RTSP Live Streaming- Using Real Time Streaming Protocol for your events in 2024

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Posted on August 11, 2022

RTSP live streaming – Creating engaging content is key. A piece of content is only as important as the communication channel deployed for transmission, particularly for video content delivery. In 2024, RTSP live streaming stands out as a premium choice for delivering high-quality video streams, ensuring your story gets told and captivatedly received.

In this post, we’ll go back to the late 90s to understand how RSTP (Real-Time Streaming Protocol) emerged. Then, we’ll delve into its pros and cons. Finally, it’s significant compared with other streaming protocols, so you’ll be better positioned to decide whether it fits your event strategy. 

What is RTSP?

Image portraying rtsp streaming

If you search for ‘RSTP’ on your search engine, you will find that ‘RSTP’ is an abbreviation for multiple concepts. The RSTP we’re focusing on is the short form for Real-Time Streaming Protocol.  

RSTP is an unpopular protocol for online video streaming, unlike RTMP, which we’ll discuss further in this post. RSTP was initially programmed to manage the streaming servers used in communications and entertainment systems. RTSP serves as an intermediary between the viewer and the live stream. 

Video-on-demand streams utilize RTSP because it has a strong grip on the server-to-client connection. Voice recording streams are used when RTSP controls the client-to-server connection.  If your format is Internet Protocol (IP) camera streaming, such as CCTV or IP cameras, RTSP controls the processes involved. Serverless team architectures have gained popularity in recent years due to their ability to efficiently handle video-on-demand and voice recording streams, providing a scalable and cost-effective solution for managing client-to-server and server-to-client connections in IP camera streaming scenarios like CCTV or IP cameras.

History of RTSP streaming

For quite some time, RTSP streaming has been available. In 1996-97, a collaboration between RealNetworks, Netscape, and Columbia University created and deployed the protocol. RealNetworks’ RealAudio and Netscape’s LiveMedia were used to transmit audio and video while the RTSP standard was being developed. Its major objective was to provide media streams with “VCR-like control” (only the oldies in the house will know this), which refers to the increasingly popular ability to play, stop, rewind, and manage the streaming experience in different modes.

Adoption of RTSP streaming (RFC2326)

When RTSP (RFC 2326) was adopted in 1998, users could play audio and video directly from the Internet. SDP (Session Description Protocol, defined in 1998) was used for multimedia communication sessions. It was based on trending standards then and operated similarly to HTTP.

RTSP is an application-layer protocol that connects with a media host server to issue signals. Most RTSP servers have traditionally used RTP (Real-time Transport Protocol) and RTCP (Real-time Control Protocol) to deliver their media streams.

The evolvement of RTSP streaming

RTSP was quickly used for various applications, including live presentations, web camera sites, virtual learning, and streaming radio. It was later adopted by platforms like YouTube, Spotify, Skype, and WMP and VLC media players. 

At one time, RTMP and RTSP were the primary methods for streaming music and video over the Internet. However, they struggled to handle massive broadcasts since both required dedicated servers for last-mile content delivery. Over time, HTTP-based progressive download technologies and adaptive bitrate streaming solutions began supplanting the old standbys.

RTSP’s journey has seen it adapt to various applications, from webcams to virtual learning. Despite the emergence of HTTP-based streaming, RTSP’s utility remains unparalleled, especially for RTSP live stream and RTSP video stream applications. Its resurgence is evident in deploying RTSP stream servers and RTSP streaming software, catering to specialized needs like IP camera streaming.

In 2016, the original developers, Anup Rao, Rob Lanphier, and others, introduced RTSP version 2.0. Improvements were meant to reduce full interactions with the media server and fix various network address translation (NAT) bugs. 

RTSP is now the most frequently used system for encrypting content delivered to users via other channels. Additionally, RTSP remains the preferred protocol for IP cameras, which may all be utilized as a platform for live broadcasts.

How does RSTP operate for streaming?

image showing how rtsp works

Where RTMP uses only TCP to transmit data, RTSP utilizes two network communication protocols: TCP and UDP. 

RTSP’s unique operation, leveraging both TCP and UDP, offers a versatile solution for managing live streams. This dual-protocol approach ensures efficient command transmission and media delivery, setting RTSP apart in scenarios requiring real-time interaction, such as RTSP stream online applications.

An RTSP live stream uses these two network communication protocols, enabling consumers to start watching a video while the feed is still being downloaded.

It is trickier to incorporate an RTSP broadcast on your website than an RTMP one since RTSP is not intended to stream natively in your web browser. You will need extra programs to make your stream consistent with RTSP video content.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of RTSP streaming?

when selecting an RTSP broadcast for your video stream, it’s crucial to be informed of both the pros and cons of using it:

Advantages of utilizing RTSP streaming

Easy customization of streams: You can develop your own video streaming solutions by incorporating different protocols, such as Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP).

Streaming in segments: The RTSP stream enables viewers to access your video content before the download is finished, rather than downloading the full video to stream the content.

Disadvantages of utilizing RTSP

Incompatible with HTTP: RTSP cannot be directly streamed over HTTP, much like RTMP. As a result, there is no simple solution to broadcast RTSP in a web browser. RTSP is meant for direct web streaming over private networks such as security systems within a corporation, necessitating additional tools for integrating RTSP stream online content into websites. However, you may broadcast RTSP utilizing extra software incorporated into your website.

Low demand: RTSP is significantly more unpopular than other media streaming protocols. Since RTSP streaming is not widely supported by video players and streaming services, it is more challenging to broadcast your stream in your browser. You must utilize a separate RTSP live streaming provider to broadcast an RTSP stream.


The initial purposes of developing the Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) were real-time data, audio, and video streaming. This technology works on top of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and was created by Macromedia-Adobe. RTMP’s strongest feature is the permanent TCP connection between the video player and server, which gives the viewer a steady and dependable stream.

Although Adobe Flash Player was initially built to serve streaming content, It is regretfully no longer supported as of 2021. However, unlike RTSP, the protocol is currently not as popular for delivering streams to viewers directly. When used as part of a process, RTMP’s difficulties with requiring Flash Player technology are alleviated.

While RTMP once dominated the streaming landscape, its utility has shifted towards serving as an ingest protocol for platforms converting streams to more web-friendly formats like HLS. With its direct approach to RTSP live streaming, especially for localized or IP camera feeds, RTSP presents a viable alternative for specific use cases. This protocol is frequently converted to HLS (HTTP Live Streaming), and content is then delivered to an HTML 5 video player compatible with browsers and mobile devices. The primary benefit of RTMP in the first mile is enabling users to utilize free or inexpensive encoders for live-streaming material.

RTSP is a suitable option for localized streaming and is typically included in IoT development applications for accessing video feeds. Most IP cameras also adhere to the RTSP standard, so it’s possible that some or all of the equipment you’ll be using to stream input for conferencing or monitoring systems will do the same.

Why choose RTSP streaming instead of other Streaming Protocols?

The image shows the benefits of rtsp compared to other protocols.

In 2024, choosing RTSP for your event streaming needs boils down to prioritizing real-time engagement and control over your streams. With advancements in RTSP streaming software and RTSP stream servers, leveraging RTSP can offer unparalleled customization and viewer interaction.

You’ll have to decide the best streaming protocol to use for your streams based on your business needs and the requirements of the platforms you’re using. Each protocol has advantages and disadvantages, and there is no clear-cut wrong or right decision. We’ve established the benefits of RTS, which are segmented streaming and stream customization. If these are a top priority for your streaming needs, then you should ideally consider RSTP as the best streaming option.


As we look ahead, RTSP and RTMP continue to serve distinct roles in the streaming ecosystem. RTSP’s strength lies in its suitability for specialized, real-time streaming scenarios, offering a level of interaction and control unmatched by other protocols. Deciding on RTSP should align with your strategic goals and the unique demands of your event, ensuring your content reaches your audience and resonates with them.

On the other hand, RTSP is better suited for localized feeds or if extra software is used to increase interoperability with browsers and streaming platforms. Deciding whether to opt for RTSP relies heavily on your content and event objectives.

Whether for an IP camera stream or a fully interactive live event, RTSP live streaming offers a potent mix of immediacy and flexibility. As streaming technologies evolve, understanding and leveraging protocols like RTSP will be key to delivering content that captures and holds audience attention in the competitive digital landscape 2024.

Ready to dive deeper into the future of events? Download our ebook, Event Trends 2024, to explore the cutting-edge trends that will shape the event world in the coming years. From technological advancements to innovative engagement strategies, get the insights you need to stay ahead of the curve. Equip yourself with the knowledge to make your next event successful and trendsetting.

© InEvent, Inc. 2024