The Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) is a network control protocol designed for use in entertainment and communications systems to control streaming media servers. The protocol is used for establishing and controlling media sessions between end points. Clients of media servers issue VCR-like commands, such as play and pause, to facilitate real-time control of playback of media files from the server.
The transmission of streaming data itself is not a task of the RTSP protocol. Most RTSP servers use the Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) for media stream delivery, however some vendors implement proprietary transport protocols. The RTSP server from RealNetworks, for example, also features RealNetworks' proprietary RDT stream transport.
RTSP was developed by the Multiparty Multimedia Session Control Working Group (MMUSIC WG) of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and published as RFC 2326 in 1998.
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