Red5 – Past, Present & Future

August 19th, 2010 by Dominick Accattato

Red5 is not Infrared5. Many have confused the two or assume it is one entity. Infrared5 was started by some of the original Red5 team, and does focus many services on Red5 development. However, that is where it ends.

Red5 is an open source media server that delivers live video/audio/data to a client application. In most cases that client happens to be the Flash Player, however there isn’t anything stopping a keen developer from streaming to other endpoints, i.e. Java, Silverlight, HTML5. Since the server is licensed under the LGPL, companies have the liberty to use Red5 in proprietary products. The main restriction placed on Red5 is that any modification to the original source code must be donated back to the project. This ensures that the project continues to thrive with patches and helps us deliver a more stable product to the community.

Red5 has a rich history full of danger, hope and fulfillment. Conceived with the intention of providing a third party streaming solution that would come without all of the expensive licensing costs of other comparable servers, a few developers including John Grden, Chris Allen and Luke Hubbard got together and started a discussion on what it would take to build something that could be used by the masses. In its infancy, there were many who downplayed Red5’s legitimacy, but have since come around to recognize the servers capabilities and benefits. Today, Red5 is used by companies around the world and continues to thrive not only as a streaming server but also as a gaming and application server.

Red5 can be used for a number of different applications. From a high level, the first use of Red5 typically deals with streaming video. However, Red5 can be used for anything from an MMO gaming engine, to a full fledged application server. Its strengths lie in the core infrastructure. Built using Java and accompanying libraries like MINA‘s networking library and Spring‘s inversion of control project, Red5 is prized for its modification and extensibility. Most open source projects don’t get to see as much modification, but Red5 has seen many internal changes due to the wide array of uses that our developers have implemented over the past three years. Some main features include:

  • Streaming Audio/Video (FLV, H.264, AAC, and MP3)
  • Recording Client Streams (FLV only)
  • Shared Objects
  • Live Stream Publishing
  • Remoting (AMF)

Some of the implementations you may be familiar with include the Big Blue Button project which aims to provide a video conferencing solution. Notwithstanding, Red5 is used in a variety of social applications that range from chatroullette knock-offs, to Facebook’s message recording application. Red5 has also been used with projects involving IP Cameras, Gaming and Health Care. In addition, there are several other open source projects have spun off based on the server including Xuggle, an open source transcoding solution and Jedai a communications framework.

We at Infrared5 have been building these complex applications for years, and we are excited by the new uses of the technology that pop up everyday. In addition to all of that, we are constantly working to build more out of the box functionality for other Red5 developers. For additional details, check out Dominick’s personal blog, newviewnetworks, and youtube channel, for tutorials on getting started with Red5. Stay tuned as we continue the Red5 revolution!

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9 Responses to “Red5 – Past, Present & Future”

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