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The Low-Down on Video Streaming

The Low-Down on Video Streaming

Basic Facts To Know About Online Video Streaming

This week Channel Seven broke Australia’s video streaming record with over 500,000 people tuning in to watch the first day of the Australian Open. If there’s one thing Aussie’s love more than their sport it’s convenience and Seven has delivered, with viewers now having the option of watching the Open via Seven’s live mobile app or desktop computer.  The live platform was the first Australian broadcaster to extend live and free television online, with Tim Worner the managing director and CEO stating, “We are redefining the way Australians watch live TV. We are a content company. Our future is television. Our growth is mobile.” (Mediaweekcomau, 2016)

 

Advantages of Online Video Streaming

The fall of the ‘Square Eyes’ generation has been in motion for years due to the awakening of  ‘Cord-Cutters’ – a hyperactive, content-hungry bunch who have ditched their cable TV for fast online video content. Why? The advantages include minimal advertising, avoidance of unwanted channel subscriptions, more variety and the low costs. This revolution has been triggered by video-sharing websites such as Youtube, Vimeo and online broadcasting services like Netflix, Presto and Stan.

So if you have only just logged on, here is the low-down on video streaming:

The Birth of Video Streaming

The birth of video streaming came from a Seattle-based start-up company named Progressive Networks (later RealNetworks), who in 1993 streamed the live performance of a garage band, Severe Tire Damage. During this time the Internet was used mostly for sending emails, with media content downloaded from a remote server to only play once fully downloaded.  What Progressive Networks created was a ‘real-time’ viewing system for audiences to experience without having to download a full file.  This introduced the notion of ‘buffering’.

What is Buffering?

Buffering involves pre-loading data into a reserved area of memory before playing a media file on the Internet. Storing a supply of data, for example, audio samples or video frames will help avoid those insufferable transmission lags. The amount that can be uploaded or downloaded is defined by the bandwidth.

Bandwidth

Bandwidth describes the level of data allowed to transfer in a fixed amount of time. There are two categories of bandwidth – Upstream and Downstream. Upstream determines the speed in which data can be sent while Downstream describes the amount that can be received. These communication channels are connected through an analog or digital device. Analog, (also known as dial-up), measures frequencies as hertz (Hz) or cycles per second using the telephone line. While this method was economical, it was prone to loss of quality. Digital bandwidth is expressed in bits per second (bps) with each bit representing two distinct amplitudes modulated and demodulated through a modem. This technology has widely been replacing analog as digital transmits data quicker making video streaming smoother.

The Codec Software

An additional component to get the best out of your video streaming experience is the codec software. Codec is a compression system to generate high-quality data at smaller file sizes. Some popular codecs today are H.264, WMA, RealVideo, MPEG-4 and XviD/DivX. After the data is decoded you will be able to view your video through a container which is exactly what it sounds like – an audio, video and codec file organiser. Adobe Flash, Apple QuickTime, Microsoft Windows Media, Silverlight and RealPlayer are just a few containers to choose from.

While these technologies can sound complicated, watching videos online is now a very simple process that is sustaining society’s demand for entertainment, communications, training and promotions. Film and video have always been the superior medium than sample text and picture, so just like the cord-cutting phenomenon, the growth video online is only going to expand.

VMP can help you access and capitalise on this global revolution. Contact us, today!

References

Mediaweekcomau. (2016). Mediaweekcomau. Retrieved 20 January, 2016, from http://www.mediaweek.com.au/live-streaming-for-seven-7two-and-7mate/