Streaming - Audio and Video

Streaming refers to the normal flow of data as it travels to someone's desktop computer from a server through a network connection. The speed at which data moves is limited by the network connection. The typical connection for most users is a modem running at 28.8Kbps per second or slower.

All data moving to a user's machine over a network connection is streamed. What makes a movie stream differently than text, gif, or jpeg files for example, is that the data in a movie file is stored sequentially by frame. As soon as the media player receives all of the data for a single frame of a movie, the player immediately renders that frame to the screen without waiting for any more of the movie's data to arrive.

So unlike downloading, where you save a complete file locally before you are able to play it, streaming allows you to play a file as it is being downloaded. The advantage to streaming is that it is virtually instant. You only have to wait for a few seconds before the file starts to play. With streaming media, the content is played as it arrives, and is usually not stored on your computer.

We are able to offer streamed content using all of the most popular media formats and we are happy to advise on which is most appropriate for your application.

Benefits of streaming:

  • ability to handle much larger traffic loads.
  • ability to detect users' connection speeds and supply appropriate files automatically.
  • ability to broadcast live events.

What you will need to stream content:

  • a website with a listen live button
  • a suitable computer
  • an always-on internet connection
  • music/video and music/video scheduling software.

How streaming media/video works:

    1. You use a scheduling software to play music/viedo continuously on your computer.
    2. Your computer must be connected to the Internet with a high-speed, always-on connection such as DSL, cable modem.
    3. Your computer will establish a permanent connection to our data centre and will 'stream' the material you are broadcasting from our servers.
    4. You need a web page with a 'Listen Live' button.
    5. When your audience clicks on that button, they will be connected to our servers, and their media player will start up, playing the material that you are broadcasting at that moment.
    6. We can accommodate hundreds or even thousands of listeners simultaneously listening to your broadcast.

How compression affects streaming of sound

Compression strategies for sound make streaming sound slightly different from streaming image data. Images are uncompressed once. Sound needs to be uncompressed as fast as the sound plays, every time it plays. Experimenting with different compression strategies for each of the sounds in your movie can help you make the choices between quality and performance that work best for the effects you want to achieve with sound.

Compression: is a technique to make a file or a data stream smaller for faster transmission or to take up less storage space.

The following is a guidline for the compression choices for the sounds in your movie:

  • 5 kHZ: 2-3 bit compression acceptable for speech
  • 5 kHZ : 4-5 bit compression acceptable for button sounds
  • 11 kHZ: 4-5 bit compression good quality speech
  • 11 kHZ: 2-3 bit compression acceptable to music
  • 11 kHZ no compression best for music without creating large file/long download times.

We are able to offer streamed content using all of the most popular media formats and we are happy to advise on which is most appropriate for your application, to find out more simply call today on 0800 458 4545.