Things To Consider When Choosing a Video Streaming API

Do you know what to look for when selecting an API? Read on to lead several important things to consider when choosing a video streaming API today.

When you choose a live streaming platform you do so with significant consideration for the access it provides you to the API best suited for your streaming needs. An API then gives you access to video content on and from inside your own website, but how exactly does an API work? What are some differences between the main types of APIs available today?

Your API will be integrated with your video player and therefore deeply embedded in nearly every single line of applicable code. The features and data formats comprising your API technology are what allow customization of your video player, which is ultimately what influences your successful use and enjoyment of it. Learn several important things to consider when choosing a video streaming API by reading below.

API 101 - What Is it?

An application programming interface (API) is a technology-based tool, which allows customizable interactions between two different computers, computer programs or applications (apps). Another way to look at an API is as a connection between these elements. API specifications dictate the proper way to build a connection. Any computer system in compliance with the API specifications is referred to as implementing or exposing the API. APIs function in multiple ways. Some APIs work with multiple systems simultaneously, which is a shared standard referred technically known as interoperability. Some APIs only work for the two systems to which it connects. Others serve to mask the details of system’s inner workings for ease of use and programming purposes.

Player API vs. Live Video Streaming API

When it comes down to professional broadcasting, two primary APIs are most important to understand. These two primary APIs are the player API and live streaming API and they each serve two distinctly different purposes. Knowing these differences helps you understand functionality, which helps you make better purchasing decisions for your livestreaming experience and needs.

Player API

A player API is sometimes misinterpreted as an API user, gamer, or live streamer. This is not the case, however. A player API instead allows API users to orchestrate and customize various aspects of a literal video player. Essentially, a player API creates the ability for users to alter features and appearances on their default video player, which is commonly an HTML5 player. The possibilities are deep and include the ability to command an HTML5 player to utilize an open-source or commercial third-party player as needed. Additional customizable video player features available when using a player API might include:

  • Brand and logo embedding.
  • Hiding or displaying current viewer numbers.
  • Deleting and inserting sound controls, sharing buttons and HD toggle switches.
  • Creating customizable auto-play behavior.
  • Alternating between one-player window and multiple live feeds (multiple angles).
  • Monetizing a livestream with the dynamic insertion of station breaks or advertisements.
  • Reformatting video player size and dynamics within device specifications and parameters.

Livestreaming API

A livestreaming API is utilized to program customizable video hosting experiences. This is accomplished by integrating various programs to run concurrently with your video content management system (CMS). Video content management involves the organization and management of media content, which includes your graphic images, text content and videos alike. The content is stored, or managed, with the utmost possible efficiency. A video CMS is a particular type of CMS, which is used only for hosting and streaming video files. A livestreaming API, also referred to as a video streaming API, is integral for use in professional broadcasting where advanced streaming and technological demands are made on the streaming systems. A livestreaming API helps you customize and orchestrate your streaming experience to get the best possible results.

Features and Data Formats for Livestreaming

Multiple types of data formats are used for livestreaming today. Formats exist for file containers, audio codecs and video codecs alike. Common file container formats include 3GP, advanced streaming format (ASF), audio data transport stream (ADTS), AVI, MP3, MPEG-4, Synchronized accessible media interchange (SAMI) and WAVE. Audio codec formats include u-law coding, advanced audio coding (AAC), MP3, GSM 6.10, and Windows Media Audio (WMA). Video codec formats include DV video, H.264, MJPEG, MPEG-4 Part 2, MPEG-4 v1/v2/v3 and Windows Media Viewer (WMV).

Top features of a livestreaming platform include the video embedding capability, sharable to social media platforms the ability to monetize your content. Additional features include the hosting of hybrid and virtual events, a powerful content delivery network (CDN), APIs and a white-label video player.

Key features to look for in a livestreaming API include broadcast scheduling, user-enabled cuepoint insertions, customization, master catalog feeds, break scheduling, VOD catalogs, analytics and on-demand selling (also monetization).

Programming Languages Used for API Support

The popularity of programming languages used for API support seem to change with the wind. What is atop everyone’s list today might be replaced in a month as technology continuously advances and develops. Still certain languages maintain their popularity, while others remain essential for API helper and support libraries. Some programming languages such as Objective-C, RapidQL and cURL are not as popular as they once were. The top-9 languages used for API helper libraries in 2021 are:

  • ColdFusion.
  • Python.
  • PHP.
  • Java.
  • ActionScript.
  • Ruby.
  • Node.js.
  • .NET / C#.
  • Perl.

Livestreaming APIs - Customer Support and Community Forums

Customer support is provided by each company also providing an API. Still, many general customer support and community forums are available for API users on the web today. Shopify provides an API and technology-based forum. Schneider Electric Exchange facilities a community forum for API users and developers alike. An API-specific directory and news service is also available. Additional API-related customer support and community forums include Discourse and Kaltura.

Comparing a few Live Streaming API Providers

Wurl (pricing available by quote) is a white-stream API provider with an API capable of allowing broadcasters to extract valuable metadata and broadcast their videos under their client’s brand. Wurl provides distribution and monetization monitoring, content normalization and protection, and the curation and quality control of metadata. Livestream (by Vimeo) allows the creation of your own streaming media library, mobile content capabilities and full 1080p HD content with HTML5 players. Livestream offers free demonstration trials and pricing is available by direct quote only. Additional top Livestreaming API providers include: