State of (the) ART: Is Teradek’s new streaming protocol right for your productions?

By John Basile

Since we here at Stream Dudes value the time of our clients, I won’t get into a deep philosophical discussion that probes the soul and examines what it means to different people. Instead, we will discuss ART, a new, proprietary streaming protocol designed by Teradek.

What is ART?

So again, what exactly is ART? ART stands for Adaptive Reliable Transport and it is Teradek’s answer to SRT. Where SRT is an open source video transport protocol; ART is proprietary to select Teradek products. Although use cases might be similar (like sending point-to-point video across the internet). However, Teradek is promising that ART delivers less than 100ms latency across a WAN, while still maintaining AES-256 encryption and Forward Error Correction (FEC) for smooth video delivery.

Does latency matter?

If so, how? For those unfamiliar with the term, latency (in this case) refers to the time it takes for video to be delivered from one point to another. Having lower inherent latency is key for when producers and content creators want to create a more “natural looking” interaction between two, on camera talents in different locations (think of a news anchor and an on-the-scene reporter). This is also helpful when controlling PTZ or robotic cameras remotely as well.

What am I giving up using ART over SRT?

With the exception of ART being proprietary to select Teradek products, you are actually not losing anything at all- except latency. In fact, much like SRT, ART offers AES encryption, multiple operation modes (for easy firewall traversal) and FEC. In fact, when there is network instability ART does a much better job with packet loss as it analyzes network and video quality simultaneously, making ART adaptive to network conditions and eliminates the need for re-transmission of lost data packets.

How can I take advantage of ART in my productions?

In order to take advantage of the benefits of ART, some hardware and workflow changes will need to be made. For example, if there was a need to send low-latency, 4K video back-and-forth between two locations (think interviews), then two Teradek ART 2U combination encoder/decoder units would be needed. Or, if there was a need to send the same high-quality, low-latency video to multiple destinations, then a Teradek ART 2U can share the output with cloud-based Teradek Core where it can easily be sent to wherever it needs to go.

Although ART is a new streaming protocol and proprietary to Teradek (as of the writing of this blog), it has a solid amount of promise. If SRT lit the match for high-quality, lower-latency streaming across networks, then ART just poured on some rocket fuel. As Teradek revamps it lineup to become an even more premium brand, we can be quite certain that we will see the ART protocol grow to more products in their lineup.