A   S t r e a m i n g   M e d i a   P r i m e r :    
W H A T   I S   S T R E A M I N G   M E D I A ?
The benefi ts of using a specialized streaming media server include:
W H AT   I S    R E A L   T I M E ?  
   More effi cient use of the network bandwidth
   Better audio and video quality to the user 
 Real time  is one of those techie terms we were all 
   Advanced features like detailed reporting and multi stream 
supposed to wake up one day (not so very long ago), 
multi media content 
simply understanding. The implication is that  real time  
means  as it happens,  or  concurrent with reality.  
   Support for large numbers of users 
Since streamed fi les are processed and played back as 
   Multiple delivery options 
they are transferred from server to client, all streaming 
   Content copyright protection
is essentially  real time,  as far as the data is concerned. 
There is, however, always some amount of delay between 
Files that have been encoded in a streaming media format can be served by 
trans mission and reception, making the use of the term 
a standard Web server. Web server streaming, also called HTTP streaming 
 real time,  when it comes to streaming, slightly inaccu 
is, however, actually just a fl avor of progressive download. HTTP streaming 
rate. Transmission of streaming media is dependent upon 
such factors as available bandwidth, connection speed, 
creates a local cached copy of the media fi le, so there is no way to prevent 
and network congestion. And there is often at least a 
end users from copying the fi le into a designated directory on their hard 
momentary delay while the client dependent buffer 
drive. In other words, HTTP streaming does not provide the copyright 
accumulates enough data to process and play. So, espe 
protection for media content that is, by defi nition, an essential characteristic 
cially when media is being streamed to a wide variety 
of true streaming.
of platforms, via the public Internet, each recipient will 
experience playback in a slightly different timeframe 
One interesting advantage of HTTP streaming, however, is its ability to 
not actually concurrently. 
transfer streaming media fi les across fi rewalls which often do not allow true 
streaming media fi les to pass. Many specialized streaming server software 
W H E N   I S    L I V E     L I V E ?
solutions provide streaming media publishers with the option of switching 
over to HTTP streaming when true streaming is prevented by a fi rewall. 
The content of streaming media may be real time 
meaning  live,  as in an event being Webcast as it occurs. 
Streaming is not used to transfer normal data
Or, it may have been stored in an archive and be streamed 
Because audio and video are time dependent mediums, in order for them 
 on demand.  Streaming media may be categorized into 
to play smoothly, packets of information being transferred must arrive on 
three basic program types, based on the kind of content 
time and in good condition. The public Internet, however, is based on an 
streamed and how it is made available to the audience:
asynchronous system, wherein it doesn't matter in what order packets 
VOD ( Video On Demand): When pre recorded 
arrive. Transfer Control Protocol the  TCP  part of TCP/IP ( IP  stands 
streaming media content has been archived on a server, 
it may be accessed   on demand  by individual audience 
for Internet Protocol) typically ensures that fi les are assembled in proper 
members, at any time.  Whenever an end user clicks on 
sequence, and requests replacements for any packets lost or corrupted in 
the link to request the program, it starts playing from the 
transport. This is known as  error correction,  and it is a luxury that is 
beginning.  In similar fashion to viewing a video cassette 
sacrifi ced for streaming as we know it today. When media is streamed, data 
or DVD,  the end user can control the experience by mani 
pulating controls on the player interface to move forward 
that is lost or damaged is gone forever at least as far as that stream is con 
or backward, to pause, or to jump to any point in the 
cerned resulting in imperfect, sometimes even indecipherable, playback. 
program.  Multiple users may be streaming the same 
Fortunately, video is a very  forgiving  medium we tend to get the gist of 
program, but each user may be accessing different 
portions of the content concurrently.
the content, even when it skips a beat or two. So streaming technology is 
still viable when the transmission isn't ideal. Besides, streamies seem to be 
SCHEDULED  WEBC AST:  Archived content may also 
be used for a  scheduled Webcast,  sometimes called 
just as forgiving an audience as the masses who supported the early imple 
a  streaming broadcast.   The designated URL is not valid 
mentations of so many other technologies that have brought us motion 
before the Webcast begins nor after it ends. The host 
and sound scratchy sounding phonograph records; grainy, black and white 
starts streaming the program at a scheduled time, con 
fi lms; early talkies with less than perfect sound synchronization; and the 
tinuing to stream from start to fi nish.  Just like with tele 
vision broadcasts, viewers who don't start to access the 
frustratingly intermittent television reception some of us still recall from 
stream at the appointed time join the program  in prog 
pre cable days. Easily delighted streamies are, apparently, willing to forgive a 
ress.  Scheduled Webcasts are sometimes referred to as 
lot of the jittery, jumpy, jerky qualities of streaming media at its worst. But 
 live Webcasts,  when the audience is  live  for example, 
the point is that streaming is not a reliable way to transfer  normal  data 
on line meetings or distance learning situations in which 
data that must be complete and uncorrupted to be acceptably reproduced on 
parts of the presentation consist of pre recorded stream 
namic Media
ing media and other parts are interactive exchanges (chat, 
the receiving end. So streaming is not used to transfer text fi les, databases, 
y
panel discussions, Q&A, quizzes, etc.)
intricate graphics, and other types of unforgiving information.  
 LIVE  LIVE WEBC AST: When live content is streamed 
Streaming is bandwidth dependent
as it occurs, it is, of course, considered  live.  Like any 
scheduled Webcast, everyone in the audience experiences 
When a non streaming fi le is downloaded, bandwidth is relevant only in 
obe D
the same thing at the same time.  To differentiate a  live 
d
so far as how long it takes for the data to be transferred. A fi le transferred 
Webcast,  (i.e., a scheduled Webcast streaming pre record 
A
over a narrowband (low bandwidth) connection will take much longer to 
ed content to a  live  audience), you'll sometimes hear  as 
download than the same fi le transferred over a broadband (high band 
it occurs   Webcasts referred to as  Live Live. 
7
width) connection, so long as all other factors (such as server load, network 
<





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