Questions to Ask When Choosing a Video Streaming API

Video Streaming API

You can’t find the right video streaming API if you don’t know what you want. In fact, many people in the market for a live streaming API provider don’t ask themselves this question.

They also neglect to ask the questions that set apart one live streaming API provider from another. By doing this, they end up with a service that’s incompatible with their needs and services. 

In this article, we discuss the importance of understanding the different API features and compatibility with different programming languages. We also discuss the most important questions to ask when reviewing your options for APIs. Continue reading so you can make an informed decision.

What Is Video Streaming API?

Video Streaming API (Application Programming Interface) is an interface that allows two different video streaming applications to communicate. It gives you the ability to customize your video streaming player. There are 3 main features to this service: encoding, storage, and delivery.

Encoding

This is the process of preparing the video to meet the requirements for playback. Instead of storing a video as individual images, encoding allows them to be stored as a video. This keeps video files smaller and easier to store and use. 

Storage

Another aspect of the video streaming API is storage, meaning literally where the information is kept for use. Your API provider will keep a copy of your videos so you have reliable access to them. 

Delivery

Delivery refers to what the viewer sees. Optimized delivery means that your viewers get the best streaming experience. However, the delivery options for APIs differ between providers. 

What You Need to Know When Choosing a Video Streaming API

Not all video streaming APIs are created equal, each comes with different programming languages and different API features. So, in order to choose the right one, you have to know what you want. After you decide what you want, you need to articulate that by asking the right questions. 

What are the Different API Features Offered?

To answer this question, start by asking yourself about what different API features you need. Most contain the basic features expected with live streaming technology such as VOD archiving, commenting, and encoder support. However, different APIs have small modifications to make themselves stand out. 

It’s helpful to list out the features that you think are necessary to meet your video streaming goals. Start with those that are essential and work your way down to features that are preferred, but not necessary. Finally, list out features you want to avoid. 

Which Data Formats are Used?

The most popular option for APIs is JavaScript Object Notation (JSON). Many believe it’s the best option, even over the once-popular Extensible Markup Language (XML) format. However, these aren’t the only data format options available. 

You need to know which data formats the API uses in order to confirm its compatibility with your hosting platform. Checking with your developers can help you decide. If they aren’t comfortable with the format, it could be worth looking into other options.

Are there Limits on Requests?

A high volume of service requests can overload the video API server. This results in delayed service for the user and is called Denial-of-Service (DOS). This happens because of poor coding or through a bug in the system.

APIs try to avoid this by using a system that limits the number of requests. It does this in one of two ways, either requests per API key or per IP address. While these limits can help, you want to make sure your application will fit within these limits or if the video streaming API can offer certain exceptions.

Which of the Different Programming Languages Are Supported?

Web APIs serve almost all of the different programming languages. This is because they follow HTTP protocol. However, many APIs have sample code under specific programming languages. 

You can save time and money if this sample code matches your programming language. It allows you to reuse the sample code, which accelerates development and provides a higher quality result.

What Is the Support System Like?

The kind of support offered is just as important as live streaming technology when selecting a video streaming API. These systems are complex and are prone to issues and bugs. Working with a professional and reliable API can offer quick solutions and resources for testing. 

This is especially helpful if you’re deciding between video streaming APIs with similar products. Technical support can make all the difference in your experience with video streaming. 

Does It Follow the REST Standard?

REST is an architectural style that provides rules for stateless services. It stands for representational state transfer. It’s replaced simple object access protocol (SOAP) and has become the standard across the internet, but not all APIs use it.

By sticking to this architectural style, the API is faster, simpler, and more reliable. It’s in your best interest to work with an API that follows REST standards. 

Choose the Right Video Streaming API For You

Not all video streaming APIs are created equal, some offer different API features and live stream technology. In order to choose the right video streaming API for you, you have to separate what you want and what you need from the service.

By starting with this information, you have the ability to review the different options for APIs and narrow them down to the ones that are most compatible with your services. Don’t overlook the importance of things like good tech support!