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Streaming Video and Audio In the Internet
by: Lester John M. Policarpio

Entertainment is a necessity! And thank god we belong to the digitalage when almost all our needs are readily available right in the comforts of our own home.

And now that the Internet is here, the focus is not merely on the issue of merely supplying information to the users but giving them the choice to pick only the kind of information they are most interested in, when to obtain these information, where to extract these information from and of how these preferred information should take form.

Imagine using your computer in watching your favorite NBA match, your watch your favorite television show or the evening newscast and listen to the live concerts and Webcasts through Castdial. Imagine just sitting in front of your computer screen while searching for articles on the hottest political issues rather than going through those pile of newspapers or magazine archives in your local library.

Streaming media is a technique that allows users to view audio and video contents while they are still receiving it. Or as others perceive it, an audio and video file that plays as instantly on a text based content as when a Web page downloads on your browser. And unlike downloading a video or audio file to be played later, it flows to your computer screen enabling you to view its contents simultaneous to the process of downloading.

So, how do you stream something into the Internet? Especially video?

Here are the basic steps:

First, in order to stream a data in video form, a person must use a 30-frames-per-second analog video that is fed by a VCH or video camera to a video board within the computer. This must then be converted from an analog wave form into binary data. This representation is stored in the computer hard disk and further reduced in size by video compression software. The video compression software then scans each of the frames of the video file and distinguishes which are redundant. The redundant ones are erased. Only needed data are retained.

A user can then watch a file by clicking on an HTML tag embedded in a website. When he does this the video streaming software on the remote server is released and a steady stream of data begins to flow. But before he gets to watch this, he must have an interface or a "player" installed in his computer. If he has this, he can then watch the file he requested through the website's remote server.

Then comes the issue of speed of data retrievals in connection to bandwidth.

The snail's pace of the 28.8, 33.6 and 56 kbps modems simply cannot deliver the amount of kilobytes that streaming media demands. This situation provided the Vendors who are well aware of the problems to intelligently devise ways to manage network resources for users faced with streaming media flood. From the snail- blazing 28.8 dial-up connections, there came much advancement. The 33.6 and 56K variants came out as minor upgrades to their 28.8 sibling. This development could be hardly felt by the users so they had to come out of that medium of connection—the analog modem. Then came what they would call the second generation of connection devices designed to give the subscribers a leap from 28.8 kbps to a stunning speed of up to 1.5 mbps. What could these technical numbers signify then? Well, it means that the new connection speeds that subscribers could now enjoy could reach up to 20 or even 50 times faster than when they were using the 56K connection speed.

The efforts to battle bandwidth problems have produced good results especially in subduing qualms about supporting streaming media applications. By this, followed the advent of streaming technologies to deliver audio, video and animation into websites, which is considered an appropriate response to this TV generation's insatiable demands.

Now that streaming media is gaining much recognition in the Internet, websites are now transforming plain information exchange in the Internet to the ultimate sensory experience. And it is the consumers benefiting from these technologies. Entertainment companies have extended their broadcasts to the net thus expanding the markets across the barriers of the traditional transmitters to the global community in the Internet. Through innovations that supported streaming media, thousands of audio and video information are now available on the Internet. Only the users' individual preferences are considered their limit. Thanks to the many innovations and new gizmos that pop out every minute that ticks. Five to seven years ago, streaming media was just a young idea being cooked up on the Internet and now, the attention and respect for it is increasing. People find more reasons on why these streaming media will slowly shape and influence the way they see and access information.

Mr. Lester John M. Policarpio is the supervisor of the eMktg Team of CyberImagination, Inc. Among the websites of CyberImagination are; a one stop solutions center that offers downloadable communications and chat software solutions to websites and businesses and a website that offers a software that allows you to experience Net webcasts and live events for free.


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