Reference HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) server application

StreamingServer is the application I am using as internal testbed for various media processing and encoding primitives. As an application (or service) it is capable to stream HLS assets preparing them on the fly without need to keep and host real media files. The functionality includes:

  1. Encodes and multiplexes ISO BMFF Byte Stream Format media segments with AAC audio and H.264/AVC, H.265/HEVC video, exposing them as HLS assets (see also RFC 8216 “HTTP Live Streaming”)
  2. Supports video only, audio only, video and audio assets
  3. Supports parts of ISO/IEC 23001-7 “Common encryption in ISO base media file format files” specification and implements ‘cenc’ and ‘cbcs’ encryption schemes with AES-CTR-128 and AES-CBC-128 encryption modes of operation respectively
  4. Implemetns encryption layouts as supported by Microsoft PlayReady DRM implementations, and specifically Microsoft PlayReady sample
  5. Supports live HLS assets, including live finite and live infinite assets
  6. Encoding services are provided by underlying Media Foundation encoders; due to state of Media Foundation and, specifically, awful quality of vendor specific third party vendor integrations the application (a) might have issues with specific video cards, (b) implements built-in encoding based on NVIDIA Video Codec SDK for NVIDIA GPUs, (c) offers software only mode for GPU agnostic operation

The application assumes just one client and its streaming services are, generally speaking, limited by trivial HTTP serving loop. Still multiple clients should be able to request data in parallel too.

It is possible to dump produced responses as files for retroactive review. Unless responses are written to files, they are streamed in HTTP chunked mode at lowest latency.

Quick start

Start the application with privilege elevation to enable its initialization with HTTP Server API services. Unless overridden with command line parameters, the application uses first available DXGI device for hardware assisted video encoding, and exposes its HTTP functionality via http://localhost/hls base. Open http://localhost/hls/about to get up to date syntax for command line and URI; also to check the status of the application.

Problem resolution

The application is best suited for use with NVIDIA GPUs doing hardware H.264 video encoding. In the case of video encoding issues, it makes sense to start the application with “-Software” switch to put it into software only mode: video frames will be generated by Direct2D into WIC bitmaps instead of DXGI and Direct3D 11 textures, video encoders will use system memory backed Media Foundation media buffers and samples.

Download links


  • 64-bit: StreamingServer.exe (in .ZIP archive)
  • License: This software is free to use; builds have time based expiration

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