What Is CMAF ? How CMAF Works ? What Are Benefits Of CMAF In Streaming Media OTT ?


Large number of OTT service provider are using HLS streaming and MPEG DASH Streaming. They are using it to stream their content in large number of compatible devices.

It increases the complexity of network in terms of storing and encoding and DRM. But CMAF made this thing simple.

Lets know how below in this article ?

What Is CMAF ?

CMAF stands for Conman Media Application Format. This format is used to reduce the complexity of streaming media. It is done by reducing the reducing Encoding or Packaging and Storing. Which also save the delivery cost.

CMAF also reduces the latency of the network. CMAF uses the ISOBMFF container. Which is called ISO Based Media File Format container. This container support the codecs H.264 and H.265 etc.

Now, What Is Logic Behind CMAF ?

HLS uses the MPEG 2 TS Containers which are not that much efficient. Because If we compare this MPEG 2 TS container with fMP4 then MPEG 2 TS container have high overhead and payload ratio. Where fMP4 represents Fragmented MP4.

For Example, if a service provider want to have HLS and MPEG DASH streaming then he needs to do double encoding and storing. One for MPEG 2 TS container and one for ISOBMFF container. which will cost double to service provider also it is not efficient.

On the other hand,

Later on, HLS announced the support for fMP4. fMP4 container is supportive for CMAF. A Fragmented MP4 container is used in MPEG DASH, HDS and for Smooth Streaming too.

Now we can use a single package for delivery of our services in HLS and MPEG DASH client devices. This package will contain different manifest files. Where HLS uses the m3u8 and MPEG DASH uses the mpd (Media Presentation Description) file. Which reduced the complexity of streaming content.

Let me in brief what is m3u8 file ?

Thus the support of apple for fMP4 made easy to deliver the services on various platforms simultaneously for service providers.

How CMAF Works ?

How CMAF Works

As shown above in the figure it is the working architecture of CMAF. We are receiving the content from source and then it goes for encoding of content.

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We are streaming here fors HLS and MPEG DASH devices. That is why m3u8 manifest file we are sending here for HLS and mpd manifest file for MPEG DASH compatible devices.

Thus after passing through origin server and CDN Network. It is going to subscriber end devices. Where each individual device is receiving the appropriate manifest file and streaming for content.

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What Are Benefits Of CMAF In OTT ?

(1) It reduced the complexity of streaming media network in terms of encoding ans storing.

(2) It reduced the service delivery cost for service providers.

(3) CMAF is compatible with new codecs like H.265 and VP9 etc.

(4) After adoption by apple it is having now converge on large number of devices.

(5) It does support the Common Encryption which is known as CENC. Now you need to encrypt your content once.Then you need to store it. Now your content can be decrypted with its compatible DRM solutions.

It saved the cost, time and complexity of network.

(6) It provides low latency in the network.

(7) Its ISOBMFF container is more efficient than MPEG2 container. Which increases the bandwidth.

(8) It does support now HLS and MPEG DASH.


CMAF plays very important role in streaming media industry. It is a single format which solves large number of problems in this industry.

Because a simple implementation of this format reduces the double encoding, double storing of content. Which results cost saving with low latency in network.

Let us know in the comment box below what you think about CMAF ? What are other techs and algorithms which can make more efficient the streaming media industry ?

For more discussion join Headend INFO Whatsapp group.

Suggested Articles

What Is M3U8 File ?

What Is DRM ?

What Is Transcoding ?

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