Recap, Results, and Highlights of the SRT InterOp Plugfest 2021Mark Villamor
The SRT community just celebrated the 4th anniversary of the SRT open source protocol and the 500th member of the SRT Alliance, but the party wasn’t over yet! Fresh off the celebrations came the SRT InterOp Plugfest during the last week of June, which took place virtually on the web and was organized by Haivision, the original developer of SRT and founder of the SRT Alliance.
Dozens of engineers took part in the SRT Interop Plugfest 2021, an online event aimed at providing opportunities to test interoperability and compatibility between different technologies using the SRT protocol. A broad range of hardware and software vendors, as well as solution providers tested 60 different products against each other for interoperability with SRT. In all, 1,491 individual device-to-device tests were performed between vendors from across the globe, from East Japan all the way to the West Coast of the US. That’s twice as many as last December’s Plugfest and almost four times the amount we had in May 2020. Clearly, there is a lot of industry interest to maintain interoperability as SRT is developed further and new features continue to be integrated.
SRT infrastructure was once again provided by Haivision, including access to streams from Makito X4 video encoders and decoders. While the majority of tests were conducted over the public internet, SRT Gateways were deployed for testing in the public cloud. Cloud-to-cloud interop was tested through several services and devices including Haivision Hub, Microsoft Azure, AWS, Google Cloud and Alicloud. Yourside from the Netherlands even provided SRT streams via Starlink, a cloud of low-orbit satellites with reduced latency compared to traditional geostationary satellites.
Justus Rogmann, SRT Solutions Architect and organizer of the Plugfest, was delighted by the event:
First of all, it was a real week of joy and fun! It’s amazing to see so many engineers working hard to conduct all the tests and the vibe of the SRT community is just awesome and it almost became a race between some vendors to achieve the most test results. Net-Zeal, SIENNA, and Techex were neck and neck, and a winner could only be determined by a photo finish! In the end, the real winners are the SRT community and the streaming industry, since the Plugfest has proven once more that SRT can be trusted, even on lossy networks and streaming over very long distances across the public internet. We can also see a shift in the industry as besides classic video encoders and decoders in hardware and software, more and more cameras with integrated encoders and native SRT were seen, like from Sony, Panasonic, and JVC.
Furthermore, we see an increase in the adoption of new SRT features by more vendors, such as SRT connection bonding, which allows redundant streaming via multiple links. Net-Zeal and SIENNA even turned the Plugfest into a “Devfest” and integrated the latest SRT library into their products during Plugfest week in order to support connection bonding. However, companies that don’t support bonding didn’t necessarily have failed test results. As expected, the SRT library informed us of any reason for failed testing but we did not have a single unexpected failed test this year.
The Stream ID functionality continued to gain more attraction as well. Stream ID allows multiple incoming or outgoing streams on a single UDP port, including user authentication and stream separation, a workflow that most of us are familiar with from RTMP streaming. It’s very likely that we’ll see more and more solutions in the future that replace RTMP ingest with SRT since it offers more flexibility, lower latency, increased robustness, and freedom of codec choice.
A special thank you goes out to the following vendors, partners, solution providers, and SRT Alliance members for taking part and contributing to another successful SRT InterOp Plugfest:
Avid, Blackstar Group, Cinegy, Dazzl, Drastic, Epiphan Video, ffmpeg, Google, Haivision, LTN Global, Lucas Runge Veranstaltungstechnik, Lumens, Matrox, MediaAtmos, Microvideo, Net-Zeal, OBS, Panasonic, Pebble, Radiant, Rivet, SIENNA, Simplylive, Sony, TBS-Technology, Techex, Telestream, ToolsOnAir, VLC, StudioCoast Vmix, and Yourside.
And let’s not forget the numerous diligent developers of the SRT open source project! You rock!