Streaming Media (Video on the Internet)
by Merrill M. Hessel
Now you can find movies from the Sundance Festival, Archives
of old video programs and the Superbowl commercials available to you. There are live video
streaming webcasts for many events. Companies use "streaming" to have meetings
with their employees on their desktops.
If you want to get a position in video either as a technician
or producer this is one of the growth areas.
What do we mean by streaming?
There are two ways you can obtain a movie from the Internet.
Download the file and place it on your hard drive or stream it like a TV
broadcast and as the information (Movie Picture and Sound) comes into your
computer you view it. Streaming can accommodate live conferences, concerts,
shows, meetings. Streaming is the way to go. Downloading
is slow and many producers do not want you to have a copy of their product.
How do you view Streaming Media?
There are three main Streaming "Players", Real
Player, Windows Media Player and QuickTime Player. A player is like a TV
set that allows you to view these files.
Windows Media Player
Unfortunately each Player will only play their type of Video
file. This problem is equivalent to having a TV that only receives one station ABC on their set
and you would have to buy another set to receive CBS programs and another for
Fortunately Windows Media Player comes with every PC for free
but not MAC. Real Player and QuickTime Player may or may not come on
your PC or MAC but you can download them for free. The vendors try to lure
you into paying for a souped up version of their player that has additional features over the free one (ignore these
features go for free!).
Now you go to a website what do you use?
Real Player states they have over 100 million players on
PCs. I like it and for the clips I have looked at and produced I find he
video quality and sound much better than Windows Media. Download this Player if it is not on your
Windows Media has a huge audience since this player is built
into every PC. The clips I have produced sound tinny, but that may have
been my fault and you can test this for yourself .
QuickTime Player comes with all MACS and anyone using Adobe
Products on a PC such as Photoshop, Premiere, Illustrator have it on the setup
disk or are required to use it for video editing. Most websites do not stream QuickTime
The problem with good video on the web now is your connection
to the Internet. Video pushes a lot of bits of information per second
(bps) through the wires. With a telephone modem that allows 56,000 bps or less
the video signal is degraded and the streams are jerky and poor quality.
DSL or Cable modem connections are 4 to 20 times faster and allow smoother and
higher quality video images.
According to a July 2002 Arbitron/Edison Media Report
83 Million American have listened or watched streaming media
51 % have done it online
42% have Broadband access at home (Cable or DSL modem or
Residential Broadband access has doubled in the past 18 months
Nielson/Netratings Report state that 48.6% of U.S. households have
broadband connections and by Feb. 06 this will be up to 80%. Comcast just
announced they are upgrading their downloading speed from 3 Mbps to 6 Mbps at no
increased charge. This is 100 times that of a dial-up modem and will allow
us to view movies with reasonable quality and reliability/
It is clear that Streaming Media is growing at a rapid rate and
for those of us producing video content on a professional or even accomplished
amateur basis we will be distributing many of our programs through the Internet
in the next few years.