HTTP Live Streaming (also known as HLS) is an HTTP-based media streaming communications protocol. It resembles MPEG-DASH in that it works by breaking the overall stream into a sequence of small HTTP-based file downloads, each download loading one short chunk of an overall potentially unbounded transport stream. As the stream is played, the client may select from a number of different alternate streams containing the same material encoded at a variety of data rates, allowing the streaming session to adapt to the available data rate. At the start of the streaming session, HLS downloads an extended M3U playlist containing the meta data for the various sub-streams which are available.
Since its requests use only standard HTTP transactions, HTTP Live Streaming can traverse any firewall or proxy server that lets through standard HTTP traffic, unlike UDP-based protocols such as RTP. This also allows content to be offered from conventional HTTP servers as origin and delivered over widely available HTTP-based content delivery networks.
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