The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection

Online Video Streaming 101

There are two primary methods of streaming video. These methods are streaming servers, also called true streaming, and HTTP streaming. In creating streaming video you must understand the file format of the video and the method of streaming. Genetec Video Wall

When creating a video stream there are many video file formats to select from. The common formats are Windows Media, Adobe Flash, RealMedia, and Quicktime. There are pros and cons to each format. It really is a personal preference for the user. When creating streaming video the main point to keep in mind is that in order to reach the largest audience you may want to create a separate file for each format.

There a two methods to view media on the internet. These methods are streaming and downloading. Downloading a file allows you to save it to your computer which will allow you to open the file and then view it. You must wait until the entire file downloads to the computer before it can be viewed. You can provide downloadable videos by using a hyperlink to the file or embedding the file in the web page using HTML code.

Delivering video files via downloading is commonly known as HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) streaming. Web pages are delivered using this same protocol. This is why is HTTP streaming is easy to set up and use on a website. It also does not require any additional software or a special hosting plan. HTTP steaming is not true video streaming.

Streaming media is different than HTTP streaming. As soon as the streaming video begins to download the end user can begin to watch. The user views the video as it arrives because the file is being sent to the user in a constant stream. You can watch the video without having to wait. A specialized server must be used in order to deliver true streaming video.

True streaming is able to handle a large volume of traffic because the application is being run on a specialized server. True streaming also has the ability to broadcast live events. It can also detect a user’s connection speed and make sure the appropriate files are supplied automatically. There are two ways to gain access to a streaming server. You can operate your own server through a purchase or lease with a hosted streaming plan or use a fully managed service to host, encode, and delivery your streams.

Operating your own server is simple to do with a managed dedicated server and fills the needs of even the largest media-focused website. True streaming is actually less expensive than it’s HTTP streaming counterpart and adds incredible functionality and control to the end user by allowing them to fast forward to what they want to see rather than progressively downloading the entire video. Typical bandwidth savings exceed 30% for heavily viewed streams and setup time is usually 24 hours or less.

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