May 24, 2022 (almost 2 years ago)

Introducing Real-Time Video

Phil Cluff
By Phil Cluff6 min readProduct

In the beginning, there was on-demand video. Then came live streaming. Now, Mux presents real-time video! The online video trifecta is complete, and it is good.

We’re excited to announce the public beta of Mux Real-Time Video: The most developer-friendly way to build real-time communication into your application, no matter what you're building or how you're building it. This is WebRTC, done the Mux way — and being part of the Mux platform means Real-Time Video is highly integrated with the rest of the Mux Video API. In other words, it’ll be easier than ever to build real-time experiences into any app, live stream those experiences to millions, and immediately store the assets as on-demand video for future viewing.

If you thought building streaming video was hard, real-time video is another beast altogether — it enables participants to interact in, well, real time. More precisely, with a latency of less than 150 ms. Comparatively, a live stream has an average latency of at least several seconds. Sure, there are other "WebRTC as a service" APIs out there, but their lack of focus on the developer experience means they can still be a struggle to use and can be uncooperative or unreliable when integrated with a third-party live-streaming service like Mux Video. Realizing this challenge, we saw a unique opportunity to build a thoughtfully crafted real-time video product, while remaining opinionated about the abstraction and SDK design, and enabling seamless integration of all three types of video experiences.

Still not brimming with excitement? Well, let me convince you in retro video form.

LinkHow Mux’s Real-Time Video is different

Mux Real-Time Video gives you SDKs and APIs that balance simplicity and control. We prioritized giving you the flexibility to build a unique experience that’s right for your audience and products, while making sure our SDKs don't become a burden to work with, and enables you to ship faster.

Applying our developer-centric philosophy to Real-Time Video means it comes with everything you expect from Mux: developer-friendly APIs, documentation, examples, support, flexible and easy-to-integrate SDKs, and predictable, transparent pricing.

LinkPresenting a feature-rich beta

Mux Real-Time Video is entering a public beta today. During this beta, you can enjoy…

  • Support for up to 100 participants, with larger sessions coming soon
  • Web, iOS, and Android SDKs
  • Optimization for reliability and quality, including WebRTC ABR support
  • One simple API for broadcasting to live streams
  • A common JWT authentication platform, shared with the rest of Mux Video

If these features don't get you where you need to go, we'd love your feedback on what would. In fact, we've got lots in the pipeline for the rest of the year, so who knows, maybe your favorite feature is already coming soon?

LinkWays to use Real-Time Video

The most obvious way real-time video communication is used is for virtual meetings, but there’s a whole host of other (and actually fun) use cases. Here are a few examples of other applications that you can build on top of Real-Time Video:

Online events
This broad category can include anything from professional meetings with a handful of people to webinars and producing live streams for large conferences.

Fitness and wellness
Build highly interactive 1-to-1 or small group experiences. Whether it's for a new customized piece of interactive home gym equipment you're developing or for the end user's laptop, Mux Real-Time Video will make sure your app never skips leg day again.

Augment your application with collaborative video. Whether you’re building a graphic design tool, presentation software, or CMS, collaborating through real-time video while working inside your app can be more engaging and productive than switching apps just for communication.

Create a unique experience for e-learning and online classrooms. The flexibility of Real-Time Video allows you to focus on building features around video that maximize engagement and participation from students.

Something else altogether
Bring real-time communication into your product, your way. Building a new metaverse application? An app for canine companions to bark at each other while they’re home all day waiting for their humans to return? Or something that’s never been done before? Real-time video is now more accessible than ever, for wherever you want it to go.

LinkHow to use Real-Time Video

Integrating with Real-Time Video is easy. You can read the getting started guide here.

We've also open-sourced a video-conferencing application that’s built on top of Mux Real-Time Video and Next.js, and you can be up and running with a full-featured video conferencing solution (think Zoom, Google Meet, etc.) in just a few minutes. You can find the code here on GitHub.

Need some inspiration to jumpstart the building process? One of our Real-Time engineers, Garrett, wrote a great blog post on all the things you should be thinking about when building a real-time startup. Give it a read.

LinkAvailability & pricing

Mux’s Real-Time Video is currently in public beta. That means it’s available for anyone who’s interested in trying it. If you want access, drop your email into the form on the Real-Time Video home page, and we'll reach out with onboarding instructions.

Sign up for beta access

We’re offering 1000 minutes of free real-time video every month. After that, it's just $0.004/participant-minute for real-time audio and video, which includes all video and audio up to 720p.

During this stage of the beta, we'll be supporting Web, iOS, and Android. And while we already have a good idea of the platforms we're planning to support next, we always love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Let us know what SDKs you want, or shoot us a note with some general feedback.

Written By

Phil Cluff

Phil Cluff – Director of Product Management - Mux Video Group Product Manager

Phil has spent the last 10 years building some of the biggest AVOD, SVOD, and public service streaming platforms in the world at the BBC and Brightcove. He’s here to chew gum and stream video, and he’s all out of gum.

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