After spending way too much time looking around, I have come to the conclusion that the only viable alternative for real-time streaming playback, at the programmer’s level, is VLCKit. It’s a monster, it doesn’t seem to play so well with others, and it’s really, really complex, but there doesn’t seem to be anything that even comes close; especially for mobile.
Video is hard. I really have to hand it to the VLC people. What they made, works.
Now, you can be forgiven for thinking that I said that I wasn’t going to use VCLKit.
That’s because it’s exactly what I said. We’re allowed to change our minds.
The main work ahead is “tuning.” This is a massive job, and people have made entire, lucrative careers out of the task. They don’t write software. They tune. They play with ffmpeg and VLCKit options and arguments until they have a performant video processing/conversion/streaming engine that delivers the requisite quality.
I’m going to be trying something similar, but nowhere near as well.