A streaming video website continuously delivers and publishes video and associated audio content on the webpage. The end user is able to view the media contents in real time without having to download the media file. Streaming video refers to the mechanism of the distribution of medium and not the media itself.
Streaming videos on computers, as a concept had emerged around 1970s. However, due to inadequate technical capabilities and high cost of resources the advancements were a little staggered. Today, with techniques like true streaming and HTTP streaming, more websites are taking advantage of video streaming. When designing a streaming video website, one needs to understand that the concept of having streaming videos basically lies on two factors – video file format and the streaming technique.
- ‘Windows Media’, ‘Quicktime’, ‘RealMedia’, ‘MPEG’, ‘Flash objects’ are some of the file formats that can be used for streaming videos. The choice of a file format is very crucial as the website might cater to a wide spectrum of users across geographies. Thus it is necessary to understand the type of internet bandwidth, hardware and software resources so that all the users are facilitated with the information that your website wants to provide.
- Other factor important in video streaming is the streaming method itself. ‘Downloading’ is the most basic and simple method, where the video file is downloaded to some temporary folder and is then played in the media player installed on that computer. The other method is ‘streaming’ in which the waiting time is ideally negligible. The video is displayed as and when it gets downloaded. However, certain amount of buffering can take place depending on the speed of the internet connection.
Streaming video is widely used in real time broadcast of live events. This is also referred to as webcast or netcast. Streaming video websites use special types of streaming servers. It is possible to have your own server setup or have it purchased from several providers. You need a robust web server with streaming software installed ProstaStream on it. Some of the video streaming software available includes ‘Macromedia Communication Server’, ‘Apple Quicktime Streaming Server’, ‘Helix Universal Server’, and so on. Apart from these resources, a conversion software is also required that will convert the video file to required format which can be easily published and broadcasted on the internet. ‘Final Cut Pro’ and ‘Adobe Premiere’ are some of the widely used conversion tools. Video streaming is also governed by various protocols that bring under consideration technical performance, quality issues, reliability, cost factors, and legal and social issues. Multicast, Peer-to-Peer, IP Multicast, Unicast, User Datagram Protocol, and Real-time Transport Protocol are some of the protocols that are considered when designing a network that supports video streaming.