(HLS) HTTP Live Streaming is an HTTP-based video streaming protocol developed by Apple. Unlike a progressive download, an HLS stream is split into multiple file segments that a player can load as needed. This can save bandwidth in cases where a user doesn’t watch an entire video. No action is needed from Publishers to use HLS. The HLS streaming feature is enabled by default for all videos encoded after April 28th, 2016. All videos encoded before April 28th, 2016 will not use the HLS streaming feature, these videos will use progressive download. Currently, videos viewed in Firefox and iOS will also use progressive download.

How does it work ?

Traditionally, when you hit play on a video player online, the entire video file is requested and downloaded to your browser. This process is called progressive download. The downside to this method is the browser will continue downloading the entire video file, even if you don’t watch the entire video. With HLS, the video is divided into smaller segments, allowing the user to only download the segments they need. Playwire also uses (ABR) Adaptive Bitrate technology to automatically detect a user’s network connection and to serve the highest quality level video without restarting the video. For example, if a user is watching a video on a mobile device and their connection suddenly drops, the video quality will downgrade until the user’s connection improves. This provides a better user experience, as the video will not stop playing, but continue to play increasing user engagement with your video content.

HLS streaming has the following benefits:
  • Videos tend to start playing faster
  • Lower data usage for users
  • Lower bandwidth costs over time
  • Video files are harder to pirate
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