Alibaba Joins SRT Alliance For Low Latency Streaming

The SRT (Secure Reliable Transport) Alliance for low latency streaming has announced a clutch of new recruits including the big name of China’s Alibaba Cloud, bringing total membership to over 300.

Other new members of the streaming standardization body are Internet Initiative Japan, Kiswe, and Red5 Pro.

The SRT protocol at the heart of this standardization effort was developed by Haivision but then made available royalty free on GitHub, designed to optimize streaming performance and quality across unpredictable networks with low latency secure streams. It claims to be the fastest growing open source video streaming movement.

“We’ve implemented SRT support at the edge of our network for broadcasters that need to bring in contribution streams in the Alibaba Cloud,” said Glyn Smith, Head of Media and Entertainment Product Solutions, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence. “By using SRT at the edge, broadcasters can reap the benefits of faster response times and minimal latency while avoiding network congestion.”

Alibaba is a Chinese e-commerce giant often likened to Amazon and Alibaba Cloud is then analogous to AWS (Amazon Web Services), which is the biggest cloud computing platform in the rest of the world. However, while AWS has struggled to make much impact in China, Alibaba has enjoyed comparably more success outside the country, with international offices in Singapore and feted as a major competitor in cloud services.

SRT is one of three leading independent contenders for low latency video streaming, the others being RIST (Reliable Internet Stream Transport) and WebRTC. Haivision itself, having developed SRT before making it open source and an evangelist for the technology, became one of the founding members of the RIST Forum earlier in 2019.

SRT currently has the greater force behind it with other members including many major industry technology players like Harmonic and Microsoft, alongside cofounders Wowza and Haivision itself. But RIST arguably now has even more momentum for smaller volume, as its supporters have been galvanized by the different development model around a common open specification. By contrast SRT, being open source, is built around a common code base originating from Haivision, which means that innovations arise from software extensions written by participants rather than clearly interoperable components adhering to a common specification.

Meanwhile WebRTC offers the lowest latency of all by cutting error correction to the bone, having evolved for interactive applications including video conferencing where even a few seconds end to end delay is unacceptable.

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