What You Need to Know to Make Decisions About Web Streaming Services and Devices

CorporateTechDecisions by George Tucker

Live Web streaming. Only a few years ago if you mentioned these words you would receive only a blank stare in return. Today most major product unveilings: Apple’s QuickTime series of products, Microsoft’s Internet Information Services media platform and Adobe Media Server 5 are available and produce high-quality content. The result is that rather than traveling to attend a live broadcast, now people can attend right from their desks.

Streaming technologies are fast replacing the broadcast truck and satellite uplink for many meeting events looking to reach a national or even global audience live. While Web streaming technology is not very new, its implementation in the event staging world is still emerging and many users may be unfamiliar with the technology. However, on first look the technology and concepts for webcasting will feel familiar to most video-savvy people.

So What is a Web Stream Anyway?

The simple answer is that it is video pushed out to an Ethernet LAN (local area network) / WAN (wide area network) or the Internet. Streaming is a transport medium that takes incoming video sources and converts them into a signal that you can send across standard Ethernet networks. However, in order to get the video into a format acceptable you need to modify it a bit.

The first step is to pass the incoming video, graphics and audio through an encoder. This device converts the signal into the format that software players can handle. The encoded signal now needs to be molded or packetized in such a way that it can be received by a player looking like a single unbroken stream. Packetizing means the video and audio are not just digitized into a scheme of ones and zeros, but that the output of the media encoder, often called the elementary stream, is divided into data packets of encapsulated sequential data. What this means is that the live video is converted into a digital format that an endpoint player can receive and reassemble in a logical flow as an orderly video. read more...

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