HTTP Live Streaming for Apple Devices

Apple has added a new layer of encoding confusion to the market with HTTP Live Streaming for the iPhone and Quicktime. From Apple's own Developer's Center:

“HTTP Live Streaming allows you to send live or prerecorded audio and video to iPhone or other devices, such as iPod touch or desktop computers, using an ordinary Web server. Playback requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later on devices running iPhone OS; QuickTime X or later is required on the desktop…”

The files delivered consist of multiple different bit-rate .ts (transport stream) tied together with a .m3u8 index file. This file, in this sample from the Apple Developer Guide linked above, may look like this inside:

“Here is a very simple example of an .M3U8 file a segmenter might produce if the entire stream were contained in three unencrypted 10-second media files:


A picture from Jan Ozer shows this method more clearly.  

This list shows a reference to three different segments, each being a part of a whole video, just pieces used to stream the different bit-rates on the fly as the connection warrants in the system. 

To get started with's service for HTTP streaming files, select the iPhone Streaming Task/Preset.  To learn more about getting apple recommended settings for the HTTP live streaming files, please see our help article:

Once the encoding is finished, the user should be able to post those files to a http site and stream them directly to mobile devices pointed at those streams.  


Apple, on March 19th, released a technical note on the HTTP Live Streaming, linked here. This article by Apple explains, in depth and clearly, the requirements for http streaming for the iphone and ipad.


Jan Ozer, of Streaming Learning Center, has two great articles on HTTP Live Streaming which are a must read for anyone getting started in the HTTP Live Streaming delivery:

Part 1

Part 2 

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