Video streaming transmits multimedia data without requiring users to download it in advance. Popular apps like YouTube and Netflix use this technology. Video streaming APIs let developers add this functionality to their apps without building the infrastructure. They take care of encoding, storage, and delivery for the end user.
What is an API?
An API is a software interface that connects different applications or programs. The interface allows the programs to communicate with each other even though they are running on different systems. The interface allows the different parts of an application to share information so that each piece can perform its task. In other words, an API acts as a bridge between two incompatible programs that don’t speak the same language. It means that an API can make it possible to integrate a video streaming platform with a website without having to change the code of the site itself. For example, a video streaming API can create a sign-up form for customers on your website that automatically makes a Google calendar event with the customer’s appointment date and time.
Various types of video streaming APIs are available on the market and differ in functionality and features. For instance, a player API offers full access to a video platform’s database and simplifies the work of developers by taking care of everything related to authentication, playback, offline caching, and more. On the other hand, a live streaming API offers real-time data on how videos are consumed (e.g., how much of a video is watched and whether it was played at 2x speed). Choosing the right video live streaming API for your business needs is important.
How to choose a video streaming API?
When choosing a video streaming API, choose one that supports your business goals. It can help you avoid overpaying for features that aren’t important to your broadcasting needs. It would help if you also looked for an API that is efficient and easy to use. It can save you time and money, especially if your organization has limited technical resources.
Many video streaming APIs provide various functionality, such as encoding, storage, and delivery. Some even offer live streaming capabilities, allowing users to watch video content online. They can also take care of the backend infrastructure so developers don’t have to build it themselves. It can help reduce costs and allow businesses to focus on their product and user experience.
Another thing to consider when choosing a video streaming API is how much customization it offers. Some APIs allow you to customize your video player and add custom images, logos, or text. Some even allow you to create multiple players that target different audiences. You should also check whether the API provides a poster function, which lets you upload an image to display before videos start playing. Finally, it would help if you looked for a video streaming API that allows you to integrate it into your existing systems. It can help you eliminate inefficiencies and reduce time spent implementing new processes. It can also reduce expenses by ensuring that legacy hardware continues to operate smoothly.
Features of a video streaming API
A video streaming API enables your mobile app to communicate with servers that host and transmit data and media files. An API makes connecting apps and servers easier, more reliable and faster. It also reduces the required code for each interaction, making it more cost-effective. A good video streaming API should provide various features to make it easy to incorporate into your app. These include a video player, a branded landing page, and a variety of analytics. Some APIs offer a range of customization options for the video player, including adding custom logos and backgrounds. Others let you insert advertisements before, during or after a video.
Another important feature is the ability to ingest videos of any format. A good video streaming API will convert raw video content into multiple configurations compatible with web browsers and mobile devices. Your films will be available to everyone, wherever they are and whatever device they use. Another crucial factor to consider is how well-documented the API is. Ideally, it should have detailed documentation that specifies how to use the API and any technical information. It will help to speed up the development process and prevent errors. A well-documented API is also more likely to be maintained which will be regularly updated and supported.
Video streaming APIs allow developers to integrate video into their apps without worrying about encoding, hosting, and delivering video files. They also provide access to the infrastructure needed to process and store video, ensuring that video is delivered to subscribers quickly and smoothly. A video streaming API will have a variety of components to handle the different aspects of processing, storing, and delivering video. For example, a video encoding service may be responsible for encoding and compressing videos to a size suitable for web delivery. A storage service will be reliable for storing the resulting video files, and a metadata service will be responsible for maintaining information about the video, such as its unique ID and the location of its file in the system.
Another component of a video streaming API is the distribution server, which will be responsible for distributing the final video files to CDN servers for delivery to subscribers. Finally, a video handling service will be responsible for responding to requests from subscribers and serving up the appropriate video files to their devices. The diagram below shows the high-level steps involved in implementing these different services. It is worth noting that, unlike REST APIs, a streaming API is stateful by nature. It is because a client will typically open a persistent connection with a streaming server to receive the pushed content.