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RTSP - Real-Time Streaming Protocol

Published Date: 24 November 2022

What is RTSP?

RTSP—or Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) is a time-tested video streaming standard for transmitting audio/video data across two endpoints. RTSP ensures low latency in the transportation of content across the internet.

How does RTSP work?

RTSP enables low-latency, high-performance transmission of audio and video data as an application-layer protocol that commands streaming servers with the help of Pause and Play functions. This gives broadcasters real-time control of video streams wherein they can communicate with the media server without necessarily transporting the data. Instead, the RTSP servers employ both the Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) and Real-Time Control Protocol (RTCP) to transmit the actual data.


RTMP is another standardized protocol for transporting multimedia content over the internet. They are both known for facilitating uninterrupted, low-latency video streaming.

RTSP and RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol) was once the most dominant communication protocols in the streaming landscape. Even though both protocols are almost obsolete today, RTMP is still widely popular among content broadcasters, and RTSP is best-suited for localized streaming across closed-circuit television (CCTV) and surveillance architectures. It is the best-suited protocol for IP cameras.

Advantages of RTSP

  • Streaming by segments: With RTSP, users don't necessarily have to download the entire video before watching it; they can stream content even when the download is incomplete.
  • Customization: RTSP can be used in conjunction with Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) to build a new and unique streaming application.

Disadvantages of RTSP

  • Compared to other new-age streaming protocols, RTSP enjoys less popularity. It is not supported by a host of video players and OTT services, which makes it significantly difficult to broadcast streams to the browser without using a distinct RTSP live-streaming service.
  • Similar to RTMP, RTSP is incompatible with HTTP. Since you cannot stream directly over HTTP networks, you can not stream RTSP in a browser without leveraging additional software.

Related Terms

Video Quality

In simple terms, video quality is the characteristic of a video that determines how clear, crisp, and detailed the video transmitted to the viewer is.

Video Watermark

A video watermark is a digital copyright tool used to identify the video's copyright owner or prevent illegal distribution.


1:1 is a commonly used aspect ratio in videography. It produces videos that are a perfect square; the width and height of the video image are the same.

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