The typical HLS player will have latency of about the total duration of the playlist sliding window. Latency can be roughly determined by multiplying the segment duration by the segment count; a stream with a segment count of 5 and duration of 6 seconds will typically result in a latency of 30 seconds.

Since Red5 Pro passes through the media 'as is', the first consideration to effective streaming is to set up the publisher to output HLS-friendly media. The live HLS experience is governed by the somewhat strict timing of the players, which check the playlist at a certain interval.

The dimensions of HLS are the segment duration, and the segment count in the playlist. Players are required to poll the playlist at an interval of half the segment duration. The server is required to update the playlist with a new segment so that players do not see a static playlist over 2 iterations. Critical notes: timely video key frames to segment on; One segment is assumed to be on the wire at all times; Safari typically require 3 segments to begin playback.

All that being said, the equation is derived: latency = ( ( segment_duration ) X ( playlist_count - 1 ) ) +/- ( fraction of segment_duration ).

Some test results using the iOS SDK publisher which is capable of producing a steady key frames per 2 seconds.

  • The Red5 Pro distribution hlsconfig.xml file is set at 5 items and 6 seconds and has average latency of 18-30 seconds.
  • HLS playlist configured with playlist count of 4 items, segment duration of 4 seconds, produced latency between 10-16 seconds.
  • HLS playlist configured with playlist count of 4 items, segment duration of 2 seconds, produced latency between 6-10 seconds.

The threshold variable sets the sensitivity of segmentation. When a key video frame is encountered after the segmentduration X threshold, HLS will segment. Values closer to 1 work well with steady frame rates. Lower values closer to .5 allow segmentation at half the duration and this can help with a very non-static frame rate. If your broadcasters output key frames every 2 to 3 seconds, the lower threshold would allow HLS settings of segmentduration to work for both cases. Segment duration of 6 and a threshold at 0.6.