Real Time Streaming Protocol

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What Does Real Time Streaming Protocol Mean?

Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) is a protocol which provides framework for real time media data transfer at the application level. The protocol focuses on connecting and controlling the multi data delivery sessions on lines of time synchronization for continuous media like video and audio. In short, real time streaming protocol acts as a network remote control for real time media files and multimedia servers.


Real Time Streaming Protocol is also known as RFC 2326.

Techopedia Explains Real Time Streaming Protocol

Taking advantage of the streaming process, real time streaming protocol is based on the bandwidth available between the source and destination and breaks the large data into packet sized ones. This allows for the client software to play one packet, while decompressing the second packet and downloading the third. Users would listen / see the media files without feeling a break between the data files. Some of the features of the real time streaming protocol are similar to IPV6.

Features of the real time streaming protocol:

  1. Multi-server capability: Capbility of presenting media streams from different multi media servers

  2. Negotitation capability: Client server can find whether basic features are enabled or not

  3. HTTP friendly: It makes uses of HTTP concepts wherever possible

  4. Ease for parse: HTML or MIME parser can be made use in real time streaming protocol

  5. Possibility for extension: New parameters or methods can be easily added in the protocol

  6. Firewall friendly: Both application and transport layer firewalls can be easily handled with means of protocol

  7. Server control: There is appropriate control on the server. The server cannot stream to clients in any way such that the client cannot stop the streaming.

  8. More suitable for media applications: Frame level accuracy and usage of SMPTE timestamps for digital editing makes protocol more suitable for applications.


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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.