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How Does On Demand Streaming Video & Streaming Audio Work?

Using PlayStream's Small Business Services Content Delivery Network for delivering video on-demand is easy. Capture your media content then encode it into the format of choice. Upload your digitized file into our Content Delivery Network and your content is replicated to the edge of the network in real-time. If time or experience is an issue, PlayStream can capture and encode your media for you in any format we deliver at a competitive rate. After uploading your content to PlayStream's Small Business Services Content Delivery Network, your content is available to embed or link-to within your website, allowing complete flexibility over how you integrate media into your web presence.
On Demand Streaming Video - How does On Demand Streaming Video & Streaming Audio Work?
1. Capturing Your Media To A Digital Format

There are four basic steps you must take in order to stream your media. The first of these steps is to capture your media. In order to do this, you will need an input device for your computer. For audio content, the input device can be a text sound card. For video content, you will need some type of video capture device.

Examples of typical video capture devices are a firewire port (firewire card) or a video capture card. Common video capture cards that we know work are the Osprey 220 from ViewCast or capture cards from Winnov or Pinnacle.

2. Converting Your Media With An Encoding Station
An encoding station is simply a computer that runs encoding software (the "encoder") that converts your captured media to a streaming (streaming video or streaming audio) format. Most encoders require a reasonably fast computer to run. Normally a Pentium II with at least 128 MB of RAM is good if you're a PC user but, as always with computers, faster is better. Typically, We recommend that you use the encoding software that is provided by the manufacturer of the streaming format you have chosen. That is if you are a Windows user encoding Windows Media content, we suggest you use the Windows Media Encoder. If you are converting your content to RealMedia, please use the newest encoder available for your operating system at If you are converting your content to the QuickTime Streaming format use QuickTime Pro (with the Sorenson Codec) or Discreet cleaner.
3. Uploading Your Media To Our Content Delivery Network

After your content is converted to a streaming format you must upload it to our servers. We offer two ways to do this, either through the content management area when you are logged in to your PlayStream account or via FTP at with your user name and password. When you upload your content, it goes directly to the PlayStream Seattle data center and then is picked up by our replication process and copied to the PlayStream Atlanta data center. Links to your content are generated via our globally load balanced easy link system and you put these links into the HTML of your Web page. When someone visits your Web site and clicks a link for streaming audio or streaming video, that request is directed to the data center closest to them and they stream your content from our servers.

By directing your audience member to the closest data center, we cut down on the time it takes to deliver your stream to them. Once the closest data center has been established, the streaming video or streaming audio request is sent down one of the many backbones we are connected to via Internap's advanced "Synchronous-When-Optimal" routing service.

Our system delivers your media by avoiding the often congested public and private peering points of the Internet, thus greatly increasiing delivery performance and reducing problems such as rebuffering.

4. Delivering Your Media To Your Audience
When a streaming media Player makes a connection to one of our streaming servers via our easy link technology or a reference file (RAM for RealMedia, ASX; WVX or WAX for Windows Media; or QTL for QuickTime), the server sends the player data via User Datagram Protocol (UDP) by default. If the streaming media player cannot accept this data, the server tries to resend it via the TCP protocol to several different ports, with port 80 as it's final attempt if each attempt fails. This process is called protocol rollover. If this negotiation is successful, and the server is either Windows Media or the RealServer, a check is made for the connection speed configured in the connection settings of the streaming media player. Based on the connection speed returned to the server from the player, the server will send the highest play supported stream from a multiple-bit-rate streaming file, the whole file in the case of a single-bit-rate streaming file, or just the audio portion of an audio/video streaming file if the player connection speed is not fast enough to accept all video data.
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