Streaming media consists of sound and video, continuously “streamed” over the Internet
Streaming media (continued)
Streaming media may be either video or audio, or most commonly a combination of both.
There are two categories of streaming, pseudo and genuine streaming
Pseudo streaming allows for immediate playback as the file is downloaded whilst it is playing. Pseudo streaming uses pre-compressed data
Genuine streaming requires a specialised server and compresses the data on-the-fly, delivering content in an efficient format
The Principle of Streaming The Principle of Streaming (A snapshot in time)
Limitations on Streaming types
Because video and audio data can be quite large, compression is an integral part of streaming
Pseudo streaming uses pre-compressed files and only allows users to view media sequentially; you cannot skip to a set point in the stream
Genuine streaming allows a user to navigate to any point in the stream, but requires a dedicated server to do this. Genuine streaming files must be prepared specially for delivery
What’s going on behind the scenes on the servers?
Formats of Streaming
There are many formats of streaming available. Some of the more common formats are:
Windows Media Player
What do the different formats do?
Each format uses a different algorithm for compressing and embedding the streaming data
Different manufacturers place emphasis on different aspects: video, sound, speed, bandwidth
Because of the competitiveness of the different manufacturers, each format represents a different means of achieving effective multimedia streaming
Different formats (continued)
Common to virtually all formats is the MPEG compression algorithm
MPEG ( Moving Picture Experts Group) develops standards for the compression of digital video and audio
The actual compression is often referred to as a codec ( co der/ dec oder)
Common MPEG standards deliver video at up to 8Mbps and audio at up to 96kbps
Why use streaming?
Streaming allows for the delivery of high-impact, engaging and often interactive content
Streaming is typically very flexible and can be distributed widely in a variety of formats
Standard video and audio content is too large to deliver via traditional formats. Streaming formats offer incredible compression and very effective delivery.
When to use streaming
Multimedia content in any fashion is a two edged sword. It can quite literally make or break a website
Users of a website must be able to efficiently and effectively navigate a site. Use of extraneous multimedia can be detrimental.
Not all users have access to high-speed internet connections. Multimedia can very quickly chew up a users available bandwidth, frustrating them if they cannot see multimedia as the author intended.
When to use streaming (continued)
With correct application, relevance and attention to issues such as performance, multimedia can be used to enhance any website.
For example: Multimedia streaming can be used as a self-serve sales tool. Instead of a customer waiting to receive literature of a product, they can view a video clip advertisement.
Considerations for streaming
Bandwidth, bandwidth, bandwidth!
Multimedia streaming in almost any format will take up a significant portion of a user’s available bandwidth. Some players will wait until a buffer of data is received before playback commences. This can result in a constant stop-start effect in the stream. This can be very annoying!
Adding streaming to your website
Streaming can be inserted into your website using either an Anchor tag, or using an Embed tag