Livestream Health

Union defines these stats as a health stream:

  • Video Bitrate Average: 3500 - 6000 Kbps
  • Audio Bitrate Average: 80 - 95 Kbps
  • Frame Rate Average: 30 - 60 Fps

Here are some samples of the network health

A few key points to notice from these graphs that indicate this is a healthy live stream:

  • We are receiving consistent frames per second. Receiving inconsistent frames per second can introduce video stuttering and sometimes cause playback interruptions for all your viewers.
  • Consistent non-zero audio bitrate is important for uninterrupted listening. A good encoder always creates a constant non-zero bitrate even when no person is speaking, or no music is being played. A varying audio bitrate can result in a bad listening experience and sometimes a good indicator for Audio-Video sync problems.
  • Like Audio, a consistent average video bitrate is equally important for a good viewing experience. A varying video bitrate does not necessarily cause a playback problem but could result in a bad viewing experience.
    • A low variance in the video bitrate typically means optimal network bandwidth availability and encoder hardware resource utilization.
    • A high variance in the video bitrate indicates that the encoder hardware cannot keep up with the encoding load. Try reducing the video bitrate and using a constant bitrate (CBR) for a more reliable live stream input.
    • An unstable/unreliable network bandwidth availability results in transient video bitrate drops, which can cause playback interruptions.

Indicators of a concerning stream consist of the following.

  • Irregularities such as peaks, valleys
  • Complete drops in the stream

Intermittenent Losses

Union is receiving mostly constant frames per second and audio/video bitrate. This indicates that when the encoder is connected the stream is healthy. However the small spikes as well as intermittent loss in receiving the live stream, indicates transient network bandwidth availability issues.

We recommend trying switching to a more reliable network and/or stop other network bandwidth consuming services for the duration of the live stream.

Spiky Audio and Bitrate Average

If there is a high variance in receiving audio and video bitrate as you see in this example, it is likely because the connection never fully drops and the network connection is probably not the problem. More likely is that the encoder is unable to keep up at a fast enough pace to send consistent video and audio data. One cause of this is that the device running the computer might be running out of available CPU.

We recommend adjusting your encoder to use a lower video bitrate and a constant video bitrate. 

Spiky Frame Rate

This is a good example of a very unhealthy live stream. There is high variance in the video bitrate and several instances of the frame rate dipping to nearly zero. The spiky video bitrate mid-stream indicates that the encoder is optimizing the video encoding based on the feed contents. This is not ideal for live streaming.

Our suggestions is to switch to a more reliable network and/or stop other network bandwidth consuming services for the duration of the live stream. Union may suggest you to adjust the video bitrate as well.

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