A   S t r e a m i n g   M e d i a   P r i m e r :  
H O W   D O   I   P U T   M Y   S T R E A M I N G   M E D I A   O N  T H E  W E B ?
A URL that begins with HTTP:// points to a Web server; a URL that begins with RTSP:// points to a streaming server.
Like any other resource fi le you publish on the Web, you post your media fi le to a server that has a con 
nection to the Internet and an accessible IP address. Like any other resource fi le served over the Web, 
your streaming media fi le is referenced by a URL (uniform resource locator). But there are some signifi  
cant differences between publishing Web pages and downloadable fi les vs. publishing streaming media.
Web server vs. streaming server what's the difference?
Earlier in this primer, we distinguished between a Web server and a streaming server. Publishing your 
streaming media fi les on a Web server is possible, but it results in pseudo streaming (aka progressive 
download, aka HTTP streaming, aka fast start streaming in the QuickTime architecture). For true 
streaming (aka hinted streaming in the QuickTime architecture), streaming media fi les must be posted 
to a streaming server.
Are you absolutely, positively sure you want to do true streaming?
Web server pros
Web server cons
Streaming server pros
Streaming server cons
   No special server software 
   Can't transmit live feeds
   Only way to transmit live feeds
   Requires a streaming server
needed; just use your Web server
   Can't broadcast or multicast
   Broadcasts and multicasts (one 
   Playback may be disrupted or 
   Media gets through no matter 
   No fl exibility for end user e.g. 
stream to many viewers)
delayed if data rate exceeds 
how slow the connection, because 
end user cannot skip  chapters  
   VOD (video on demand) fi les 
connection speed or available 
lost packets are retransmitted 
audience must download fi le in its 
can provide fl exible access 
until they are received
entirety, from beginning to end
for end users 
   Media typically loses some data in 
   With fast connections, media 
   Leaves a copy of the media 
   Doesn't leave a copy of the movie 
transmission, and lost packets are 
plays as it downloads, so it seems 
fi le on the end user's hard disk, 
on the viewer's hard disk
gone for good
like streaming to the audience
risking unauthorized alteration 
   Does not use up space on end 
   Firewalls may not allow 
   End user gets to keep a copy of 
and/or redistribution
user's hard disk
streaming fi les to pass
the fi le to play and/or share
   Bandwidth usage can adjust 
   No problems with fi rewalls
to conditions
What kind of streaming media server(s) do I need?
If you do not plan to stream too many fi les to very many people, and you can be sure that your entire 
audience will be happy to use the same, single architecture, then you probably need only one server. 
And it is possible to run your streaming server software on the same computer which is functioning 
as your Web server.
But if your audience is large and you want to offer the opportunity for the end user to choose which 
player to use, remember that you need a different streaming server for each architecture you plan to 
support. To serve streams that are compatible with the three dominant architectures, you'll need server 
software from Microsoft for Windows Media (.asf) fi les, from Real for RealMedia (.rm) fi les, and from 
Apple for hinted QuickTime (.mov) fi les. What this means in terms of machines, is that you'll need 
a Windows or Unix operating system to run all three servers, since Windows Media and RealMedia 
namic Media
servers do not run on MacOS.
In terms of hardware, the amount of storage you need can be calculated using the bandwidth math 
basics you've already learned in this primer multiply the bit rate of your streaming media (in kilobits 
per second) by the length of the media (in seconds) and divide by 8, to arrive at the amount of disk 
obe D
space (in kilobytes) you need for your streaming media fi les:  
(Kbps X seconds)
=  KB

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