DEV Community

Lane Wagner
Lane Wagner

Posted on • Originally published at on

HLS Video Streaming with Node.JS – A Tutorial

Video Streamed in Node JS

The post HLS Video Streaming with Node.JS – A Tutorial appeared first on Qvault.

The goal of this tutorial will be to build a robust video (or music) streaming API using Node JS. Don’t worry, its surprisingly easy since we will be utilizing a modern protocol, HTTP Live Streaming, or HLS.

Why use HLS for video streaming?

HLS allows us to serve large media files as many smaller files. We will use a program to convert a single .mp3 file into several text files that can be served by a typical NodeJS file server. There are a few advantages to this:

  • User’s video/song loads quickly
  • The majority of unwatched or unlistened-to portions of the song won’t be downloaded
  • We can use the familiar HTTP protocol, which means less server and client configuration

First Step – FFMPEG

FFmpeg will convert mp3 files to HLS format, which is really a bunch of files. The main HLS file is the .m3u8 file, and the URL that will be given to the streaming client will be the path to this file. This .m3u8 metadata file tells the client where to find each data (.ts) file. Data files typically contain small chunks of media data (~10 seconds) and are fetched at the client’s request as the user progresses through the song or video.

Let’s format some media.

Install FFmpeg. If you are on a Mac:

brew install ffmpeg
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Navigate to the directory of the mp4 file and run FFMPEG:

ffmpeg -i sample-mp4-file.mp4 -profile:v baseline -level 3.0 -s 640x360 -start_number 0 -hls_time 10 -hls_list_size 0 -f hls index.m3u8
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

This will create some new files in the same directory:

Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

That’s the worst part! Now we just need to setup a Node server that can serve these files over HTTP

Setting Up Node.JS

Let’s set up a project with the following folder structure:

main.js is in the root of the project along with the videos folder.

main.js should contain the following code:

var http = require('http');
var fs = require('fs');

const port = 8080

http.createServer(function (request, response) {
    console.log('request starting...');

    var filePath = '.' + request.url;

    fs.readFile(filePath, function(error, content) {
        response.writeHead(200, { 'Access-Control-Allow-Origin': '*' });
        if (error) {
            if(error.code == 'ENOENT'){
                fs.readFile('./404.html', function(error, content) {
                    response.end(content, 'utf-8');
            else {
                response.end('Sorry, check with the site admin for error: '+error.code+' ..\n');
        else {
            response.end(content, 'utf-8');

console.log(`Server running at${port}/`);

Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Run your server:

node main.js
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Then use this public tool to make stream your video to the browser.

All done! You can now stream video with Node.JS. The server we built is a very simple example, but you can serve these files in any way you want as long as its over HTTP. The thing that matters is that each path in index.m3u8 is consistent with the actual URLs of each data file.

Thanks For Reading!

Follow us on Twitter @q_vault if you have any questions or comments

Take game-like coding courses on Qvault Classroom

Subscribe to our Newsletter for more educational articles

Related Articles from Qvault

The post HLS Video Streaming with Node.JS – A Tutorial appeared first on Qvault.

Top comments (0)