Streaming media:

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Media on the web
There are many different formats for playing digitized audio and video materials through your computer, and many are useful in incorporating these features into web pages as well. The critical issue in most cases is load time. There are two situations, downloaded presntations and streaming presentations.

A short presentation will often be downloaded in an appropriate format along with the page and then played, either on demand or when the page loads. There are many uses for such methods, especially where the visitor desires to have the video material permanently for future replay. some sites even offer audio or video media for download after sale.The major disadvantage is that audio, and especially video, files of any length are very large and the user must wait for the entire file to download before it begins to play

For a longer musical score or a video presentation the best approach is to use a streaming format.The result is like listening to a radio broadcast. It can begin quickly regardless of the actual total length, and it can play indefinitely without filling up your computer. Streaming video is a bit like a TV broadcast in that it begins playing as soon as the first frames arrive, is not saved on the user’s machine, and can thus be of indefinite length. In fact, streaming video is usually used for live TV broadcasts over the web.

In this case the material is stored in a very large file on the server. However, instead of downloading and then playing the entire file, only a short initial section is loaded into a buffer that allows uninterrupted play through short variations in network performance. The material is then played from the buffer while the remainder of the material continues to download into the buffer.

Advanced streaming technologies allow you to synchronize audio and video streams to create commented slide show presentations, to broadcast live audio and video presentations, and to tailor size and resolution of images and quality of sound to the user's connection speed, and even to the current state of internet traffic.

True streaming video is available in several formats but today the one with the most likelihood (97%) of being available on the user’s machine is Flash video. Other video formats can be converted to Flash or Realmedia formats, and we can provide flash interfaces that will stream formats such as MP3.

On the negative side, streaming video requires large amounts of storage and bandwidth and often require a dedicated host for this reason. The need for special servers can be eliminated by renting hosting for just the video on a site designed for the purpose and linking it from there into your site. These kinds of solutions are appropriate for sites that have delivery of media as a principal purpose. Several such services can be found here: http://www.adobe.com/products/flashcom/fvss.


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