and Video Compositing

For customers requiring a high-end on-prem encoder with support for real-time video compositing, camera switching, chroma key, color correction, live graphics etc, we recommend Composer. For verticals such as iGaming and other event-driven use cases, Composer is a turn-key solution that provides more features, higher density, lower complexity, and a more cost-efficient solution.

Composer is licensed separately from Vindral.

For more information, please visit vindral.com/composer and the Composer Documentation.