YouTube Live Streaming Ingestion Protocol Comparison

YouTube Live Streaming supports the following ingestion protocols for third-party clients:

Ingestion Protocol Video Codecs Supported Comment
RTMP H.264 Suitable for normal, low or ultra-low latency live streaming.
HLS H.264, H.265 (HEVC) Better for 4K resolution because of HEVC support. Not suitable for ultra-low latency.
DASH H.264, VP9 Better for 4K resolution because of VP9 support. Not suitable for ultra-low latency.

The HLS and DASH ingestion protocols support codecs that RTMP does not. Next-generation video codecs such as VP9 and HEVC can offer much better compression relative to H.264, allowing users to either stream with higher quality for a given bitrate or stream with the same quality while using a lower bitrate, which could decrease buffering. This makes HLS or DASH ingestion a good choice for premium content that requires higher quality and higher resolution, albeit at a relatively higher latency. Note that HLS and DASH ingestion typically incur greater latency than RTMP because HLS and DASH are segment-based.