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While the essence of the player is its capability to support media playback, the experience of the 
player may take a variety of different forms, either as a standalone window, or embedded into a Web 
page to enhance static content. In either case, the player's UI (user interface) often looks and works 
much like a familiar physical device either a television set or a radio or a jukebox, of sorts. The player 
can, in most cases, have a customized look and feel, known as a skin. Skins may be delivered by content 
providers, in order to  brand  the streaming media experience. Skins for some players may also be 
user selected, allowing customization by end users.
In the corporate world, streaming media players are evolving beyond just organizing and playing media. 
Players are becoming comprehensive presentation engines, with the ability to present live or recorded 
multimedia content with slides, video, music and narration. Such presentations can be streamed over 
a corporate intranet or, via the Internet, to customers and constituencies around the globe.
HOW DOES IT GET THERE FROM HERE?
 Although the terms Web and 
Streams are sent from a streaming media server to a client using a protocol known as 
Internet are often used synony 
RTP (Real time Transport Protocol). RTP is similar to HTTP and to FTP protocols 
mously, they re actually two dif 
used by Web servers but there are some essential differences 
ferent things  The Internet is 
Excuse me  you don't know what HTTP and FTP are? 
the global association of comput 
What's the matter? Have you been living under a rock for the past eight years? (Just 
kidding!) The fi rst Web browser, called  Mosaic,  was created by Marc Andreeson in 
ers that carries data and makes 
1993. He went on to cofound Netscape in 1994, and the rest is history. The fact is, we've 
the exchange of information pos 
only had the ability to surf the Web with GUI enabled browsers for a few short years, so 
don't be embarrassed if you need a little education on the way the Internet works its 
sible. The World Wide Web is a 
history and technology has hardly made it into school curriculums yet, and most of 
subset of the Net a collection of 
us have been too busy using the Internet and the Web to be bothered to learn how 
they work.
interlinked documents that work 
In the computer world, just like in the  real  world, a  protocol  is a set of standards 
together using a specifi c Internet 
that defi nes how information is to be conveyed and how parties are to interact. Unless 
protocol called HTTP  In other 
the conventions are strictly adhered to, one party will not recognize the other, and the 
information will not be transferred. The Internet is a virtual Tower of Babel, connecting 
words, the Net exists indepen 
a great many different types of computing platforms via a vast array of different commu 
dently of the Web, but the Web 
nications mediums. So many types of protocols are used, on several different levels, all 
at once. This may seem complicated, but it is not an unfamiliar concept. When you 
can't exist without the Net.  
make a telephone call, many protocols are also employed: the country code, area code, 
 CNET
19
exchange, and the identifying numbers are all a part of the addressing protocol; there 
may be an automated protocol in use to locate the individual within the organization 
you are calling that requires pressing the correct sequence of buttons; and there is even 
a protocol for your verbal exchanges over the phone that includes critical success factors we now take 
for granted, such as identifying yourself, communicating without reference to visual aids, and ending 
the call with some form of  Goodbye. 
TCP/IP is the most dominant protocol suite on the Internet, comprised of two main protocols 
IP and TCP. TCP/IP might be likened to a global air traffi c control network that makes sure data goes to 
the right destination and gets there intact. IP (Internet Protocol), the basis of most Internet protocols, 
breaks up large chunks of information into digestible packets. In addition to the data being conveyed, 
namic Medianamic Media
each packet (also known as a datagram) carries a header containing the source and destination 
yy
IP addresses, as well as a sequence number that allows the destination computer to reconstruct the 
packets in the correct sequence, when they arrive. This sequencing information is critical, as the packets 
may not arrive in proper sequence, since they each fi nd their own way to the fi nal destination along 
whatever path is necessary, depending on continually fl uctuating network traffi c conditions. If a tele 
obe Dobe D
dd
phone line breaks down along the way, a packet will fi nd another route by which to travel. IP focuses 
AA
mostly on the location of hardware, getting the information across the vast network, from one 
device to another. 
15
15
19  http://coverage.cnet.com/Content/Features/Techno/Networks/ss03.html
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