Bridging Real-Time Streaming: Unveiling the synergy between RTMP and HTML5 video players

7 min read
October 11, 2023

When it comes to online video streaming, video elements such as playback, compatibility, speed, audio quality and security are very important. Software such as Flash player has been taken over completely by other technologies such as HTML5 due to their inability to meet all these elements. While Flash is still relevant and HTML5 is the best option today, online video streaming technology is still evolving.

To stream online effectively, it’s important to have an understanding of how RTMP and HTML5 are used together to replace Flash. This article will explore the benefits of using HTML5 video players with RTMP support and how Digital Samba leverages this technology in its online video streaming platform.

Table of Contents

  1. The transition to HTML5 for online video
  2. Initial issues with HTML5 player compatibility
  3. How does RTMP work with an HTML5 video player?
  4. RTMP or HLS? Which one to use?
  5. Benefits of using an HTML5 video player
  6. What do you need to know about Digital Samba’s HTML5 video player?
  7. Streamline your streaming experience with the right technologies

The transition to HTML5 for online video

The shift from Flash to HTML5 in the realm of online video streaming marked a pivotal moment in the digital landscape. The journey began when Apple launched its first-generation iPhone back in 2007, conspicuously lacking Flash support. This move was more than just a technological decision; it set a precedent in the industry. Fast forward to 2012, Android too, distanced itself from Flash, rendering it essentially obsolete on the rapidly popularising mobile platform.

The real nail in the coffin for Flash came as major browsers like Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Apple’s Safari, and Google Chrome began dwindling their support for it, progressively embracing HTML5. The year 2017 saw many content delivery networks also parting ways with Flash. The dwindling support for Flash was not arbitrary; it was plagued with compatibility issues, and its support was on a decline.

The tipping point arrived in December 2020, when Chrome bid farewell to the Flash Media Player, with other significant browsers following suit. The vacancy left by Flash was promptly filled by HTML5, which by April 2023, has become the cornerstone of online streaming technology. Now, the HTML5 online video player is not just a staple in almost every laptop, computer, smartphone, or smart TV, but a standard bearer in the industry.

Initial issues with HTML5 player compatibility

During the early stages of HTML5 adoption, there were some compatibility issues with video players. 

How does RTMP work with an HTML5 video player?

Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) is a communication protocol designed for streaming audio, video, and data over the internet. Initially developed by Macromedia for streaming with Adobe Flash Player, RTMP has become a popular choice for delivering encoded content to social media platforms, streaming platforms, and media servers. 

RTMP is a TCP-based protocol that maintains persistent, low-latency connections, ensuring smooth streaming experiences.

RTMP and HTML5 Video Players

HTML5 video players, on the other hand, have gained popularity due to their compatibility with various devices and operating systems, as well as their support for modern web standards. 

To address the need for RTMP support in HTML5 video players, developers have created solutions that allow seamless integration between the two technologies. RTMP still plays an active role with HTML5 video players in the following ways:

RTMP or HLS? Which one to use?

When it comes to streaming media content, two well-known protocols are often discussed: RTMP (Real-Time Media Protocol) and HLS (HTTP Live Streaming). While RTMP was once the standard for live video streaming, the rise of HLS and the broad use of HTML5 video players have made it the preferred choice for many businesses and service providers.







Protocol Type

Legacy protocol designed for real-time streaming

The modern standard for video content delivery


Low-latency streams ideal for real-time interactions

Higher latency which might not be suitable for real-time interactions, but acceptable for many streaming scenarios


Not natively compatible with HTML5 video players

Highly compatible with HTML5 video players

Video Formats

Flexibility in integrating various video formats

Supports adaptive bitrate streaming for high-quality video


Less secure compared to HLS

Known for secure streaming with built-in encryption for content protection

Use in HTML5 Players

Through media servers or JavaScript libraries, RTMP streams can be transmuted into HTML5-compatible formats like HLS or DASH for playback in HTML5 video players

Directly compatible with HTML5 video players; no need for additional conversion or translation

Adaptation and Use

HTML5 RTMP Players: Businesses and service providers have adapted to using HTML5 RTMP video players almost exclusively when combined with HLS for broader content delivery

RTMP for Ingestion, HLS for Playback: RTMP is often used for video ingestion due to its low latency, while HLS, with its segmented delivery and adaptive bitrate streaming, is preferred for video playback, catering to various device capabilities and network conditions

Choosing the Right Protocol

Although HLS can also be used for ingestion, HTML5 RTMP still remains the most compatible option among the readily available live stream encoders. Additionally, RTMP ingest allows you to stream with much lower latency as opposed to HLS.

As seen with Flash, video streaming technology constantly evolves, and at the moment it’s difficult to determine how long it will take until the shortcoming of both streaming protocols are resolved. But, for now, using a combination of HLS for delivery and RTMP for ingest works efficiently with HMTL5 video players.

Benefits of using an HTML5 video player

HTML5 video players offer several advantages over their Flash counterparts, making them a popular choice for content creators and viewers alike. Some of the key benefits of using an HTML5 video player include:

What do you need to know about Digital Samba’s HTML5 video player?

Digital Samba's HTML5 Video Player is built using WebRTC and HTML5 technology, which facilitates a purely browser-based video conferencing experience without the necessity for downloads, eliminating outdated and cumbersome Flash-based video conferencing solutions.

Streamline your streaming experience with the right technologies

As we navigate through online video streaming, it's clear that the landscape is constantly evolving. The gradual transition from Flash to HTML5, plus the supportive role of RTMP, especially in the case of HTML5 RTMP players, shows a progressive path towards better, more efficient streaming solutions. 

Digital Samba's HTML5 video player is a great example of modern streaming solutions, leveraging the combination of WebRTC and HTML5 technologies. It not only caters to the growing demands for secure, high-quality, and real-time streaming but also provides an easy, cost-effective route to monetise your video content. 

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