Set up an HLS stream

Stream HDR or use codecs not supported by RTMP by using HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) ingestion protocol on YouTube Live.

Before you get started

Make sure your encoder supports HLS and that you know the basics of live streaming on YouTube.

1. Check for a YouTube HLS preset

If your encoder has a preset for HLS ingestion to YouTube, select the preset. You may have to copy and paste your stream key like with RTMP streams. You’re now ready to stream.

If your encoder doesn’t have an HLS ingestion to YouTube preset, skip to step 2 “Set the ingestion URL.”

2. Set the server URL

  1. Go to YouTube’s Live Control Room and then Stream. Under “Select stream key,” click Create new stream key, and select HLS as a stream protocol.

Note: If you want to stream in HDR, you must leave “Turn on manual resolution” unchecked.

  1. The “Stream URL” for HLS ingestion will update. The URL should start with “https” instead of “rtmp”. Copy the URL to your encoder.
  2. If you need a backup ingestion, copy the “Backup server URL.” The steam key is already part of the URL, so you don’t have to copy the “Stream key” separately.

Note: The “Ultra low-latency” option is turned off when HLS is chosen. HLS has higher latency because it sends segments of video, instead of a continuous stream like RTMP.

3. Finish HLS settings

Make sure to also update these HLS settings required by YouTube Live:

  • Segment Duration: between 1-4 seconds, lower segment duration results in lower latency.
  • Segment Format: must be TS (Transport Stream).
  • Byte Range is not supported.
  • Must use a rolling playlist with no more than 5 outstanding segments.
  • Must use HTTPS POST/PUT.
  • Encryption is not supported besides using HTTPS.

Encoder settings

For encoder settings, check out our general guidelines on settings, birates, and resolutions. Additional settings for HLS that are different from RTMP include:

  • Video codec: also supports HEVC in addition to H.264
  • Audio codec: AAC, AC3 and EAC3

Recommended advanced settings

  • Audio sample rate: 44.1KHz for stereo audio, 48KHz for 5.1 surround sound
  • Audio bitrate: 128 Kbps for stereo or 384Kbps for 5.1 surround sound

Encoders that support HLS output

  • Cobalt encoders
  • Harmonic
  • Mirillis Action: If HEVC video codec is chosen, HLS ingestion is automatically used.
  • OBS
  • Telestream

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