Connect with us

Tech

A look at Twitch’s live video streaming infrastructure

Published

on

A look at Twitch’s live video streaming infrastructure

Twitch engineering created a scalable, HA streaming solution that would allow broadcasters to live stream their games with minimal latency.

The live streaming solution (developed by Twitch) is also made available as a Service to the world through AWS IVS (Interactive Video Streaming) that would enable other businesses leveraging AWS to integrate interactive streaming services with their apps or websites.

AWS IS a fully managed live streaming service that handles all aspects of live streaming, including transcoding, packaging and delivery to end viewers.

AWS IVS

Key points from the Twitch infrastructure:

They have hundreds of thousands of concurrent live broadcasters on their platform. Five quality levels are available to adjust to viewers’ network conditions.

The stream has a buffer that allows the viewer to download the video to their device in advance to ensure smooth streaming.

Over the years, Twitch has managed to reduce the streaming latency from 15 to 3 seconds. The latency drops to 1.5 seconds under the best network conditions. This is, for example, when it happens in Korea.

Why is latency important for live steams? Can the video be buffered so that it can be played as a normal video?

The shorter the time between when a streamer waves at a camera and when viewers see the wave, the better the user experience on this platform. A lower latency allows for more interaction between streamers and viewers.

When a streamer begins their stream, Twitch servers transcode their video. Transcoding is a system written in C/C++, Go and converts the stream to multiple formats that can be played on the viewer’s device under different network conditions. Transcoded formats are distributed to multiple data centers and PoPs (Point of Presence) worldwide. This ensures that viewers’ location is within easy reach.

Transcoding can be computationally costly. Twitch initially transcoded just two to three percent. They have since reduced the cost of their hardware-based transcoder, which allows them to transcode every video uploaded to their servers.

Twitch live video streaming
Img Src: Twitch engineering

Speaking of the physical infrastructure, to ensure smooth streaming, they’ve partnered up with the local ISPs and have several PoPs (Point of Presence) powered by the backbone network that connects them with the data centers.

If you wish to understand PoPs, and other cloud fundamentals in-depth, including how cloud infrastructure deploys and scales our apps globally and more, check out my platform-agnostic Cloud Computing 101 course.

Viewers around the globe can download the videos from PoPs. The intelligent network ensures that streams are replicated on Twitch in close proximity to their viewers. It would be impossible to replicate all channels on their network.

Replication of data is done based on a metric called reach, which determines the percentage of people with a certain quality of internet access and the quality of streaming they would get from the platform. Although the approach isn’t very precise, it gives Twitch a high-level overview that allows them to design their infrastructure to maximize quality and reduce deployment costs.

Live video streams are sent to the PoPs for processing and distribution throughout the Twitch network. Origin data centers handle computation-intensive processes like video transcoding. Twitch began with one origin data center that processed live streams. The PoPs ran HAProxy and routed the streams to the origin data center. The HAProxy approach presented some challenges as the platform gained popularity and increased the number of data center.

The HAProxy configuration meant that only one of the origin data center’s PoPs could receive live video streams. This resulted in inefficient use of infrastructure resources.

It got difficult to handle the unexpected traffic surge during key online events.

PoPs could not detect overloaded or defective origin data centers, and sent traffic their way instead of routing it to other data centres.

In order to deal with these challenges, they retired HAProxy and developed Intelligest–an ingest routing system to intelligently distribute live video traffic from the PoPs to the origins. The Intelligest architecture is made up of two components. There’s an Intelligest Media Proxy running in every PoP, and an Intelligest Routing Service running in AWS.

The IRS assists the media proxy in determining the correct origin data center to send traffic to. This overcomes the difficulties faced by HAProxy.

IRS has further two sub-services, the Capacitor and the Well. The Capacitor monitors compute resources in each origin data center, while the Well monitors backbone network bandwidth availability. IRS can use these to determine the infrastructure capacity in real time. Twitch has been able to achieve high availability of their infrastructure. If you found this content interesting, please consider signing up for my newsletter to receive the most recent content directly to your inbox.

Information source: Twitch engineering

Distributed Systems

For a complete list of similar articles on distributed systems and real-world architectures here you go

Handpicked Resources to Learn Software Architecture and Large Scale Distributed Systems Design

I’ve put together a list of resources (online courses + books) that I believe are super helpful in building a solid foundation in software architecture and designing large-scale distributed systems like Facebook, YouTube, Gmail, Uber, and so on. You can check it out.

Share the article on the internet if you enjoyed it. Follow scaleyourapp.com via social media (links below) to be notified when new content is published. I am Shivang, you can read about me here!

Read More

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tech

Microsoft Teams is finally fixing this ear-splitting annoyance

Published

on

By

Microsoft Teams is finally fixing this ear-splitting annoyance
Four people in a meeting room video conferencing with four remote participants.



(Image credit: Microsoft)

One of the most irritating (and slightly painful) parts of joining a Microsoft Teams call could soon be fixed by a new update.

The video conferencing service is a popular choice for many companies, meaning calls with large numbers of participants joining at the same time, and from the same location (such as a meeting room) are a common occurrence. 

However, often when multiple people join a meeting in the same room, a feedback loop is created, which causes echo, which in most cases quickly escalates to howling – with Microsoft likening the noise to when a musician holds the mic too close to a loudspeaker.

Teams’ howling

Fortunately, a new fix is coming for Microsoft Teams users. In its entry in the official Microsoft 365 roadmap (opens in new tab), the new “Ultrasound Howling Detection” describes how it aims to prevent this noise for users on Windows and Mac across the world.

Microsoft says that the update should mean if multiple users on laptops join from the same location, it will share with the user that another Teams Device is detected in their vicinity and is already joined with audio to the current meeting. 

If a user has already joined with their audio on, Microsoft Teams will automatically mute the mic and speakers of any new the person who then joins the call, hopefully putting an end to the howling and screeching feedback.

Thankfully, the update is already listed as being in development, with an expected general availability date of March 2023, so users shouldn’t have to wait too long to enjoy.

The news follows a number of recent updates largely aimed around improving the audio quality on Microsoft Teams calls using AI and machine learning.

The new updates are the result of using a machine learning model trained on 30,000 hours of speech samples, and include echo cancellation, better adjusting audio in poor acoustic environments, and allowing users to speak and hear at the same time without interruptions.

Sign up to theTechRadar Pro newsletter to get all the top news, opinion, features and guidance your business needs to succeed!

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK’s leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he’s not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.

Read More

Continue Reading

Tech

Shazam! Fury of the Gods trailer breakdown: 6 thing you might have missed

Published

on

By

Shazam! Fury of the Gods trailer breakdown: 6 thing you might have missed
Shazam points at someone off camera in Shazam! Fury of the Gods



Shazam! Fury of the Gods lands in theaters on March 17.
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The final trailer for Shazam! Fury of the Gods has debuted online – and it looks even more charming, funnier, frenetic, and darker than its predecessor.

Shazam’s sequel flick arrives in theaters worldwide on March 17, so it’s about time we were given another look at the forthcoming DC Extended Universe movie (read our DC movies in order guide to find out where it’ll fit in that timeline). Luckily, Warner Bros. has duly obliged. Check it out below:

Okay, there’s some messy CGI and a slightly corny vibe about Shazam 2. But hey, the first problem can be ironed out before the superhero film takes flight, while the latter is part of what makes this movie series spellbinding (see what we did there?).

But we digress – you’re here because you want to find out what you missed from Shazam! Fury of the Gods‘ new trailer. Below, we’ve pointed out six things you might have overlooked. So, what are you waiting for? Shout “Shazam!” and let’s dive in.

1. Who are the Daughters of Atlas?

Kalypso hands Hespera the wizard's staff in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

New movie, new villains. (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

For a film centered around Shazam, we don’t actually see the titular superhero appear in the official trailer for the first 20 seconds.

Instead, we get another glimpse at Fury of the Gods‘ villains, aka the Daughters of Atlas. The powerful trio comprises the power-hungry Hespera (Helen Millen), dragon-riding Kalypso (Lucy Liu), and Athena (Rachel Zegler), the latter of whom seems particularly torn about how the sisters are going about their business.

So, why are they gunning for Shazam and his superpowered foster siblings? Essentially, when Billy Batson was gifted his abilities by Djimon Hounsou’s wizard in the film film (available now on HBO Max), one of those powers was the Stamina of Atlas. The Daughters of Atlas aren’t too happy about their father’s ability being passed down to a child, so they want to take back what is theirs – and they’ll do it so by any means necessary.

2. Mythological monsters

A dragon prepares to breathe fire at one of Shazam's fellow heroes in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Shazam isn’t the only person taking flight in Fury of the Gods. (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Shazam’s first DCEU outing featured some horror-imbued creatures in the form of the Seven Deadly Sins. How, then, do you go about topping (or, at the very least) matching what came before? Throw in a bunch of myth-based monsters, of course.

Kalypso’s imposing dragon is the most notable inclusion. It feature prominently throughout the trailer, and we even get an amusing Game of Thrones reference from Shazam – “Hey, Khaleesi!” – in the movie. Hey, Warner Bros. loves to mention its suite of IPs in as many of its films as possible.

But Kalypso’s wyvern isn’t the only fairy-tale-based beast we see. Minotaurs, griffons, and demonic unicorns are just three of the other monsters who’ll turn up in Fury of the Gods. Basically, don’t expect this to be an easy fight for Shazam and company to save the world.

3. You can’t get the staff these days

Hespera uses the wizard's staff as Kalypso looks on in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

“So I just point it and then what?” (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Saving earth from a new titanic threat will be even harder when Shazam’s adoptive family are stripped of their powers, too. And it seems that the staff, which was wielded by Hounsou’s wizard in the first movie, is the key to giving and taking those abilities away.

In 2019’s Shazam!, the titular hero gave powers to his foster siblings to help him combat the Seven Deadly Sins and Doctor Sivana. They’ve still got those power in Fury of the Gods, too, but they won’t have them for long, based by what the trailer suggests.

The footage shows Freddy Freeman and Mary Bromfield being drained of their abilities by the Daughters of Atlas at various points. The trio are using the wizard’s staff to rob the teens of their powers, so it’s clearly of major importance to the movie’s main players. 

Later, we see Shazam wielding it – not before he asks the wizard to take his powers back, mind you, when he becomes convinced he can’t defeat the Daughters of Atlas. Anyway, Shazam’s brandishing of the staff suggests he needs it to boost his own abilities if he’s going to defeat the movie’s antagonists and give his siblings their powers back. Expect the staff to play a vital role in Fury of the Gods‘ plot, then.

4. Prison break

Djimon Hounsou's wizard blows som magic dust out of a prison window in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Time to break out, Mr. Wizard. (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

In order to get the wizard’s staff, it seems the Daughters of Atlas go after Hounsou’s magic wielder to obtain it.

We see Hounsou’s character imprisoned at various points, including a shot of Hespera chastising him for giving the power of the gods to Billy, Freddy, and company. “You ripped it from our father’s core,” she tells him, which implies Hounsou’s wizard might not be as mighty and heroic as we were led to believe.

Anyway, Hounsou’s wizard interacts with Shazam later in the trailer, so he clearly escapes captivity. Whether he does so alone, or he enlists Shazam’s help – does that magic-infused dust, which he sends through his prison cell window, have something to do with it? – is unclear. Regardless, we’ll see Hounsou’s character break out at some stage.

5. Is that you, Doctor Strange?

Shazam flies past some rotating buildings in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Where have we seen this kind of aesthetic before? (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Remember when we said Zegler’s Athena doesn’t seem as keen to destroy earth as her sisters? That’s because, at the 1: 14 mark, we see her use her powers with a uncertain look on her face. You wouldn’t look like that if you were convinced you were doing the right thing, would you? 

Based on the fact she’s pushed away by Kalypso (using the staff no less), seconds later, it seems she’ll be swapping sides at some stage.

Interestingly, it seems the wizard’s staff can do more than give or take a person’s powers away. One perceived ability certainly has an air of the Doctor Strange/Marvel-based mystic arts about them. Just look at the Escher-style nature of how the scenery bends and folds in on itself when Athena is pushed back, and when Shazam evades numerous buildings at the 1: 44 mark. We’d be very surprised if DC and Warner Bros. didn’t take a leaf out of the MCU’s book with such an aesthetic.

6. Light the way

Shazam prepares to fight Kalypso and her dragon in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

A yellow bolt out of the blue. (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Shazam and his fellow superheroes get a costume upgrade in Fury of the Gods. The group’s threads are more streamlined and less plastic-looking this time around, which is pleasing to see.

Fans had been worried, though, that these suits wouldn’t feature one of the first movie’s most underrated (if somewhat tacky) aspects: the glowing lightning bolt on Shazam’s chest. Shazam’s costume in the 2019 movie was manufactured in a way that allowed the bolt to physically light up, avoiding the problem of having to add awkward lighting effects during the post-production phase.

Thankfully, Shazam! Fury of the Gods‘ official trailer confirms that Shazam’s lightning bolt will glow. However, given the sleeker look of the costumes this time around, it appears that the illumination effect has been added in post. Regardless of how it’s been implemented, we’re just glad it’s a feature that’s been retained.

For more DCEU-based coverage, find out where we placed 2019’s Shazam! in our DC movies ranked article. Additionally, read up on the best superhero films of all-time or check out how to watch the Batman movies in order.

Sign up to get breaking news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more, plus the hottest tech deals!

As TechRadar’s entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You’ll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot (opens in new tab).

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.

Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.

Read More

Continue Reading

Tech

You can lock Chrome incognito tabs on Android now. Bring it to the PC!

Published

on

By

You can lock Chrome incognito tabs on Android now. Bring it to the PC!

Chrome logo on a phone with a lock image over it

Image: Deepanker Verma / Pexels


Author: Alaina Yee
, Senior Editor

Alaina Yee is PCWorld’s resident bargain hunter—when she’s not covering PC building, computer components, mini-PCs, and more, she’s scouring for the best tech deals. Previously her work has appeared in PC Gamer, IGN, Maximum PC, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can find her on Twitter at @morphingball.

Read More

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2022 Xanatan