What is Streaming Media?

streaming-video-iconHave you ever noticed that video on the web can run the entire spectrum from horrible to fantastic? I’m not talking about the content itself or how it was compressed, but rather the way it plays back. Sometimes videos load fine and play back smooth, while other videos load slow and play back choppy. Chances are, the good video was playing from a streaming media, or streaming video server and the bad video was playing from a standard web server.

Standard web servers host web content and are often tasked with hosting video. However, video and Flash animations play back much better from streaming servers. Why?

Streaming servers

  • Are specially designed for high bandwidth and large files.
  • Can handle larger traffic loads.
  • Have the ability to detect connection speeds and deliver the appropriate files automatically.

Streaming servers are complex and specialized requiring certain hardware and software. The way they work is quite different from standard servers as well. Any web developer can set up a web server in their basement and serve up web sites. Not everyone can afford the investment required to set up a truly streaming media server.

As a production company that does video and Flash for the web, we prefer to load our clients’ content on streaming servers to make sure it loads and plays back smooth. Rather than trying to set up a costly streaming server, we recommend using a streaming media service like screencast (www.screencast.com).

We use this service for creating preview versions of videos so clients and their colleagues around the world can view and provide feedback. Once approved, the final video can reside on screencast servers indefinitely.

Services like screencast allow for customized branded user interfaces and other controls through an easy-to-use interface. That way, when the client sees preview versions directly from screencast, they see their logo in the corner. Screencast includes standard linking and embed linking, so our clients can embed video from the streaming servers on any web site with full screen playback as an option. When visitors to their site click on the video, it’s playing back from screencast’s streaming media servers, but this is transparent to the visitor, who never leaves the client’s site. All of the videos on this blog and our web site are embedded from screencast.

How much does it cost?

That depends on the bandwidth used, which is a factor of file size (length of video and how it's compressed) and how many times it’s viewed. But it’s not expensive by any means. This is a service we provide free of charge for our clients as long as the bandwidth used stays reasonable. Sites like You Tube and Vimeo stream videos for free, but then your video is associated with other videos you might not want your company to be associated with. Screencast and other streaming media services are like your own private You Tube without the unsavory characters.

Trying to decide whether to stream your video publicly or privately? Check out Public vs. Private — How to Stream Your Video.

For more information on streaming and video on the web, contact us for a free consultation at (763) 231-1881.

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MCG

Master Communications Group is a highly experienced team of Minneapolis video production professionals that create business videos through dynamic storytelling. We can help you create your next corporate video from start to finish or just help with part of the process. Our video production services include: Concept Development, Script Writing, Pre-Production, Field Production, Video Shooting, Post-Production, Video Editing, Animation, Motion Graphics and Voice Recording.