What is Zoom RTMP?
If you're developing an application that works with real-time data from Zoom, you may be interested in Zoom's APIs for live streaming meetings. Zoom offers these live streaming capabilities over RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol), which enables you to live stream video and audio over the internet.
Zoom RTMP use cases
Zoom’s RTMP streaming capabilities were traditionally used to live stream Zoom webinars to platforms like YouTube and Facebook.
Recently, a new use case for RTMP streaming has emerged: Developers building apps that work with the real-time data from Zoom. For example, if you’re building an app that provides live transcription, you need a way to access the live audio. Using the RTMP integration appears to be the most obvious approach.
However, the RTMP integration method may not be ideal for certain use cases. In this post, we’ll be going through the pros, cons, and alternatives to using Zoom’s RTMP integration for your apps.
Pros of using Zoom RTMP
- High quality video and audio. If you need 1080p video quality in your live streams, this is the way to go.
- Out-of-the-box configurations for live streaming to YouTube and Facebook.
Cons of using Zoom RTMP
Meeting bot as an alternative to Zoom RTMP
Relying on the built-in live streaming capabilities from Zoom has significant downsides depending on your use case. There are alternatives available, and the most common is building a meeting bot to join the call. This bot will show up as another participant in the meeting. Applications like Gong and Otter.ai use this method.
With meeting bots, the user:
- Does not need to be on a paid plan
- Does not need to be the host of the meeting
- Does not need to be the Zoom workspace admin
- Does not need to configure any settings
- Does not need to install an app to programmatically access the live video and audio from the meeting.
The only thing the meeting bot needs is the meeting link.
The easiest way to build a meeting bot is with Recall.ai, an API for meeting bots.
In conclusion, the best applications to use Zoom's RTMP live streaming are those that stream webinars or meetings. This is because the user of the live streaming application is typically the host of the event, audio and video quality are crucial, and a few seconds of latency is acceptable. Examples of such applications include IOIO and Cinamaker.
However, if you want to access the live audio/video data from a Zoom meeting for processing or analysis, it's better to use a meeting bot. This avoids the prerequisites of using RTMP with Zoom, which could be a blocker if the user of your application isn't the host of the meeting or doesn't have admin permission to live stream. Additionally, participants in the meeting won't receive a distracting live streaming notification and badge in the meeting, which might seem out of place for regular (non-webinar) meetings. Finally, meeting bots have much lower latency than RTMP, which is important for building real-time product experiences. To build a meeting bot into your product, check out Recall.ai, an API that lets you send meeting bots to Zoom, Teams, Meet, and other platforms.