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Posted on 08/11/2022

RTSP Streaming- Using Real Time Streaming Protocol for your events in 2022

RTSP streaming – While 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. A great way to capture the attention of your viewers from the get-go is through high-quality streaming provision. It’s not enough to tell a good story; you’ll need a good transmitter to tell that story. 

In this post, we’ll go as far back as the late 90s to understand how RSTP came into existence. Then we’ll delve into its pros and cons. And finally, its significance when compared with other streaming protocols; so you’ll be in a better position to decide whether it’s a fit for 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 termed an unpopular protocol for online video streaming unlike like RTMP, which we’ll discuss further in this post. Now, 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 1998) was used for multimedia communication sessions. It was based on standards that were trending at that time, operating similarly to HTTP.

In essence, 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 a range of applications, including live presentations, web camera sites, virtual learning, and streaming radio. It was later adopted by platforms such as YouTube and Spotify, Skype, and media players WMP and VLC. 

The primary methods for streaming music and video over the internet at one time were RTMP and RTSP. However, they struggled to handle massive broadcasts since they both require dedicated server for last-mile content delivery. Over time, HTTP-based progressive download technologies and adaptive bitrate streaming solutions began to supplant the old standbys.

In 2016, RTSP version 2.0 was introduced by the original developers Anup Rao and Rob Lanphier, and others. There were improvements 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 used to encrypt content that is delivered to users via other channels. Additionally, RTSP continues to be the preferred protocol for IP cameras, and may all be utilized as a platform for live broadcasts.

How does RSTP operate for streaming?

image showing how rtsp works
Image illustrating how rtsp works

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

RTSP employs TCP and UDP, two network communication protocols, as opposed to RTMP, which solely uses TCP. UDP transmits the audio, video, and data while TCP sends and receives stream management commands. 

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

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 them having to download the full video in order to stream the content.

Disadvantages of utilizing RTSP

Incompatible with HTTP: RTSP cannot be directly streamed over HTTP, much as RTMP. As a result, there is no simple solution to broadcast RTSP in a web browser, as RTSP is meant for streaming video over private networks such as security systems within a corporation. 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.


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

Despite the fact that Adobe Flash Player was initially built to serve streaming content, Flash 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.

In terms of current use cases, RTMP is frequently used as an ingestion protocol for contemporary live-streaming platforms. This protocol is frequently converted to HLS (HTTP Live Streaming), and content is then delivered to an HTML 5 video player that is compatible with both browsers and mobile devices. The primary benefit of RTMP in the first mile is that it enables 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. The majority of 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?

Image shows the benefits of rtsp compared to other protocols

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 been able to establish the benefits of RTS which are segmented streaming and customization of streams. If these are a top priority for your streaming needs, then you should ideally consider RSTP as the best streaming option.


RTSP is great for streaming just as RTMP; you just need to be clear on your goals. The streaming protocols, RTMP and RTSP each have specific functions for streaming video content. With RTMP, viewers can easily choose the web browser or mobile device to stream your content. It is a broadly compatible, adaptable alternative.

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

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