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Streaming Video For All Media



 

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Streaming Video

 - WHAT EXACTLY IS "STREAMING MEDIA"?

  • "Streaming media" refers to listening to or viewing digital media-mainly audio or video-on your computer in real-time as it comes across the Internet. In the past, you had to wait up to an hour to hear or see a few minutes of downloaded audio and video. But with streaming media you can view content and information instantly-on anything from an ordinary telephone line to a broadband connection or office LAN.  

- WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "DOWNLOAD-AND-PLAY" VERSUS "REAL-TIME" STREAMING?

  • Experiencing Internet media via the download-and-play method means exactly that-your computer downloads a compressed media file, such as MP3, from the Internet to your hard drive. Once that file has downloaded completely, the media starts to play. With real-time streaming, on the other hand, the media is broadcast directly to your computer from a server and played back as the information is received from the server. HTTP Streaming (download-and-play) Also known as progressive streaming, this method takes a compressed media file and downloads it to your computer's hard drive before playback using any Web server such as Apache, Roxen, Microsoft Internet Information Server or Netscape. Real Time Streaming Real-time streaming is broadcast to your computer directly from a server and played back as the information is received from the server, without waiting for the file to download. Real-time servers include the RealSystem Server and QuickTime's Darwin streaming server. 

- WHAT KINDS OF FILES CAN BE STREAMED?

  • We support widest variety of media types on our streaming servers. Below is a list of the media types which can be streamed over our network: RealNetworks: RealAudio (.rm), RealVideo (.rm, .rmvb), RealPix (.rp), RealText (.rt) Macromedia: Flash (.swf) Microsoft: Windows Media (.asf, .wma, .wmv) Apple: QuickTime (.mov) Standards-Based: MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MP3 Image Formats: GIF (.gif), JPEG (.jpg, jpeg), PNG (.png) Other: AU (.au), AIFF (.aif, .ief), WAV (.wav). 

- WHAT DO "BROADBAND" AND "NARROWBAND" MEAN?

  • "Broadband" and "narrowband" are terms used to describe the type of connection you have to the Internet, based on your connection speed. Broadband usually refers to high-speed connections of 200Kbps or higher (such as DSL or cable-modem connections), and narrowband refers to connections of less than 200Kbps (e.g., a regular dial-up modem using your phone line). 

- WHAT ARE CODECS?

  • Whenever you encode some content, you're utilizing a codec. "Codec" is an abbreviation for compression/decompression. A codec can be either a software application or a piece of hardware that processes media through complex algorithms, which compress the file for streaming and then decompress it for playback. Unlike other kinds of file-compression packages that require you to decompress a file before viewing or listening, codecs decompress the media on -the-fly, so your audience can view or listen to a file from its original compressed format. Your audience sees your content immediately with minimal loss of quality from the original. 

- HOW CAN I MAKE MY STREAMING PRESENTATIONS MORE DYNAMIC?

  • Using a technology called SMIL (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language, a W3C standard for Web media) you can combine different media types-audio, video, text, still images, Flash, etc.-in the order you want them to appear, and place them where you want them to appear in your player. It's one thing to simply show a video on the Web, but much cooler when you can create a fully interactive presentation featuring multiple media types.

    Ask one of our sales representatives about this today! 
          - WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SURESTREAM AND SINGLE RATE ENCODING?  
          • These terms apply to RealNetworks' technology only, however, Windows Media has similar capabilities. Single rate encoding is when the digital media file that you are making can be played back at one speed only. This is typically used if you will be streaming from a web server rather than from a media server. This type of encoding has drawbacks. For instance, if you encode the file at a high speed, and the user is connected to the Internet at 56k, the media file will not 'stream' to the users computer. Playback, if at all, will have long delays while the video frames are downloaded to the users computer. As soon as enough frames are downloaded to show a smooth picture, the file is played. SureStream technology enables you to encode your material in multiple speeds within one file. This is the best method to use if you want to provide the highest quality video to your users. When a user clicks on the link to play the video, RealServer G2 will automatically negotiate the connection speed to the user and supply the correct speed for them. When using the SureStream option to encode files it is best not to select to many speeds as the file size grows very quickly. Two or three speeds are reasonable.  

          - DO I NEED TO ENCODE MY OWN FILES?

          • No. SurfNet has a full media center dedicated only to media creation and encoding. While anyone could purchase a low-end video capture board and input source to encode media there are many more factors to consider especially in delivering the highest quality media. To produce the best frame playback requires the highest quality of editing/playback decks, high end capture cards and experienced media engineers to piece it all together. If you have the capabilities in house to do this then by all means we suggest that you can, should your time and resources allow for it. 

          - IF I DECIDE TO ENCODE MY OWN FILES, HOW DO I UPLOAD MY ENCODED FILES TO YOUR SERVER?

          • Since encoded files tend to be large we always recommend sending us the media on either cd-rom or DVD-R. This ensures that the media makes it to our servers intact and it also better for customers that have slower connections where uploading files could take hours or even days. If you would like direct ftp access to the account for upload please contact your account manager once you setup your account and he/she can provide this for you. 

          - HOW DO I LINK FROM MY WEB SITE TO MY VIDEO FILES?

          • This depends on the type of account that you setup with SurfNet. Your dedicated account manager will assist you every step of the way with full linking instructions for the media. If you can do basic .html you should have not problems. If you need additional assistance one of our design specialists can help with this also. 

          - WHAT DOES 56K, 100K AND 300K MEAN?

          • These numbers represent the streaming video file that is associated with an individual's Internet speed. If you have a 56K (most common), you would click on a video clip that has a "56K" associated with it. Higher connections, such as DSL, are typically 100K and above. Bottom line, the faster your Internet connection, the higher quality of video you will be able to watch instantaneously. 

          - CAN I TELL WHO HAS BEEN WATCHING STREAMING VIDEO ON OUR SITE?

          • Yes, SurfNet provides full and detailed server reports to obtain this information. 

          - I ALREADY HAVE A GREAT RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR WEB DESIGNERS/HOSTS, HOW CAN WE WORK TOGETHER?

          • Our service is designed to add value and compliment your existing web activity. Although we are a full service provide with our own hosting services our clients are not obligated to use “all” our product offerings. Clients can mix and match which services they wish to use of ours and which services they wish to use elsewhere. In this case, we work alongside your existing web designers/hosts to show them how to place the appropriate link to replay your video. In reality this is quite simple and just requires a brief phone call or e-mail to get this going.