Why You Need It
As a BoxCast customer, you might already know that we have our own unique streaming protocol called BoxCast Flow, which not only makes your stream more reliable and secure, but also helps overcome network issues and improve your overall video quality.
BoxCast Flow Control does exactly what it sounds like — it lets you control BoxCast Flow. BoxCast Flow Control is included in all BoxCast plans, and allows you to add a short delay (aka latency) to your stream, so if your internet connection is slow or drops completely, it has time to recover before it impacts your viewer.
Note: This feature is only available with BoxCast encoders (including the Broadcaster app). It’s not included when streaming RTMP from a third-party encoder.
How It Works
BoxCast will add an extra delay in between the time when your stream is happening to when it shows up in the player. In the meantime, we’ll store that stream data on your encoder so if you have network issues, we can use the video we’ve already stored to play until your issues are resolved. Your stream will continue to play flawlessly, and your viewers will never know the drop occurred.
During our testing, we were able to completely unplug the internet connection to our encoder then reconnect it, and the stream played on flawlessly. If you’d like to see how it works, you can check out our video here.
How to Set It Up
You can choose to apply the BoxCast Flow Control setting by broadcast or by source, as long as you’re streaming from a BoxCaster or BoxCaster Pro. If you’re streaming from our Broadcaster app, you can choose to add it by broadcast only. We’ll walk through both workflows here.
To add BoxCast Flow Control at the source level, log in to your BoxCast Dashboard and go to Sources. Click on Edit Settings, then go to the Streaming tab at the top. There, you’ll see an option for BoxCast Flow Control:
You’ll have two to three options, depending on your source. If you’re streaming from the Pro or Broadcaster app, you’ll have a third (Maximum) option — otherwise, you’ll be able to choose between Standard and Enhanced.
Standard is two seconds long, and is the default latency for all BoxCast broadcasts.
Enhanced adds a 15-second latency to your stream, giving it a 15-second buffer for stream drops.
Maximum gives you anywhere between a 45–90 second buffer, which is automatically determined based on your stream settings.
If you’d like to add the BoxCast Flow Control setting by broadcast instead of by source, you can choose that when you’re scheduling your broadcast. Simply scroll down, click Show Advanced Settings, and you’ll see the option there:
If you’re a little concerned about adding extra latency to your stream, remember: Most live video streams aren’t truly live! Almost all major streaming services have delays.
The general rule of thumb is, if it’s a chat-based stream (like a Zoom or FaceTime call), you want speed over quality, but if it’s a stream from one location to lots of viewers (the kind of streaming you do with BoxCast), then quality takes precedence.
Most people won’t notice a delay unless they’re actually in the same room (or unless you’re in a group text chat and someone is too quick to celebrate that game-winning touchdown). Generally speaking, viewers feel more frustrated with a buffering stream than they do watching a smooth, clear stream with a slight delay. The great news is that with BoxCast Flow Control, you can now choose which you’d like to take precedence, based on your specific streaming needs.
If you have questions about which BoxCast Flow Control setting you should use or need help setting it up, reach out to our friendly streaming coaches at email@example.com or use the Chat button in the bottom-right corner of your screen.