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Streaming Video On Demand

1 Jan, 2013 By: Dr. Satwant Kaur imageSource

As always, imageSource looks to Dr. Satwant Kaur, First Lady of Emerging Technologies, to share cutting edge technology advances, concepts, and opportunities with our readers. This month she addresses the emerging technology called Streaming Video On Demand (VOD), and what enterprises can do with them.

Here are some excerpts from our interview:

[imageSource] Please briefly explain what Streaming Video On-Demand is.

[Satwant] Video on-demand “streaming” is a special kind of webcasting that transmits encoded video digital content. Encoding is the process by which digital video files on the computer are converted to streaming media files for broadcasting on the ‘net. It allows On-Demand playback of archived video files that can be accessed at any time by simply using links embedded in web pages. On-demand streaming can also be protected by the use of Digital Rights Management (DRM).

[imageSource] Can you please break down the process step by step that happens behind the scenes for VOD streaming?

[Satwant] Here are the key steps in the process: an event is captured live with a video camera recorder. The video camera is connected to a computer with a USB cable to transfer the video to computer. On a computer encoding software is used to convert the video signal is encoded (compressed) format to a streaming media file. The encoded feed is then uploaded from the computer to Streaming servers using the network. Viewers can use mobile devices, laptops or PCs to watch Video on demand (VOD).

[imageSource] What can be done with Streaming VOD technologies?

[Satwant] Streaming VOD is useful for much more beyond entertainment and TV. With Streaming Video On Demand technologies, enterprises can create, manage and distribute video files to share to any user who has access to the web.

It can be used to create rich interactive websites, video advertisements, video instructional media, online trainings, video presentations, video record of web meetings, etc. Some examples are: Streaming Video On Demand to be used by Advertisers and Agencies to reach audiences with videos for message retention and brand awareness; Real-Time A/V Communications with Low latency, video, and text enhanced rich communications; Record and store any meeting or web based event for later on demand access by clients, support people.

In addition to: Broadcast recorded sales presentations to potential clients; Broadcast announcements to support professionals in multiple locations; to deliver recorded corporate training videos to remote office locations; Create and manage corporate knowledge center; Monitor assets and watch video recording on demand; Advertisers and Agencies to reach audiences with interactive video for message retention and brand awareness. Also: Integration of on-demand video with other features such as streaming radio, and real-time chat on websites can further strengthen brand and quality of support; Internet video on demand can be used for product launch webcasts.

Thus real time Video on Demand streaming has multiple uses for a businesses in broadcasting, publishing, and advertising among so much more.

[imageSource] What are some of the features we should look for?

[Satwant] Streaming Video on Demand systems allows consumers to select stored video content and play it on demand by features such as pause, fast forward, and rewind. It is good to have advanced video delivery capabilities such as:

  • Fast Streaming for instant-on playback
  • Fast Start for zero buffering delay whether playing video content & on playback experience
  • Fast Cache to reduce interruptions in playback due to network issues
  • Fast Reconnect to automatically restore live or on-demand connections whenever disconnected during broadcast
  • Instant video delivery
  • Deep interactivity with video on demand
  • Playlist support
  • On-demand encoding
  • Content management (CMS)
  • Digital Asset Management (DAM) editing
  • Advertisement management

[imageSource] What are other technologies behind Streaming VOD?

[Satwant] There are a few different Streaming Platforms that are being used today: Microsoft platform technologies such as Silverlight and Internet Information Services (IIS) Smooth Streaming, and Windows Media can be used to acquire, create, deliver, and managing streaming video on demand. Adobe Flash products such as Adobe AIR, Adobe Flex, and Adobe Flash Media Interactive Server can be used for Flash Streaming. And, Apple QuickTime Multi Media Framework.

There are different Encoding Formats used for Video On-Demand Streaming as follows:

  1. Advanced Video Coding (AVC/H.264/mpeg-4)
  2. VP8 Compression Format
  3. FLV Flash Video
  4. FFmpeg

[imageSource] Has Mobile Technology changed the way we use Streaming VOD?

[Satwant] Because of advancements in mobile technologies, there is a great need for high-quality online media for mobile devices. Streaming Video on Demand “endpoints” include the iPhone, iPad, Android, and all other mobile devices.

Most of the mobile streaming is supported by the same Backend Mobile Streaming Technology as tethered front end streaming. These include:

  • RTMP Streaming
  • Apple HTTP Live Streaming
  • Microsoft SmoothStreaming
  • Flash Dynamic Streaming,
  • Adobe Adaptive Streaming
  • Flash & HTML5 Media Player for mobile devices

[imageSource] What are the challenges of VOD & how are these addressed?

[Satwant] Some challenges are quality of video, especially when the demand is unpredictable and there is a lot of buffering. This can be addressed by: High-performance networks to ensure video isn’t clogged on the Internet. Adequate Network Capacity can improve upload speed at the broadcast location; Load Balancing and redundancy can help scale and handle even the greatest demands.

Variable bitrate technology can dynamically measure the speed of the network, and automatically vary the quality of the stream.

[imageSource] Thank you for your insight on this technology, Satwant. Once again, the First Lady of Emerging Technologies is right on target!

[Satwant] It’s an honor as well as enjoyable to have the opportunity to share the latest information with imageSource readers.

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